Door-to-door sales can be a convenient method for many people to shop. However, you may be opening your home to a stranger who may use fraudulent or high-pressure tactics to sell you something you don’t want or need.
Arizona law provides for a three-day “cooling off” period that allows consumers to cancel certain contracts within three days of signing them. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) Cooling-Off Rule (16 C.F.R. 429) also provides some protections. The Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more for certain home solicitations. Under the Cooling-Off Rule, your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale. See our section on Three-Day Right of Cancellation for more information.
When a solicitor knocks at your door…
- Remember that you don’t have to let the seller into your home. Exercise caution any time a stranger comes to your door.
- If you decide to open the door, be prepared to verify all information provided by a door-to-door salesperson.
- Get everything in writing! Get all terms, prices and conditions in writing. Tell the salesperson you will check it out and get back to him or her. Ask for a business card and contact information. Verify with the company that the salesperson is an employee.
- Before buying anything, ask to see a copy of their permit, often called a peddler’s license. Many municipalities require a special soliciting permit for companies selling door-to-door. While having the appropriate permit does not necessarily infer that the company can be trusted, it does let you know the company/individual has taken the steps for a required permit in your city or township.
- Do not be rushed into making a decision by high-pressure sales tactics, and remember that sellers who engage in unfair or deceptive business practices are in violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable position, end the conversation quickly.
If you believe you have been the victim of a home repair scam or any other type of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.
You may also report a problem with cancellation of a contract to the Federal Trade Commission.
In addition, if you paid for your purchase with a credit card and a billing dispute arises about the purchase (for example, if the merchandise shipped was not what you ordered,) you can notify the credit card company that you want to dispute the purchase. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, the credit card company must acknowledge your dispute in writing and conduct a reasonable investigation of your problem. You may withhold payment of the amount in dispute, until the dispute is resolved. (You are still required to pay any part of your bill that is not in dispute.) To protect your rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you must send a written notice about the problem to the credit card company at the address for billing disputes specified on your billing statement within 60 days after the first bill containing the disputed amount is mailed to you.
If the 60-day period has expired or if your dispute concerns the quality of the merchandise purchased, you may have other rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act.