Direct Selling

Our offer as a firm of lawyers and consultants in direct selling legislation

As a law firm specializing in direct selling, our firm advises its clients on the regulations relating to direct selling (also referred to as “off-premises” sales from the legislative point of view).

Direct selling is characterized by the presence of a buyer and a seller outside a venue intended for marketing goods or services. In addition, it may involve sales to individuals or, on the contrary, party-plan sales.

As such, our firm advises and assists its clients in particular in the following issues:

  • the creation and organization of sales networks (with the status of independent home sellers in particular), advice on the compliance of the direct sales network,
  • cooptation, chain animation,
  • multi-level direct sales (with the pitfalls to avoid: pyramid selling, snowball selling, etc.),
  • compensation plans for independent home sellers,
  • door-to-door selling,
  • duty to disclose pre-contractual information to consumers,
  • formalism of off-premises contracts,
  • consumers’ right of withdrawal, time limits for exercising the right of withdrawal, terms and conditions for exercising the right of withdrawal,
  • payment of the prices of products covered by direct sales,
  • Information Technology and Civil Liberties regulations (French Data Protection Authority (CNIL), GDPR).

As a law firm specializing in direct selling law, we also advise our clients on the implementation of best practices, to be respected by their sales force when operating in particular with the status of an Independent Home Seller.

Reminder by FOUSSAT Avocats of the legal rules governing direct selling

Direct selling, or “off-premises” sales (the term used in Directive no. 2011/83 / EU), finds its origin in door-to-door selling, which is a very old and widespread sales technique. It concerns a wide variety of sectors of the economy, covering a multitude of products from books to household appliances, wines and spirits, household linen, cosmetics, kitchen utensils, clothing, etc.

Direct selling covers not only door-to-door sales between a salesperson and a potential customer, but also other sales techniques. Namely party-plan sales, bringing together a seller and several potential customers, sales during excursions, carried out during a seemingly tourist trip ending in a place of sale, i.e. the real purpose of the trip, etc.

With the development of distance selling in recent years, direct selling techniques have become more complicated and now frequently combine distance selling techniques as well. The seller’s visit to the home is thus increasingly the result of sending a letter beforehand, a telephone call, etc. (see our article Direct selling, IHS and Covid: the worst is never sure… but direct selling still need to adapt and anticipate!)

Law no. 72-1137 of 22 December 1972, relating to consumer protection, door-to-door canvassing and selling, was one of the first texts governing this activity in France.

After various legislative changes at both national and community levels (see the aforementioned Directive no. 2011/83 / EU), direct selling is now governed in particular by Articles L 221-1 to L 221-29 of the French Consumer Code of Law as well as by articles R 221-1 to R 221-4 of the same Code.