By Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Every summer, the attorney general’s office sees a spike in complaints about door-to-door salespeople. Many different products and services are sold door-to-door, but in particular, home improvement services are much more prevalent during the summer.
Kansas law offers consumers a number of rights when it comes to transactions made at your doorstep.
Three-day right to cancel: This rule says that for any purchase of more than $25 made at your home, or any location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business or local address, you have three days after the purchase is made to change your mind. The seller must give you written and verbal notice of this right to cancel and contact information if you choose to exercise your right to cancel. It is also suggested you send this cancellation by certified mail so you can track it. Companies are then required to refund the customer’s money within 10 days of receiving the cancellation.
Five-day check cashing rule: If you pay for a door-to-door sale with a check, the seller is not allowed to cash or deposit that check until five business days have passed since the transaction. This is to give you a chance to exercise your three-day right to cancel. Because of this rule, it’s especially important to never pay for a door-to-door sale in cash, since it becomes impossible to exercise this option to cancel the transaction and stop payment on the check.
Contract requirements: The contract or receipt must be dated, show the name and address of the seller, be in a large legible font and explain your right to cancel. The contract or receipt must be in the same language used in the sales presentation.
Here are some additional tips to protect yourself from fraudulent door-to-door sales:
- Never let a salesperson into your home unless you are sure of who they are and why they are there.
- Ask to see their peddler's license, if it is required by your local city or county government.
- Ask for written information on the company and salesperson and take plenty of time to read it and shop around, rather than making a purchasing decision on-the-spot. A legitimate salesperson will be happy to leave their business card and come back if you decide to make a purchase.
- If the salesperson says it is a special deal for “today only,” it's probably too good to be true.
In 2016, the Kansas Legislature passed an additional measure to protect consumers from fraudulent door-to-door salespeople. For those bad actors who have been previously banned by a court order from conducting door-to-door sales in Kansas, it is now a crime for them to continue soliciting door-to-door. In April, we secured the first conviction under this new law in a case brought by our office. Earlier this month, that individual was sentenced to serve more than four years in prison for that charge, as well as other criminal charges brought by the Shawnee County District Attorney.
If you encounter a door-to-door salesperson who does not follow these rules, contact your local police department, or call our Consumer Protection Division at (800) 432-2310. You can also file a complaint online at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.