The DSAI Consumer Code of Practice Direct Selling Association of Ireland code of practice for consumers With amendments agreed by DSAI Board on 18th March 2020
The DSAI Consumer Code of Practice
Direct Selling Association of Ireland code of practice for consumers
With amendments agreed by DSAI Board on 18th March 2020
Methods of Selling
1.1 In selling/supplying goods or services, members (and their direct sellers) will comply with all law relevant to that sale/supply.
1.2 A member engaging in direct selling activities in a country outside the Republic of Ireland is encouraged to become a member of that country’s DSA.
If not a member of that country’s (WFDSA affiliated or Seldia affiliated) DSA, it will conduct those activities, if within the EEA, in compliance with Seldia’s European Codes or, if outside the EEA, in compliance with the WFDSA World Codes of Conduct for direct selling.
1.3 Members (and their direct sellers) will comply with this Code and, in relation to distance or remote sales, with the Annex to this Code.
1.4 It is the duty of all Members to satisfy the Association:
(a) that adequate initial training and information is given to all direct sellers with particular regard to their responsibilities to the public; and that continuing training is made available throughout a direct seller's contract;
(b) that they have adequate cover against all claims for death, personal injury and damage to property arising out of the demonstration of goods or their use after sale; this cover may either be an insurance policy with a properly authorised insurance company or by the member carrying the risk itself, subject to the approval of that arrangement by the Association;
(c) that direct sellers are encouraged to take out adequate public liability cover where appropriate.
2. Members whose sales and/or recruiting methods include inviting would-be direct sellers and consumers to meetings shall ensure that all invitations:
(a) specify the purpose of the meeting;
(b) explain that those invited are under no obligation to purchase anything.
Invitees shall be given details of a named contact person and telephone/fax number or E-mail address.
3. It is the duty of all Members to satisfy the Association by production of written guidance that they have taken all reasonable steps to see that direct
sellers act with integrity; and in particular:
(a) do not use misleading, deceptive or unfair sales practices;
(b) make personal or telephone contact with consumers only in a reasonable manner and during reasonable hours;
(c) respect the customers' right to privacy and their right to bring any contact to an end;
(d) describe the goods or products truthfully and accurately;
(e) answer customers' questions honestly and clearly;
(f) make only such verbal or written product claims with respect to product efficacy as are authorized by the member;
(g) give clear and legally accurate information about price and all aspects of after-sales service;
(h) abide by all current guidelines covering the promoting and selling of goods;
(i) refrain from in any way exploiting the customer, especially anyone who is particularly vulnerable.
Fair Direct Selling
4.1 A phone call to make an appointment to visit a consumer should normally be made between 8am and 9pm.
4.2 When making an appointment to visit a consumer with a view to effecting a sale or soliciting or confirming (or interesting the consumer in placing)
an order, the member or direct seller should not misrepresent the sales process and should:
(i) make the appointment for a reasonable time of day, normally not to start before 8 am and planned to finish by 9pm, unless:
(a) it is a party plan appointment with a later finish time acceptable to the host/hostess; or
(b) he consumer gives his/her specific express consent to a later stated agreed planned finish time which is no later than 10pm (and the visit must not continue after 10pm).
(ii) inform the consumer that the consumer will be under no obligation to place an order;
(iii) inform the consumer as to all other purposes of the visit, e.g. to demonstrate/preview products;
(iv) if the visit is not a party plan sales event, inform the consumer as to the likely length of the visit, i.e. the total time which the direct seller is likely to spend in the consumer’s home, including any breaks that the direct seller may take;
(v) inform the consumer as to the different stages, if any, involved in the visit (including the likely length of any demonstration, or DVD presentation);
(vi) where products are targeted at the elderly or infirm, check for any vulnerability (lack of understanding etc) that the consumer might have. In such cases, the member should provide, and require its direct sellers to use, an effective screening system able to identify vulnerable consumers.
(vii) where a consumer is identified as vulnerable, take all reasonable steps to ensure that the vulnerability is not exploited, even unintentionally.
4.3 The following will normally be considered as examples of unfair direct selling practices:
(i) failing to comply with paragraph 4.1 and 4.2 above,
(ii) failing to leave when the consumer requests a termination of a visit;
(iii) an unreasonably long visit to the consumer’s home;
(iv) falsely creating the impression that a consumer has won or will win a prize;
(v) offering a discounted price unless the undiscounted price quoted is a genuine price at which retail sales of a significant number of goods could reasonably have been expected to have been made;
(vi) offering a “there and then” discount except where the discounted price is €500 or less.
4.4 A discount offered during a visit to a consumer’s home or place of work is a “there and then” discount unless, at the time it is offered, the consumer
is informed that the discount will be available for at least a week thereafter.
4.5 A visit is unreasonably long if it exceeds the period reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes of the visit: e.g. demonstration of the product;
taking measurements (e.g. for home furnishings); writing out a quotation; ascertaining whether the consumer wishes to buy. In the case of a straightforward product easily demonstrated, a visit of reasonable length might not exceed 30 minutes. Party plan visits might well be much longer. Apart from party plan visits, a visit exceeding three hours would normally be too long.
5. Members must be able to satisfy the Association that:
(a) appropriate steps are taken to protect private information given by consumers or potential consumers;
(b) they are familiar with current legislation on trade and consumer protection and Data Protection;
(c) where appropriate they inform direct sellers of their relevant legal obligations and keep them up to date with all changes as and when appropriate.
6. (a) Members' advertisements shall be truthful and accurate and, as a general rule, shall incorporate a reference to their membership of the Association.
Members' sales and promotional literature shall also be truthful and accurate and shall always contain a reference to their membership of the Association.
(a) Members must be able to satisfy the Association that they comply with the Irish codes of Advertising Practice and Sales Promotion where relevant.
7. All direct sellers should immediately:
(a) identify themselves to prospective consumers;
(b) explain the purpose of their approach;
(c) identify the member and the goods.
8. Members will supply a copy of this Code of Practice to all direct sellers. This copy may be provided in hard copy or electronic format or via a link to
where the Code can be viewed on the Member’s website or the DSAI website. It must be available for any customer. Members will publicise this Code to consumers, including via the following: (i) including on the Member’s website, this Code or a link to it or a statement of where on the DSAI website it can be accessed, and (ii) including on the customer order form a reference to it and where it can be found.
9. Consumers' order forms must be approved by the Association and Code Administrator before they are used. They must:
(a) be clear and legible.
(b) contain the member's full name and address;
(c) set out any guarantee referred to in Rule 10;
(d) set out the consumer’s right of cancellation referred to in Rule 12;
(e) show that the member belongs to the Association and contain the Association's logo;
(f) give contact details of the direct seller and indicate the direct seller's contractual relationship with the consumer;
(g) indicate that the DSAI has a dispute resolution procedure.
A copy of an order must be given to the consumer when it is placed. Either the order form, or some other document given to the consumer at or before the time of the order, must contain clear information as to the terms and conditions of supply and must include information as to delivery/completion dates. Unless otherwise agreed, delivery/completion shall be within 30 days of the order.
10. Any guarantee of goods shall be clear and easy to understand. It must exceed the consumer's existing legal rights, and not affect his statutory rights.
The terms of all guarantees must be approved by the Association and the Code Administrator before they are used.
After Sales Service
11. When an after sales service is offered, details and limitations must be clearly stated in writing. Where a consumer would normally expect an after
sales service but none is offered, this must be stated in writing and given to the consumer.
Rights of Cancellation & Refund
12.1 Members must ensure that customers are given at least the cancellation rights required to be given by law.
12.2 Where the member is unable to supply goods or services, the member must make a full refund of any price or deposit, unless the customer agrees
to accept substitute goods or services.
Self Regulation & Complaints Handling
13. Members must:
(a) make regular audits of systems, procedures and documentation to prove compliance with this code of practice;
(b) inform consumers in writing of to whom (name & postal address) they may address any complaint;
(c) have effective procedures for dealing with consumers’ complaints and responding within a reasonable time (normally within ten working days) at no cost to the consumer.
(d) keep records of consumers' complaints and of the action taken in response.
14.1 DSAI Codes are supervised and administered by an independent, legally qualified Administrator appointed by the Board on behalf of the Association.
14.2 The Code Administrator shall:
(a) satisfy himself that members' trading practices and documentation comply with the Codes;
(b) report any breach of the Codes to the member's Chief Executive and recommend appropriate remedial action where necessary;
(c) investigate any failure by a member to act upon any recommendation;
(d) report any failure by a member to remedy any breach to the Board of the Association;
(e) publish an annual report which includes any suggestions the Administrator has for the improvement of the Code in the light of experience, and forward a copy to the National Consumer Agency for information.
Breaches of the Consumer Code
15 Any complaint about a breach of the Consumer Code (or its Annex) shall be treated in the following way.
(a) The complainant may refer it:
(i) to the Chief Executive of the member; or
(ii) the Director General of the Association.
(b) If the complainant is dissatisfied with any solution proposed by the member, or it is referred initially to the Director General, the following procedure will be used:
(i) The complainant will be asked to set out details of the complaint in writing;
(ii) The Director General will send a copy of the written complaint to the member requesting prompt remedial action; a response to this request should be made within 14 days. The complainant will be kept informed at all times;
(iii) Although there is no time limit within which the consumer must take action, the seller has 21 days from the consumer action to notify the Director General that the matter has been resolved. This period may be extended for reasons such as, but not restricted to, illness, holidays, lack of information etc.;
(iv) The total time from complaint receipt by Director General to resolution should take no longer than 30 days.
(c) If the complainant is dissatisfied with the recommended action, or if the member fails to act as required by the Director General, the Director General shall refer the complaint to the Code Administrator.
Investigations by the Code Administrator
16.1 The Code Administrator will investigate any complaint referred to him, obtain evidence relevant to the issues complained from the complainant,
from the member and any other relevant person and make a written adjudication as quickly as possible.
16.2 The adjudication is binding on the member and any direct seller; the complainant is not bound by the adjudication.
17.1 Where a member is found to be in breach of the Consumer Code (including the Annex), the Code Administrator may require the member:
(a) to repay all money paid by the complainant;
(b) to replace or repair any product without charge;
(c) to pay any costs incurred by the Code Administrator for technical advice or testing;
(d) to take all reasonable steps, including any specified steps, to prevent a recurrence of the breach;
(e) to pay compensation (not exceeding 6000 Euro) to the complainant.
17.2 The Code Administrator may recommend that the member appear before the Disciplinary Committee and may make recommendations as to the
action it should take.
18.1 The Disciplinary Committee shall consist of either two DSAI Board Members and three Independent Members nominated by the Board or one DSAI
Board Member and two Independent Members nominated by the Board. It will be chaired by a DSAI Board member. The Disciplinary Committee shall consider all the evidence and may call for written or oral evidence to the issues complained from any person. The Disciplinary Committee’s decision will formally be a recommendation to the Board of the Association of any one or more of the following:
• no action be taken;
• the Member be required to undertake a specified course of remedial action;
• issue by the Board of a formal warning;
• suspension of the member from the DSAI for a stated period;
• expulsion of the member from the DSAI.
Suspension and expulsion can be “suspended”, i.e. not to take effect if one or more conditions are met.
18.2 The Disciplinary Committee shall send its report to the complainant and the member and the Board of the Association. The member is bound by
18.3 The Board may not reverse or overturn the decision of the Disciplinary Committee. Upon application by the member, however, or on its own initiative,
the Board may refer the decision back to the Disciplinary Committee for re-consideration.
18.4 The National Consumer Agency will be invited to send an observer to all Disciplinary Committee meetings and any meetings of the Board of the
Association which considers Disciplinary Committee recommendations.
Complaints from outside the Republic of Ireland
19.1 A member which is the subject of a complaint in a country in which it is not a DSA member, must accept jurisdiction of the Code Administrator in its
home country (or if the company is not a member in its home country, any country in which it is a DSA member), and shall bear reasonable costs (including translation costs) incurred by the DSA/Code Administrator in handling the complaint.
19.2 Subject to the following provisions, any complaint from overseas handled by the DSAI will be handled in the same way as a complaint from the
Republic of Ireland.
19.3 In considering a complaint from overseas, the Code Administrator may (at his/her discretion) consult the Code Administrator in the country from
which the complaint arose.
19.4 In evaluating a complaint from overseas, the Code Administrator will apply, in order of priority, (i) the standards of the Code of Ethics in the country in
which the complaint is filed (if those standards can easily be determined), or (ii) the standards of the DSAI’s Codes, or (iii) the standards of the Code of Ethics in the subject company’s home country, or, (iv) at a minimum, the standards set forth in either, as relevant, the Seldia or WFDSA Codes of Ethics.
Amendments and Updating
20. This code may be amended or updated only on the orders of the full Board.
"the Association" and “DSAI” means the Direct Selling Association of Ireland;
“the Board” is made up of an elected representative from each DSAI member company
"direct seller" means any person involved in direct selling in any capacity;
"direct selling" means the direct selling of consumer products either in the home or away from normal retail premises by which a salesperson either: demonstrates the product or presents a product catalogue; or, collects an order; or arranges for the delivery of the products; or collects payment for the product or arranges for credit;
“EEA” means the European Economic Area;
"member" means a member of the Association and includes its employees;
"product" means any goods or services;
“Seldia” refers to the organisation of that name which is the European Federation of Direct Selling Associations;
“WFDSA” means the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations.
Annex to Code of Practice for Consumers
This Annex gives additional protection to consumers who buy goods or services by remote or distance sales contracts
Remote or Distance Selling
1. This Annex supplements the DSAI’s Code of Practice for Consumers. It applies where goods or services are sold to consumers by sales which are remote
sales or distance sales, for example where a consumer places an order over the telephone, by mail or over the internet. In those cases Members (and their direct sellers) will comply with:
(a) the terms of this Annex;
(b) the requirements of the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and other Rights) Regulations 2013.
2.1 Members will ensure that consumers are given full information, clear and comprehensible, both before the contract is concluded and also in writing (or
other durable form) before or at the time of performance of the contract or delivery of the goods.
2.2 The information must include details of the consumer’s right of cancellation under paragraph 3 below.
2.3 The information must also include: the seller’s/supplier’s name and address, a description of the main characteristics of the goods or services, the price
(including for how long it is valid and whether it is inclusive of VAT and delivery), arrangements for delivery/performance and payment, charges for delivery (where the price does not include them).
2.4 The information given in durable form must also include: the conditions and procedures for exercise of the consumer’s right of cancellation, a
geographical address where any complaints can be sent; information as to any guarantees or after-sales services.
2.5 Members will observe the information-giving requirements of the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and other Rights)
Rights of Cancellation
3.1 Members must ensure that customers are given at least the cancellation rights required to be given by law.
3.2 Where the member is unable to supply goods or services, the member must make a full refund of any price or deposit, unless the customer agrees to
accept substitute goods or services.
4. Unless otherwise agreed, delivery/completion shall be within 30 days of the order.
Fraudulent Use of Payment Card
5. Where, in relation to a remote or distance sale, fraudulent use is made of a consumer’s payment card by someone else not acting as his agent, the
consumer is entitled to cancel the payment and to have his account re-credited. Members will co-operate with card issuers in ensuring this right of consumers is honoured.