Doorstep Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

The Trading Standards service’s advice is always to say no to cold callers. We would advise against dealing with anyone who makes a cold call to your home to try to sell goods or services.

Trading Standards are always keen to be contacted by anyone who receives a cold call. Trading Standards Officers are on duty every week day between 9am and 4.30pm who can respond to incidents of cold calling by rogue traders to intervene and assist the victim and disrupt and take action against the cold caller. Even if the cold caller has gone away we are always keen to have information about what happened as this can form vital intelligence for us.To report incidents of cold calling you should telephone the Citizens Advice Consumer service on 03454 040506 or visit the website of the Citizens Advice Consumer service.

  • Cold calling is not illegal
  • If an individual or business continues to operate in a No Cold Calling zone after they have received a Community Protection Warning, then they could face a maximum fine of £20,000.00
  • Anyone who does cold call and offers to sell you goods or services that cost more than £35 is required to provide you with a written notice giving you 14 days in which to cancel.
  • If this notice is not provided the contract for the goods or services will not be enforceable meaning you will not have to pay even if goods have been provided or work has been carried out. Anyone who fails to give this notice will also be committing a criminal offence, which the Trading Standards service will investigate.
  • Yes, absolutely, you are under no obligation to allow anyone to enter your home and can refuse access.
  • You should never allow anyone access to your home unless you are able to verify their authenticity and confirm that they have a valid reason for being their.
  • Legitimate callers will not mind being challenged and will expect you to ask them for identification and want to check that it is genuine.

Very few people will actually have a legitimate reason for turning up at your home unannounced and without an appointment. However, on rare occasions some legitimate callers may call at your home.

The most likely people to visit your home unannounced are utility companies attending your property to read a meter. Most of these companies operate a password scheme allowing you to register a password. Once you have registered your password, any caller from the company should be asked to provide the password before being given access to your property. If they cannot provide the password they are not from the utility company and should be told to leave. You should be able to find the details for registering a password on utility bills, if you cannot find the details call the customer service number and ask about their password scheme.


The zone is not designed to prevent politicians from canvassing for elections.


As with politicians the zone is not designed to stop religious groups from calling.


The zone is not designed to prevent market research from being undertaken. However, this should not be market research that includes the selling or promotion of goods or services. Where possible we would always encourage market researchers to make appointments before calling.



The zones do not seek to prevent legitimate charity collections, however, we would expect charity collectors be able to satisfactorily identify themselves.

Some charities ask for donations to be left for collection, usually they will leave a bag or a leaflet and then return to collect items.If you get requests like this you should always read the details provided as not all collectors that collect in this way are acting for charitable purposes, often you will find that the collector is a business collecting items to sell for profit and they will include a company registration number on their paperwork as opposed to a charity registration number.


All charities are required to be registered with the Charity Commission. You cannot claim to be a charity if you are not registered. Some organisations that carry out collections are not charities but businesses collecting clothing or other goods to sell for profit. To check whether an organisation is a registered charity you should contact the Charity Commission on 0845 3000 218 or visit the Charity Commission website.

Any charity carrying out collections for money has to get a permit from Thanet District Council giving permission for this. If you want to confirm that the charity collection is authorised you can contact the Thanet District Council’s Licensing service on 01843 577000.

There is no requirement for a permit if you are not collecting money.


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