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Door-to-door canvassing sometimes gives rise to real abuse… So, can we sell everything? What are the limits to be respected by the seller? How to guard against possible abuse?
Authorized… but regulated
Door-to-door or door-to-door canvassing is an activity authorized in France but regulated . It can be done at the consumer’s home or by telephone. Unlike traditional store purchases, it is the seller who travels to the individual’s home. The seller entering the private sphere of the consumer, the latter is placed in a position of inferiority in relation to the seller, and this is why the law strictly regulates canvassing. All the necessary information must be clearly given to the consumer: company name, product price, terms of payment, etc.
What can I sell?
Door-to-door canvassing is authorized for the sale, purchase or rental of movable property (vacuum cleaners, kitchens, encyclopedias, etc.), or real estate (sale of individual houses, apartments). Services are also authorized (gardening, cleaning, etc.). But certain types of products cannot be sold: distance education contracts, supplies and services related to funerals, legal consultations or matrimonial brokerage… This concerns all products that could be personally linked to the consumer and encourage purchase in good condition. of weakness.
Mandatory written contract
At the time of purchase, a copy of the written contract must be given to the customer. The canvasser must guarantee the regularity of the act of purchase to ensure that the consumer has made a commitment in full knowledge of the facts, without having a forced hand. The contract must contain mandatory information such as the price and characteristics of the product, the address and the name of the supplier, etc. No immediate payment should be required. The seller must respect the withdrawal period of 7 days during which the consumer can change his mind.
The law does not define exactly the conditions under which canvassing at home or by telephone must be carried out. The courts assess on a case-by-case basis how the canvassing took place and whether or not there was harassment. When the canvasser engages in repeated and unwanted solicitations by telephone or at the consumer’s home, canvassing can be considered abusive and aggressive. From the moment the marketer receives a waiver of inadmissibility from the consumer, he must not insist, take into consideration his right of opposition and terminate the contractual relationship. Failing this, the solicitor commits the offense of harassment and exposes himself to penal sanctions.
Abuse of weakness
The offense of abuse of weakness linked to canvassing is the most frequent. This is the case when the seller seeks to obtain the commitment of a person who is not able to fully appreciate the product offered: an elderly or sick person. The uselessness of the command generally leads to presuming the abuse of weakness. Moreover, if the consumer is put in the urgency of the purchase and is unable to think, this can also be an abuse of weakness.
Société d’Avocats DAMY , Nice, Doorstep canvassing-Compulsory written contract, Update 2022