Handymen or handyfolks, contractors, folks who engage in any type of home repair work — This applies to YOU.
The Ohio Home Solicitation Sales Act:
- What is it?
- What transactions are covered under it?
- And, how to protect yourself from liability.
The Home Solicitation Sales Act (“HSSA”) can be found at Revised Code 1345.21. It is just one of the many laws, including the Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Ohio Home Construction Service Suppliers Act that apply to many home improvement services businesses. This blog addresses only the HSSA, which is a very nuanced law. The information below is general information and not meant to address the many variations on what constitutes liability under the HSSA.
At its heart, the HSSA is a law that was intended to protect consumers from high sale pressure sales tactics that happen in the home of the consumer. However, its application has proven to be much broader than that. For example, to be liable you don’t have to engage in any high-pressure sales tactic at all. Let me say that again — you don’t have to engage in any high-pressure sales tactics at all, whatsoever, to be found liable under this law!
So, what types of transactions does it cover:
- The HSSA covers the sale of consumer goods or services in which the supplier engages in personal solicitation at the home of the consumer, even if the supplier was invited to the home by the consumer.
- The HSSA applies IF the business does not have a fixed business location that is open to the public where the businesses goods and services are regularly displayed.
Basically, if you are a contractor, a handyman, a repair man, a heating and cooling person, replace windows, do concrete work, etc., and have no fixed business location that is open to the public where you display your services and goods, you likely fall into the wide purview of the HSSA.
The HSSA does not cover transactions in which:
- The sale is less than twenty-five dollars.
- The sale of more than twenty-five thousand dollars. (The Home Construction Service Suppliers Act might though)
- The business has a fixed business location, open to the public, where it displays its goods and services to the public.
- The consumer initiates the contact and the good or services are needed to meet an immediate personal emergency which may jeopardize the welfare, health, or safety of the consumer or endanger property owned by the consumer.
If the HSSA applies to transactions your business undertakes, you need to be sure you understand the law and are compliant.
Without limitation, there is a requirement that you provide to the consumer a notice to cancel the contract. This notice specifically states that they have three days to cancel the contract and you must wait three days to begin any work.
There are many additional requirements that your contract must include, for instance you must list any subcontractors, the materials, estimates for those materials, provide estimates for work, and more.
Because there are many nuances to consumer law in general, and the HSSA in particular, it is important that businesses owners speak with a lawyer so that understand the requirements of not just the HSSA, but the CSPA and HCSSA and are compliant with those laws. Additionally, suppliers can obtain more information on the HSSA through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Contact Wick Law, LLC to discuss whether you need to have your services agreements drafted to include certain provisions so that you will be compliant with the law and protected from liability.
Wick Law, LLC is a small business legal practice, representing owners, investors, and entrepreneurs in all aspects of commercial, corporate, and business law, estate planning, contracts and negotiations, business litigation, and real estate. For more information: Contact 614-572-6366, visit www.mwicklaw.com, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wick Law, LLC is located in Columbus, Ohio.
(Materials in this article have been prepared by Wick Law, LLC for general informational purposes only. This list is for educational purposes and is not to be considered exhaustive. More items could be added to this checklist based upon the type of transaction or industry standards. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information provided is not privileged and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wick Law, LLC or any of the firm’s lawyers. This checklist is not an offer to represent you. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information in this checklist. Wick Law, LLC maintains offices in Columbus, Ohio, and has lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio and in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. The firm does not intend to practice law in any jurisdiction where the firm is not licensed.)
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