Door-to-door sales

Door-to-door sales is an in-person sales technique used to push and sell products and services. Although they are not as popular now as they were in the past, they are still a legitimate sales practice. Even so, if a door-to-door salesperson does show up on your doorstep, you should know how to protect yourself and avoid being scammed.

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Dealing with door-to-door salespeople

If you find yourself with a door-to-door salesperson on your doorstep, remember the following:

  • Ask to see the salesperson's company-issued identification and seller's license or registration. Take note of their name, and the name and address of the company they represent.
  • Don't be pressured into buying on the spot.
  • If you are interested in the product, ask for a brochure, and then compare their prices with those of other merchants.
  • Ask for references and be sure to check them. Research the seller's reputation by contacting your local Better Business Bureauand check the Internet for reviews.
  • Contact at least two more companies and compare the results. Always get estimates before making a decision on large purchases.
  • Never leave the salesperson unattended in any room of your home.

Rules for door-to-door sales

When buying home repair services, make sure to get a warranty for any service completed. It can protect against poor quality work and the risk of liability should an accident or injury occur in your home.

Some provinces or territories require door-to-door salespeople to be licensed and bonded, and have restrictions on what can be sold door‑to‑door.

For example, door-to-door sales of home heating and cooling equipment are illegal in both Ontario and Alberta—with some exceptions.

To find out about the door-to-door sale rules where you live, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office.

Signing door-to-door contracts

Be wary of salespeople claiming that a contract must be signed right away to get the special price. This is a high-pressure sales tactic—don't fall for it. Take your time deciding. If you feel rushed or pressured, ask the salesperson to leave the information with you.

Each province and territory gives you a set number of days (also known as a cooling-off period) during which you may cancel a contract you make with a door-to-door salesperson—for any reason.

Always read the fine print in the contract to make sure you are fully aware of the terms (and conditions). Don't make a payment in cash without a contract or receipt. Be aware that a door-to-door salesperson who asks for a deposit for repairs or maintenance services, without a contract, may never return to do the work.

For more information about the regulations surrounding contracts where you live, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office.

Recognizing door-to-door scams

Some scams to watch out for:

  • Energy and utility scams. If someone is at your door or gives you a call and wants to talk about thermostats, water heaters, furnaces, or even replacement windows, it could be a scam. Learn how to recognize energy scams.
  • Air duct cleaning scams. If someone comes to your door offering services that include air duct cleaning or furnace/boiler repairs at very low rates it could be a scam.
  • Charity scams. If someone comes to your door asking you to donate to a charity or other organization, it's always a good idea to confirm it is registered with the Government of Canada. If the charity is not registered, it could be a scam.
  • Paving scams. If someone comes to your door offering to pave your driveway and asking for cash up front, it could be a scam. The scammers may start the job but end up leaving it unfinished or use inappropriate or substandard materials.

Signs that the person at your door is a scammer:

  • You can't find any information available about the business online. Or if you do, the site seems unprofessional, has spelling errors, and the contact information is missing.
  • They are requesting cash only. This is a major red flag.
  • Pushy or aggressive sales practices. If you feel very pressured and uncomfortable, your gut may be telling you it's a scam.

If you are the victim of a door-to-door scam, report the incident to your local police right away. Also, consider reporting it to your provincial, territorial, or federal consumer protection agency and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Trusted consumer information

Published by the Consumer Measures Committee, a working group of federal, provincial and territorial governments, that helps educate and inform Canadian consumers.