Commissioner's Blog: Your rights when sellers come knocking, texting or calling
Being contacted out of the blue by a business wanting to sell you something is a scenario many consumers will be familiar with.
Whether it’s a knock at the front door from a salesperson, or unsolicited text messages, phone calls and emails, it may help to know there are strict rules surrounding how businesses are allowed to contact you.
When it comes to door-to-door salespeople, there are restrictions on when they can visit. They can only knock between 9am and 6pm on weekdays and between 9am and 5pm on Saturdays, they must explain the purpose of their visit and they have to provide identification. If you ask a salesperson to leave, they must go immediately.
Should you make an agreement with a door-to-door seller, they must provide a copy of the signed contract and disclose your ‘cooling off’ or termination rights. Under the Australian Consumer Law, you have 10 business days to reconsider an agreement and cancel it without penalty.
If you’d prefer uninvited salespeople stay away altogether, consider displaying a ‘Do Not Knock Sticker’ at your front door or gate. Ignoring this message means they are in breach of the Australian Consumer Law and can be reported to Consumer Protection.
Consumer Protection hands out hundreds of free ‘Do Not Knock’ stickers every year – either from our city and/or regional offices, through mail-outs when requests come to the contact centre, or via our Community Education team when they are visiting communities.
Other ways businesses may try to target you are via telemarketing calls and spam emails or text messages, which is an area regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Just recently, an online wine retailer paid a $204,000 fine after ACMA found it had sent unsolicited text messages to consumers who had tried to unsubscribe, made calls to phone numbers on the Do Not Call Register, and failed to terminate telemarketing calls when requested.
Even though businesses must have your consent to send e-marketing and are not allowed to contact numbers on the Do Not Call Register, these measures unfortunately won’t stop calls and text messages from scammers who do not comply with the law. Complaints about unwanted communications and spam can be made to ACMA at www.acma.gov.au
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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