But there is an alternative to not answering the door
No Cold Calling Zones (NCCZ) are set up to combat the problem of doorstep crime and distraction burglary. They can also empower residents to have the confidence to deter callers away.
However, a NCCZ does not ban cold callers or does it create an exclusion zone.
A spokesperson for Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) said:
“It is not illegal for a trader to cold call, but ‘No Cold Calling’ signs act as a deterrent. Our Trading Standards Team is always happy to carefully explain the legal status of the zones.”
The CBC spokesperson added that companies can contact Trading Standards for detailed advice and guidance on cold calling.
“Any companies that does get reported to our Trading Standards Team for cold calling within the ‘zones’ are liable to investigation by our Trading Standards team.”
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
Although the NCCZ signs do not stop a trader from knocking on your door, Allan Martin, from Bedford Borough Council’s Trading Standards Team told a recent Bedford and District Neighbourhood Watch Association meeting that there is an alternative.
This comes from using a door sign or sticker based on the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Regulation 12 of these Regulations says:
“A trader is guilty of an offence if he engages in a commercial practice set out in any of paragraphs 1 to 10, 12 to 27 and 29 to 31 of Schedule 1.”
Paragraph 25 of Schedule 1 says:
“Conducting personal visits to the consumer’s home ignoring the consumer’s request to leave or not to return, except in circumstances and to the extent justified to enforce a contractual obligation.”
A Bedford Borough Council (BBC) spokesperson said:
“A clearly displayed cold calling sticker is considered to be an express request from the house holder for traders not to call at their property.
“Ignoring this request and continuing to knock on the door, or returning on a future occasion is an offence contrary to Regulation 12 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.”
Not everyone has to follow this instruction
Although the stickers are designed to stop unwanted traders, they do not stop everyone.
The instruction given by the sticker does not prevent:
- Market research
- Leaflets or catalogues
- Religious groups
- Legitimate charity collections
- Those canvassing for politicians or councillors
However, residents are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door.
Residents living in Bedford Borough can get stickers by emailing Bedford Borough Council Trading Standards. Neighbourhood Watch groups can also supply them.
A spokesperson for CBC said:
“We do not currently distribute stickers, but these are readily available from a number of sources and most residents easily get their own stickers.
“Residents who would like to report an unwanted doorstep caller can call our bogus caller hotline on 03454 04 05 06.”