Special protection rules exist for EU consumers who conclude contracts with traders, for goods and services made at the doorstep, in the consumer's home, at his place of work or during an excursion organised by a trader for consumers (off-premises contracts).
Doorstep Selling Directive
The Directive aims to protect the consumer in respect of contracts negotiated away from business premises. The Directive provides for a withdrawal period of no less than seven days enabling the consumer to cancel the contract.
It does not apply to contracts for:
- the sale of land;
- the supply of food, drink and other goods intended for current consumption in the household and supplied by regular deliverymen;
- certain contracts concluded on the basis of a trader's catalogue;
- insurance contracts;
- contracts for securities.
The Directive will be repealed once the rules of the Directive on Consumer Rights will have to be applied in all Member States, i.e. by 13 June 2014. The Directive on Consumer Rights will incorporate the provisions of the Doorstep Selling Directive.
In 1999 the Commission conducted a Study on Door to Door Selling, Pyramid Selling and Multi Level Marketing (Volume I , Volume II ). In 2007 the Commission initiated extensive consultations with stakeholders on the Direct Selling Directive . It received feedback stressing the need for a revision of the existing Directive. Some of the problems stem from the differences in consumer protection, in respect of contracts negotiated away from business premises between the EU countries.
There is also a possible need for simplifying and updating the current rules to address concrete problems of application of the Directive.
Questions raised in the Direct Selling consultation document focused on issues which are specific to the sector, such as the application of exemptions and their possible need for a revision.
Horizontal issues which cut across the acquis, such as definitions, were not dealt with in this document unless they concerned aspects particular to direct selling.
More information about the consultations: