Verified on 02 February 2023 – Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Economy
Door-to-door canvassing, also known as door-to-door canvassing, involves travelling to customers’ homes or workplaces to sell products or services. The independent home seller (VDI) carries home contractors out his activity independently, without a relationship of subordination: titleContent with the company that entrusts him with the sale of his products or services.Doorstep selling is subject to specific regulations that protect the consumer.Doorstep selling consists of soliciting a customer in a place that is not usually intended for commerce to sell him products or services. The customer can be solicited at his home, at his place of work or during an excursion organized by the seller (eg trip including sightseeing).Doorstep selling requires the simultaneous physical presence of the seller and the customer (unlike distance selling).The door-to-door seller acts as an intermediary between the customer-consumer and the direct sales company whose products he distributes (e.g. ready-to-wear, jewelry, cosmetics, household appliances, windows, insulation, solar panels, electricity, gas, etc.).
The independent home seller (VDI) exercises autonomously, without any relationship of subordination: titleContent with the company that uses his services. Labour law does not apply to it. It should not be confused with the salaried home seller who has an employment contract and benefits from the status of VRP: titleContent.Doorstep selling is a commercial practice strictly regulated by law. Thus, doorstep selling excludes the following cases:Sale by telephone or internet (specific regime for distance selling)Sale in markets, exhibitions, fairs, or any place usually intended for tradeSale of certain products: health services, foodstuffs, gambling or financial products (banks, savings, insurance).
Doorstep selling is prohibited when the consumer has clearly and unambiguously expressed that he does not want to be visited. Contravening this ban is punishable by 1 year in prison and a fine of €150,000. It is also forbidden to make a purchase from another independent home seller.The independent door-to-door salesperson (VDI) must enter into a contract with a direct selling company that entrusts him with the sale of his products or services.There are 2 different types of contracts:Proxy VDIBuyer-Reseller VDIThe sources of income of the door-to-door seller differ depending on the nature of the contract. Proxy VDIUnder a VDI agent contract, the company is the principal and the door-to-door seller is the agent. In other words, the company grants the seller the right to take orders in the name and on behalf of the company.Here, the company remains the owner of its stocks. The door-to-door salesman places orders with him as and when his customers demand. The seller therefore does not need to buy goods (no investment on his part for stock). It markets the company’s products or services at the company’s “list” price.Most often, stock management, deliveries and collections are handled by the direct sales company.The remuneration of the VDI agent takes the form of commissions paid by the company according to the turnover it makes. Buyer-Reseller VDIUnder a buyer-reseller VDI contract, the door-to-door seller has a “distribution licence”. He buys stock from the company to resell it to his customers using his own purchase orders. He sets the resale price himself, within the limit of the maximum recommended price.Here, the VDI takes a risk by buying products that it is not sure it can resell. He may be required to manage stock, deliveries and collections.The remuneration of the buyer-reseller VDI takes the form of margins corresponding to the difference between the purchase price of the products from the company and the resale price to the customer.The Independent Home Seller (IDV) uses the name, logo or trademark of the company that entrusts it with the sale of its products or services. However, the independent door-to-door seller operates independently.He does not hold an employment contract for this activity and operates without any relationship of subordination: titleContent with the company. On the other hand, he has a written contract specifying in particular his status as a self-employed worker, the nature of these services, the conditions of exercise and the terms of remuneration.He freely manages the organization of his work and determines alone his level of activity and financial objectives without the company being able to give him instructions.However, the company can offer assistance at the start-up and/or during the activity:Provision of documents necessary for the activity (purchase orders, technical sheets of the products sold)Advice on product inventory management and provision of accounting modelsProvision of specific trainingPromotional and advertising actions in the form of samples, catalogues or gifts for customers.
In return, the door-to-door seller must preserve the image of the company. In particular, he must make a presentation of the products or services marketed in accordance with the technical and descriptive guides that the company has provided him.The company may invite him to meetings to exchange information on the state of the market, customer needs, the competitive situation, the numerical results of the network or any information useful to the exercise of the profession.The company can also communicate a recommended public rate or even a maximum price beyond which the product can not be sold to the consumer. On the other hand, it cannot impose on it a geographical area of sale.It is possible to combine the activity of independent home seller with another activity (salaried or self-employed). Generally, door-to-door sales are carried out as a secondary activity, in addition to a main activity.
An independent door-to-door salesperson may carry out door-to-door sales on behalf of several direct selling companies provided that they are not in direct competition. Otherwise, he must obtain their prior agreement.On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account the incompatibilities linked to certain regulated liberal professions (doctor, lawyer, bailiff, notary, architect, chartered accountant, judicial administrator, etc.).Other incompatibilities may be related to the status of civil servant, the duration of working time or the existence of an exclusivity clause: titleContent in the employment contract. Declaration of activityThe independent home seller (VDI) has a specific status. He must declare his activity online on the counter of formalities of companies, within 15 days after the start of his activity.