Just Say "No" to Unwanted Door-to-Door Sales


Telemarketer's are having a tougher time making sales these days. More people use Caller ID and other ways to avoid sales pitches. As a result, a number of companies are returning to "Door to Door" sales. While there are reputable businesses that sell door-to-door, many use high pressure and assorted tricks to get your money. One of the tricks is to promise something "free" to get into your living room. It can sound good, but you'll likely end up paying dearly with your pocketbook or your time. The best way to deal with a salesperson who is selling something you don't need or want is to just say "NO"!

If you do buy something from a Door-to-Door salesperson, Iowa and federal law give some protections. These protections apply to most consumer purchases over $25. The sale must take place at your home or in a temporary place of business, such as a motel or warehouse. The most important protections are the three day "Right to Cancel" and the requirement that you get a complete copy of the sales contract.

Three Day "Right to Cancel". You have three business days to cancel a Door-to-Door sale. The seller must tell you this at the time of sale and give you a "Notice to Cancel" form. If you decide to cancel, you must mail or deliver the cancellation form (or other written notice) to the seller within three business days. Be Careful - you may need to prove when you mailed or delivered the notice. If you mail the notice, you should send it certified and get a return receipt. If you cannot mail it certified, make sure the envelope is postmarked before midnight of the third business day after the sale. If you deliver the notice, make sure to get a receipt from the seller showing the date.

If you sign a contract on a Monday, your notice must be postmarked or delivered by midnight on Thursday. If you buy something on a Friday, your notice must be postmarked or delivered by midnight of the following Wednesday. This is because Saturday and Sunday are not "business days". If the seller does not give you the required "Notice to Cancel" form, you can cancel the transaction until three business days after you get the notice. If you cancel the transaction, the seller must refund your money. After you get a refund, you can return the goods at the seller's expense or let the seller pick them up.

Copy of Contract. If you sign a sales contract as part of a door-to-door sales transaction, you must get a complete copy of the contract. If you do not, the seller cannot enforce it.

The Door-to-Door sales rules do not apply to sales less than $25, mail or telephone sales that are not completed at your home, certain "emergency" purchases, and requests for in-home repairs to personal property.

Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans. 

To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:

  • Call 800-532-1275. 
  • Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161.
  • Apply online at iowalegalaid.org

If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer.”   A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.

*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice.

Last Review and Update: Jan 17, 2024
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