Door-to-Door Sales Scams

If you sign a contract for goods or services outside of an appropriate trade premises, you are entitled to cancel the sale within three days of the date of purchase. The purpose of the three day right to cancel is to ensure the consumers are not forced into high-pressure sales in non-traditional sales locations. If a consumer walks into a store and does not want a product, she can simply walk out. If a salesperson is in her living room, she does not have the same choice. 

A home solicitation contract is agreement for the sale or lease of goods or services that is made in a location other than the seller’s place of business. Home solicitation laws cover a wide range of goods and services. The types of products that this law may apply to include water filtration systems, gutter cleaning systems, solar panels, and home computers. It may also apply to services, like the installation of solar panels. There are some exceptions to this, however, including services provided by lawyers, real estate brokers, securities dealers, and physicians. Almost every consumer transaction amounting to more than $25 that occurs outside the seller’s “appropriate trade premises” is covered by California's Home Solicitation Sales Act.

The Home Solicitation Sales Act requires that the seller provide very specific disclosures to the buyer regarding the right to cancel. The contract must include a three day right to cancel for most contracts, or a seven day right to cancel in the case of an emergency response unit. The statute gives specific language the contract must use. If the contract does not include the specific language, the buyer may rescind the contract. The buyer may rescind the contract at any time until the statutory language is provided to her.

The Home Solicitation Sales Act overs transactions that take place anywhere other than the seller’s “appropriate trade premises.” This could mean a flea market, a convention center, or a trade show. It is broader than just those contracts signed at the buyer’s home. It also applies even if the seller reaches out to the buyer and requests the buyer come to the seller’s home.

If you sign a contract outside of a traditional brick and mortar store, you are entitled to receive a copy of all documents you sign. Make sure that you receive copies of every single document you sign, along with all brochures and manuals. You may have signed multiple contracts or documents. Make sure you have a copy of everything. If you sign anything on a tablet or e-sign on a computer, make sure you receive a copy immediately. Make sure that you have copies of all financing documents too.

If you exercise your right to cancel, the seller must return anything you paid within 10 days of cancellation. If you have made the products available for return and the seller does not pick them up within 20 days, you may keep the product. You should retain all documents you receive from the company and make notations of all telephone calls.

Reach out to our office for a free consultation if you have any of the following issues:

1. You think your contract does not contain a three day right to cancel, 
2. If you tried to cancel and the seller did not honor your request, 
3. If the product you purchased is not working or was not installed, 
4. If you did not receive the goods or services to which you think you were entitled,
5. If negotiations took place in a language different than the written contract, 
6. Anything about the transaction seems amiss.