You are having supper. The doorbell rings. A young girl wants to sell you chocolate. At least it's not an enthusiastic door-to-door sales person! Can anyone sell things door-to-door at any time? What are your rights as a consumer?
Door-to-door salespeople must have a permit issued by
- the Office de la protection du consommateur (consumer protection office) and
- in many cases, the municipality in which they want to go door-to-door.
You can ask these salespeople for their permit numbers and check up on them if you have doubts about their legitimacy.
My Child Selling Chocolate: a Door-to-Door Salesperson?
No. Your child who is selling chocolate door-to-door to raise money for school activities (and you, because you're probably be the one stuck selling the chocolate!) are not covered by the law on door-to-door salespeople. Municipal by-laws usually don't apply to you either! However, it's possible that your child's school has to get a permit for its students to do door-to-door sales.
Important! The law does not apply to other door-to-door salespeople. For example, it does not apply to these people:
To find out if your municipality considers these people to be door-to-door salespeople, you must check your municipal by-laws.
Door-to-Door Salespeople "in Disguise"
The law considers certain "ordinary" salespeople to be door-to-door salespeople. This is the case for these people:
- someone who communicates with you to sell you something and then comes to your home afterwards
- door-to-door salespeople who sell their products in fairs or at exhibitions
- all salespeople of doors, windows, roofing, thermal insulation and exterior wall covering
These people must have permits from the Office de la protection du consommateur (consumer protection office). They might also need a permit from municipalities where they want to sell their products.
Buying from a Door-to-Door Salesperson
Door-to-door salespeople must make you written contracts that includes this information:
- name, address, telephone number and, if applicable, the e-mail address and fax numbers of each of the salesperson's places of business
- salesperson's permit number
- a description of the goods purchased and, if a service was purchase, for how long it was purchased
- the price of each of the goods and services and the applicable taxes
- the total price, including all fees (e.g., delivery costs, handling fees)
- the frequency and date of each delivery or performance of services, the expected date of the last
- your name, address, phone number and, if applicable, your e-mail address and fax number
- the date the contract was made and the address at which it was signed
- delivery or last service and, if applicable, information about payment, a description of the goods received in as a trade-in or on account, and the agreed price for each item
- the fact that you can cancel the contract within 10 days of the date that you got a copy of the contract
The salesperson must also attach to your copy of the contract a Statement of consumer cancellation rights and a cancellation form that meets the legal requirements.
If a Salesperson Breaks the Law?
Door-to-door salespeople who don't respect the law or municipal by-laws, they can lose their permits (if they have one) and be fined.
Also, your deadline to cancel your contract with the salesperson goes from 10 days to one year if the salesperson didn't respect the law!
Preventing Visits from Salespeople
Some municipalities let you to put a special sticker on your door or mailbox to indicate that you don't want door-to-door salespeople.
If salespeople insist despite your sticker, they can be fined. Check your municipal by-laws to see what they say.
Other Types of Door-to-Door Activities
Religious and political groups have the right to knock on your door. Municipal by-laws cannot prevent them. However, these people don't have the right to harass you.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.