Today the British OFT published the results of a study on doorstep sales. The study investigated the question what impact the Regulations 2008 on Cancellation of Contracts Made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work had. The study estimates that the improved cancellation rights have saved consumers about 8.5 million Pounds a year. The Regulations require that any consumer entering a contract following a doorstep sales visit is given written information on both cancellation rights and cooling off periods and extend cancellation rights to cover purchases made following any such visit, whether the consumer has asked for it or not.
Furthermore, consumers who were surveyed for the study said that the ability to cancel unwanted purchases had improved their confidence when buying on the doorstep. This increase in consumer confidence is estimated to have boosted doorstep sales by about 57 million Pounds a year.
Consumers are, however, concerned about high-pressure tactics particularly in sales of home repairs and mobility aids. Common practices cited include price discounting on the condition that the consumer purchases the product on the same day as the doorstep visit, and an unrealistically high initial price followed by discounting.
Amelia Fletcher, OFT Chief Economist, argued: “This report shows that strengthened cancelation rights and better information have had a positive impact on doorstep sales, but consumers should remain on their guard. High pressure sales tactics are an ongoing problem and consumers should give themselves time to shop around and look for traders displaying an OFT Approved code logo.“
Further information: www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2012/37-12