Home solicitations in Hillsborough County account for a large number of consumer complaints each year, according to the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency.
A home solicitation is any sale, lease or rental of a consumer good or service with a purchase price that exceeds $25, including all interest, service charges, finance charges, postage, freight, insurance and handling charges, and the sale is consummated in a place other than at the seller’s fixed establishment or business location.
If a home solicitor knocks on the door and cannot show a county-issued permit, ask them to leave or call your local law enforcement agency.
What Consumers Should Know About Home Solicitations
- It is unlawful for any person to conduct a home solicitation sale in the state of Florida without a valid home solicitation sale permit issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
- Home solicitors are required to carry and display their permit and certificate.
- This permit is very important because it requires the salesman to file a sworn application providing all of their personal information, a photograph and a complete set of fingerprints.
- The clerk forwards this information to the sheriff and Florida Department of Law Enforcement for criminal background checks.
- Consumers should “verify before they buy.” Ask the solicitor to see the permit.
- Consumers can verify the home solicitor has a permit by contacting the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
- In Hillsborough County, consumers can call the clerk’s recording office at 813-276-8100, ext. 4157.
- All home solicitation sales must have a written sales agreement and three-day cancellation provision.
- This sales agreement must contain the date of the transaction, the buyer’s signature and the BUYERS RIGHT TO CANCEL.
How Consumers Can Cancel A Home Solicitation Agreement
- Consumers have until midnight of the third business day after signing the contract to cancel the agreement.
- Buyers should provide the seller with a written notice of cancellation in person, by telegram or by certified mail with a return receipt; the cancellation is effective the date of the postmark.
- Don’t be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics.
- Always demand a copy of any sales agreement.
- The seller is required to refund the buyer any payments made within 10 days after the sale has been cancelled and has approximately 40 days in which to retrieve any goods delivered to the buyer.
- The buyer must take reasonable care of the goods in their possession before cancellation or revocation of the agreement.
Any home solicitor who violates the terms and conditions of Florida’s home solicitation law can face criminal charges punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor, with a second conviction resulting in a third-degree felony.