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Off-premises sales, also known as door-to-door sales or home sales, consist of offering the consumer a contract for the sale, rental or provision of services. It is subject to protective regulations concerning the content of the contract and the withdrawal periods.
This includes any off-premises, home or workplace share of a person, even at the person's request (including a sale by private meeting at the home of an individual), that offers the purchase, sale, rental, lease or option to purchase property or provide services.
This may include, for example, the installation of a veranda or a door lock or a facade overhaul.
Protection shall apply to natural persons as consumers. It applies to professionals with a maximum of 5 employees if the subject matter of the contract does not fall within the scope of their main activity.
In order for a contract to qualify as an off-premises sale, it must have been signed in the physical presence and simultaneous presence of the parties:
- in a place which is not the place where the professional seller carries on business permanently or in a usual manner;
- in a place where the professional seller carries on business permanently or in a usual manner, immediately after the client has been personally and individually solicited in a different place (home, workplace, street);
- during an excursion organized by the professional seller with the purpose or effect of promoting and selling goods or services.
This is the case, for example, when the seller makes a personalized proposal in a shopping center and then takes the customer to his shop to have a contract signed.
The following contracts shall not be considered as off-premises sales:
- contracts for social services (except for the services of childminders, care for the elderly, disabled or any person in need of home care);
- contracts for health services, including prescription, delivery and supply of medicines;
- gambling contracts;
- contracts for financial services;
- contracts for a tourist package;
- contracts for the use of timeshare;
- contracts written by a public official (e.g. notary);
- contracts for the supply of food, beverages and everyday consumer goods (e.g. on shopping tours in rural areas);
- distance contracts, with one or more means of distance communication until the conclusion of the contract (e.g. purchases made via the Internet, standardized letters, catalogs);
- contracts for passenger services;
- contracts concluded with telecommunications operators for the purpose of a single connection by telephone, internet or fax;
- contracts relating to the creation, acquisition or transfer of immovable property, the construction of new immovables, the rental of a residential unit.
Please note : the foreign professional who makes a canvassing is subject to french law.
In order for the consumer to be bound by a contract for the sale of goods or the provision of services, the home seller must communicate a certain number of elements to the consumer.
Issuance of information before entering into the contract
Before entering into the contract, the trader shall communicate in a legible and comprehensible manner, in paper or durable form, a number of information, the most common of which are:
- identity of the seller (postal, telephone and electronic details) and the company from which he distributes the products;
- essential characteristics of the good or service;
- the date or period within which the trader undertakes to deliver the goods or perform the service;
- terms of performance of the contract (possible cost of dispatch or commissioning);
- prices and payment terms (forms and interest rates in the event of a sale on credit);
- conditions, time limit and formalities for exercising the client's right of withdrawal, together with the withdrawal form;
- conditions for the implementation of legal or commercial guarantees;
- availability of spare parts;
- competent consumer ombudsman in case of dispute.
Failure to do so shall result in an administrative fine (€3,000 for a natural person, €15,000 for a legal person).
In the event of a dispute, it is up to the professional seller to prove that he has complied with this obligation of information.
Mandatory delivery of a contract
The conclusion of the sale results in the signing of a contract. The professional must keep a copy and give it to the customer, in writing or on durable medium (document in pdf format, USB key, CD, e-mail, for example).
The contract must contain all the most common information mentioned above (purchase order, general conditions, for example), as well as a detachable withdrawal form. If not, it can be overturned in court.
In the event of failure to hand over a contract or withdrawal slip, the seller (natural person) shall be punished by imprisonment for 2 years and €150,000 fine. For legal persons, the fine is €750,000..
Prohibition of financial contribution for a period of 7 days
The professional seller may not receive payment or financial consideration in any form from the consumer before 7 days from the conclusion of the contract.
Exceptions exist, however:
- Subscription to a daily publication
- contracts for personal services offered by a recognized organization (including childcare, assistance to the elderly);
- contracts concluded at meetings organized by the seller at his home or at the consumer's home (with his agreement);
- contracts for urgent maintenance or repair work to be carried out at the customer's home and expressly requested by him.
In the first two cases, the consumer shall have:
- a right to terminate the contract at any time without notice, costs or compensation;
- a right to reimbursement of the sums paid, within 14 days, proportional to the duration of the contract remaining to run.
Otherwise, the professional shall be punished by imprisonment for 2 years and a fine of €150,000 for natural persons, €750,000 for legal persons.
Right of withdrawal
The consumer has 14 days to renounce his commitment:
- from the conclusion of the contract, in the case of a service provision,
- from the conclusion of the contract or from receipt in the case of goods or services including delivery.
If the expiry date is a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday or non-working day, the period shall be extended until Monday or the day following the holiday.
Where the order contains several goods delivered separately or in installments, the period shall run from the receipt of the last receipt. However, in the case of a regular delivery of the goods and over a defined period, the period of time shall run from the receipt of the first goods.
To exercise his right, the consumer must send the form or any statement (for example, a simple letter) clearly and unambiguously expressing its wish to withdraw.
He then has a further 14 days to return or return the property.
Withdrawal shall not entail any costs for him (except for possible removal costs if the trader has informed him in advance and except for costs relating to the commencement of the provision of services). The professional must repay all the sums paid.
The consumer may not exercise his right of withdrawal for the following contracts:
- provision of services fully performed before the end of the withdrawal period and whose execution began after the consumer's express prior agreement and express renunciation of his right of withdrawal;
- supply of goods or services the price of which depends on fluctuations in the financial market beyond the control of the trader and which may occur during the withdrawal period;
- supply of goods made to the consumer's specifications;
- provision of goods that may deteriorate or expire rapidly;
- supply of goods which have been unsealed by the consumer after delivery and which cannot be returned for reasons of hygiene or health protection;
- supply of goods which, after being delivered and by their nature, are mixed in an inseparable manner with other items;
- supply of alcoholic beverages whose delivery is delayed beyond 30 days and whose value agreed at the conclusion of the contract depends on fluctuations in the market beyond the control of the trader;
- maintenance or repair work to be carried out in an emergency at the consumer's home and expressly requested by the consumer, subject to spare parts and work strictly necessary to respond to the emergency;
- supply of audio or video recordings or computer software when unsealed by the consumer after delivery;
- provision of a periodical or magazine (except for subscriptions to such publications);
- concluded at a public auction;
- provision of accommodation services, other than residential accommodation, goods transport services, car rentals, catering services or leisure activities to be provided on a fixed date;
- provision of digital content not provided on a material medium whose execution has begun after prior agreement of the consumer and renunciation of his right of withdrawal (a software for example).
Warning : if the consumer signs a contract that is already dated, undated or antidated, the consumer may lose the opportunity to renounce the undertaking.
If information on the right of withdrawal is not provided, or is provided in a form which does not comply with the rules, the withdrawal period shall be extended by 12 months from the expiry of the initial period of 14 days. If the trader communicates this information during this extension, the period shall start from the date of receipt of this information.
The trader shall be liable to an administrative fine of €15,000 maximum or €75,000 for a legal person.
The consumer in dispute with a professional must first seek an amicable solution.
He can contact customer service. In the absence of a reply, or in the event of an unsatisfactory reply, he may refer the matter to the consumer service. The contact details must be included in the general conditions of sale or on the website.
If the dispute persists, he may send a registered letter with a notice of receipt summarizing the subject matter of the claim.
If the seller does not reply to the mail, or if he responds unsatisfactorily, it is possible to refer the matter to the consumer ombudsman..
The consumer can also alert the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF).
Who shall I contact
Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF)
Tasks: compliance with competition rules, economic protection of consumers, safety and conformity of products and services.
Cost: €0.15 / minute + call price (learn more ).
Monday and Thursday: 8:30 to 18:15
Tuesday and Wednesday: 8:30 to 13:00
Friday: 1 pm to 5 pm
From overseas and abroad: +33 (0) 1 73 60 39 39 (only from a fixed post, cost of a communication + cost of the call varies according to country and operator)
Access to contact form ..
In the event of a dispute with a trader from another EU country, Norway or Iceland, the consumer may request the intervention of the European Consumer Center (CEC France).
In the event of a dispute with a trader located outside the European Union, he may lodge a complaint with the International Consumer Protection and Control Network (ICPEN).
In the absence of an amicable solution, it is possible to take legal action.
The court having jurisdiction shall depend on the sums involved in the dispute.
- For a dispute less than or equal to €10,000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
- For litigation greater than €10,000, it's the court.
If he is the victim of an offense (e.g. abuse of weakness), he may lodge a complaint with the public prosecutor near the court its place of business.