Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act - Home Improvement Commission
Many home improvement contracts are covered by the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act (Title 14, Subtitle 3, Commercial Law Article, Annotated Code of Maryland). The Act covers sales of goods or services in which the seller or a representative of the seller personally solicits the sale, including in response to an invitation by the buyer, and the buyer's agreement or offer to purchase is made at a place other than the seller's place of business. The Act requires the seller to provide to the buyer a copy of the contract in the same language as that principally used in the oral sales presentation, which shows the date of the transaction, and contains the name and address of the seller.
What are my rights under the Door-to-Door Sales Act?
The Door-to-Door Sales Act gives consumers certain rights, including the right to cancel the contract without any penalty or obligation by sending a notice of cancellation to the seller by midnight of the fifth business day, or seventh business day if the buyer is at least 65 years old, following the sale. If you cancel the contract, the seller must return your deposit within the 10 business days following receipt of the cancellation. The contract must contain a statement that is in immediate proximity to the space reserved in the contract for the signature of the buyer which, in boldface type of a minimum size of 10 points, is in substantially the following form: "You, the buyer, may cancel this transaction at any time prior to midnight of the fifth business day or seventh business day if the buyer is at least 65 years old, after the date of this transaction. See the attached notice of cancellation for an explanation of this right."
Notice of Cancellation
Each home improvement contract that is covered by the Door-to-Door Sales Act is required to contain a Notice of Cancellation attached to the contract. This notice informs the buyer of the right to cancel the contract and explains where to send the notice to cancel the contract and the date by which the Notice of Cancellation must be received in order to cancel the transaction. If the contract does not contain a Notice of Cancellation then the buyer may cancel the contract by notifying the seller in any manner and by any means of the intention to cancel the sale.
As a result of the passage of House Bill 439, certain changes have been made to the Maryland “Door-to-Door Sales Act” concerning home improvement transactions. As of June 1, 2016, the standard three business day cancellation period which a buyer has under the Door-to-Door Sales Act for contracts which are signed at the buyer’s home is increased to five business days for home improvement contracts. In addition, the cancellation period under the Door-to-Door Sales Act for a home improvement contract is increased to seven business days if the buyer is at least 65 years old.
Home improvement contractors should be aware that each home improvement contract that is covered by the Door-to-Door Sales Act is required to contain a separate Notice of Cancellation form. This notice informs the buyer of the right to cancel the contract and the time limits and procedures for cancellation. House Bill 439 requires certain specific changes to the Notice of Cancellation form and also requires the contractor to obtain a signed written acknowledgement that the buyer has been informed of his or her cancellation rights. Home improvement contractors should make sure that, as of June 1, 2016, the Notice of Cancellation form which they provide to a buyer includes the specific changes required under House Bill 439.
As a result of the passage of House Bill 959, as of June 1, 2017, the Door-to-Door Sales Act does not apply to a transaction if the transaction is the result of a written change order. The change order must be agreed to by the buyer and the seller, and must be part of a transaction under a contract previously signed by the buyer and the seller. Further, the buyer must furnish to the seller a separate, personal statement that is dated, signed in the buyer’s handwriting, generally describes the change order, and expressly acknowledges and waives the right to cancel the change order within specified time periods.
When is a home improvement job NOT covered?
The Door-to-Door Sales Act does not cover a home improvement project made:
- pursuant to prior negotiations at a retail business with a fixed permanent location where consumer goods are exhibited or consumer services are offered for sale on a continuing basis; or
- In which the buyer has initiated contact and the goods or services are needed to meet a bona fide personal emergency of the buyer and the buyer gives the seller a separate dated and signed personal statement in the buyer's handwriting that describes the situation that requires immediate remedy and expressly acknowledges and waives the right to cancel the sale, and the seller in good faith makes a substantial beginning of the performance of the contract.
The Door-to-Door Sales Act is enforced by the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division. For more information or to file a complaint, please visit the Attorney General's website. Residents of Howard and Montgomery Counties can also report violations to the County Office of Consumer Protection - Howard County or Montgomery County websites.