The introduction of the new Doorstep Selling Regulations from October 1 will have a significant impact on the earnings of heating engineers claims the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors.
Under the legislation, all traders who enter into a contract with the consumer (whether written or verbal) in the consumer’s home or place of work, will need to undertake new procedures to ensure they receive payment.
The ‘Cancellation of Contracts Made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008’ extend the existing law on cooling-off periods and cancellation rights for consumers.
“It is a case of trader beware,” said Ian Pattle, chairman, APHC. “Failure to comply could result in the trader being unable to enforce the contract against the consumer and a fine of up to £5,000.
“These cancellation rights will mean that plumbing and heating engineers will need to change their procedures. All work, even emergency calls where the contract to do the work is made in the consumer’s home or place of work, will necessitate a signed written agreement with evidence of the consumer’s cancellation rights prior to commencing work. Under certain circumstances this legislation will be unworkable in its present form.”
The Regulations will cover contracts that are made during both solicited and unsolicited visits by traders.
They require cancellation rights to be clearly and prominently displayed in any written contract or provided in writing if there is no written contract.
The APHC added that the positive side to this change is the system will give greater protection to the trader and clarity to the consumer removing any ambiguity that can develop in oral contract.
The association has prepared detailed guidance in the form of a fact sheet for its members and a major revision to its model terms and conditions of sale.