Door to door and other uninvited direct sales 


Don’t feel pressured to buy if you are approached by a door to door salesperson, telemarketer or other uninvited direct salesperson. You have the right to ask them to come back another day if you want to think about it first – or just tell them that you don’t want any.

What are my rights if I buy something door to door or from a telemarketer?

You may have a cooling off period, during which you have the right to cancel the agreement. Whether the cooling off period applies depends on when the sale was made, among other things:

Sales made before 17 June 2014
If you agreed to pay for goods in a door to door sale, and you did not pay the full price at the time you agreed to buy (e.g. you paid by credit), you can cancel within seven days of the sale.

If you agreed to pay for services (e.g. roof repairs, mobile phone services) in a door to door sale and the price was more than $40 then you have a seven day cooling off period even if you paid cash.

You don’t get a cooling off period for other types of uninvited direct sales made before 17 June 2014.

Sales made on or after 17 June 2014

For any uninvited direct sales (whether door to door, at home or work, or via phone) made on or after 17 June 2014 you are covered by the Fair Trading Act (FTA).

The FTA defines an uninvited direct sale as a sale of goods or services where: 

  • the trader approached the consumer to make the sale, either in person at the consumer’s home or place of work, or by telephone, and
  • the value of the goods or service is more than $100 (or any price, if it isn’t specified at the time of purchase), and
  • the consumer did not invite the trader to visit or call for the purpose of purchasing goods or services. 

For sales fitting the above criteria you have a five working day cooling off period. The seller also has certain things they have to tell you:

  • the trader must tell you about your cancellation rights before you agree to purchase.
  • the sale agreement must be in writing, and the trader must give you a copy of it when you sign the agreement (if done over the phone, they must give you a copy within five working days of the agreement being made). It must be clear and in plain writing, and contain the following information:
    • On the front page:
      • A clear description of the goods or services to be supplied
      • A summary of your rights to cancel
      • The supplier’s name, street address, phone number and email address
      • Your name and street address
    • The total price payable (or, if this can’t be specified, an explanation of how the amount will be calculated)
    • The date of the agreement

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Can I change my mind after I have agreed to buy goods from a door to door salesperson or other uninvited direct seller?


For goods or services you agreed to buy before 17 June 2014, you can cancel within seven days of the sale only if you paid using a credit agreement (i.e. you did not pay the full amount immediately).

Uninvited direct sales after 17 June 2014

For goods or services you agree to buy in an uninvited direct sale (e.g. door to door) on or after 17 June 2014, you have the right to cancel within five working days of the agreement (this is called a cooling off period) regardless of whether you paid in cash or using credit (but note that you only have three working days to cancel the credit agreement itself).

You can cancel an uninvited direct sale at any time if the trader does not follow the disclosure requirements (see What are my rights if I buy something door to door or from a telemarketer?), unless the breach is minor.

If you had traded goods in as part of the deal and then cancel within the cooling off period, the trader has to return the goods to you or else compensate you for them.

On cancellation of the purchase agreement the trader must refund any money you have paid them under the agreement, and can collect the goods from you. (If they don’t refund your money you have the right to keep the goods.) The trader has ten working days to collect the goods, and you must take reasonable care of them in the meantime.

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Can I change my mind after I have agreed to pay for a service from a door to door seller or other uninvited direct seller?

If your agreement was made before 17 June 2014, and the agreed purchase price was more than $40, then you have a seven day cooling off period (from the date of the agreement) in which you can cancel it (even if you paid cash).

Sales made on or after 17 June 2014

If your agreement was made on or after 17 June 2014, you can cancel within the five working day cooling off period. If the trader had already begun providing the agreed services on your property, you do not have to pay for that work. You can also ask the trader to return your property to the condition it was in before the agreed work was started, and they have to do this if you request it (or as close as is practicable).

You can cancel an uninvited direct sale at any time if the trader does not follow the disclosure requirements (see What are my rights if I buy something door to door or from a telemarketer?), unless the breach is minor.

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I received an unsolicited email from someone selling health products. If I reply and agree to buy some, am I entitled to cancel the sale within five days?


The Fair Trading Act’s definition of an uninvited direct sale only includes transactions made in person or over the phone, so in your situation a cooling off period does not apply.

If you agree to buy goods from the sender of the email and the goods turn out to be different from what was advertised (or don’t arrive at all}, then you could make a complaint to the Commerce Commission – if the seller is a trader and based in New Zealand. You could also report the sender to the DIA, who enforces the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act.