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Hiring Someone Who Comes to Your Door - Understand your legal rights

Understand your legal rights

Special rules apply

When you hire someone who comes to your door, you are making what the law calls a "direct sales contract". These contracts are entered into in person at a place other than the service provider’s permanent place of business.  

In addition to the rights you have when making any contract and hiring anyone, special rules apply to direct sales contracts.  

(These rules do not apply if the contract is for services under $50, or if you invited the service provider into your home more than 24 hours ahead of time.) 

The contract must include certain information

A direct sales contract must include this information:

  • the service provider’s name, address, and telephone number
  • a detailed description of the goods or services to be supplied under the contract 
  • the total price under the contract, as well as an itemized breakdown of the price and any taxes, shipping and other charges 
  • a notice of your cancellation rights
  • any restrictions, limitations or other terms or conditions that may apply to the supply of the goods or services
  • the terms of payment (e.g., payment in full up front, or upon completion milestones)
  • the name of the individual who signs the contract on behalf of the service provider, along with their signature
  • the place where the contract is entered into

The service provider must give you a copy of the contract

For the contract to be legally binding, the service provider must give you a copy of the contract at the time the contract is entered into.

The down payment can’t be over a certain amount

The service provider can only require a down payment of $100 or 10% of the total price, whichever is less. If they require a larger down payment, the contract is not binding on you.

You have a 10-day cooling-off period

“A guy came to my door saying he could pave my driveway for a great price, as he had material left over from another job in the neighborhood. I signed a contract. Then I phoned around and no one in the neighbourhood seemed to have heard of this company. I contacted the Better Business Bureau, and it turns out this company is well known for doing shoddy work and charging a lot. Thankfully I was still within the 10-day cooling-off period, so I cancelled the contract.”

– Bob, Nanaimo

On signing a direct sales contract, you have a 10-day “cooling-off period” after receiving a copy of the contract. This means you can cancel the contract for any reason. See below under "Deal with the problem" for the steps to take to cancel the contract.

If you cancel during the cooling-off period, the service provider must provide a refund within 15 days of cancellation.

You can cancel the contract if it doesn’t include the required information

If the contract doesn’t include the information a direct sales contract is required to include, you have up to one year after receiving the contract to cancel it. See below under "Deal with the problem" for the steps to take to cancel the contract.

You can cancel the contract if the work is not done on time

If the goods or services to be supplied under the contract are not supplied within 30 days of the supply date, you have up to one year after receiving the contract to cancel it. See below under "Deal with the problem" for the steps to take to cancel the contract.

You lose this cancellation right if you accept delivery of the goods or services after the end of the 30-day period.