Trading Standards Service    



Doorstep Selling

How to cope with doorstep sellers

It is difficult for you to check immediately if repairs are really needed and rogue sellers hope to panic you into letting them do the work.


Check with neighbours to see if anyone has had work done by these people and whether they are happy with the quality of the work done. Try to chose customers who had the work done a while ago so they have had enough time to make up their minds.


Don't be afraid to say no and remember you do not have to give reasons. A crafty salesman will find an answer to every reason you give.

What you should do

  1. Make sure the business is genuine

  • Do you know the business name and the address? 

  • Are the phone numbers genuine? Do you only have a mobile phone number?

  • Traders have to give you written details of who they are and where you can send letters to them if you ask for them. If the trader refuses to write these down for you, ask yourself why.

  1. Make sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to have done and that the trader knows exactly what you want.

  • When you are discussing what is to be done don’t settle for phrases such as ‘a good job for a good price’.

  • Get written descriptions of the work to be done and written quotes for the price. Make sure you have a copy, preferably on headed paper. If the trader is reluctant to put this in writing ask yourself why.

  1. Make sure you know exactly how much you are going to pay and how long the job is likely to take.

  • Many rogue traders will only accept cash for the job. Ask whether you can pay by cheque before you agree to have any work done or sign anything. 

  • Don’t hand over any cash in advance. The trader may take your money and run.

  • If you can, consider using a credit card to pay for the work as you have extra protection under the Consumer Credit Act.

  • Don’t pay the full amount for the job until you are satisfied with the work carried out.

  • Don’t accept lifts from sales people to go to the bank to collect money.

  • Always make sure you are given a proper receipt with the company’s name and address written onto it when you do pay any money out.

  1. Make sure the price is inclusive and you will not have lots of extras added to the final bill

  • You may be offered generous guarantees. You may find that claiming under a guarantee is not as easy as you thought. A guarantee is no good if you do not know who you claim it against.

If you change your mind


Can you cancel the agreement? The answer to this may be yes if :

  • You agreed to the work at your home after inviting a trader to visit.

  • Or you responded to an unsolicited telephone call they made to you.

This applies to most goods and services (except to new building work such as home extensions and to perishable goods), provided they cost more than 35.


You should be given your cancellation rights in writing when you agree to have the work done. This should also include a cancellation notice to complete if you change your mind about having the work done. If you cancel, it must be in writing and you should send it by recorded delivery in case you need to prove you have sent it in the future.


Although you have 7 days in which to cancel, cancellation should be sent as soon as possible.


Never sign a blank or partly filled in form.




External Links...

Neighbourhood Watch




Gloucestershire Trading Standards, The Tri-Service Centre, Waterwells Drive, Quedgeley, Gloucester GL2 2AX


For Businesses . For Consumers . Scams . News . About Us . GCC 


This page was last edited on 08/09/15