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Door to door



Jet sitting in an open blue front doorDoor-to-door scams involve promoting real or false goods and services. Even in the case of genuine businesses and products, unscrupulous operators can still act illegally to the detriment of other people.

They often offer roof repair, maintenance, bitumen work (Bitumen Bandits) or telephone services. Most of these people are itinerant and leave the district or state as soon as they have their money.

Scammers will ask for either deposit or full payment, in cash or by credit card. They seldom accept cheques as they can be easily cancelled later.

They will fail to tell you about your legal rights, including your 10-day cooling-off period and demand you accept their offer on the spot.

In contrast, genuine door-to-door salespersons:

  • show personal identification.

  • should give you written information, and tell you about your cooling-off period for door-to-door sales and give you documents which allow you to cancel the sale easily.

  • abide by the law, call only during the legally permitted hours, and neither pressure nor require you to purchase any good or service.

  • give you an official receipt with their Australian Business Number (ABN), name, address and telephone details.

Fight back

Many Australian companies and charities also belong to the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) which operates a free “Do Not Contact” service.

However Consumer Protection receives many complaints door to door sales practices,

  • Introduce a delay to allow yourself time to research the offer and decide whether it is good value;

  • Always check out the terms and conditions of the contract before agreeing to anything;

  • Beware of surveys. Ask for identification. Surveys are often a means to make an appointment for a salesperson to call. If you accept, make sure you know the name and address of the salesperson and of the company.

  • Beware of claims such as `your roof needs painting' or 'your vacuum cleaner doesn't work properly'. Get independent advice to check those claims

  • Never accept door-to-door quotes at face value. Instead, seek other quotes. Compare prices and terms. Ask if there is a charge for quoting.

  • Before you sign anything, know the full costs, including delivery. Ask about a warranty. Get it in writing.

  • Salespeople are required to show you company identification when you request it. Make a written note of the person's and the company's name, address and telephone number.

  • Smooth or aggressive sales tactics can put you under pressure. If you think the salesperson is preying on your emotions, such as your fear, need, curiosity, sense of obligation, then tell the salesperson to leave.

  • If you suspect foul play, report the incident immediately to Consumer Protection or the police.

  • Say 'No' to any offer that makes you uncomfortable, puts you under pressure or where you may be unsure or fearful.

  • If you are frightened, phone for help from a trusted neighbour or the police, and consider not opening your door to people you don't know. We have known cases where consumers have been driven to the bank to withdraw money.

Remember not all door to door sales are legitimate and it is important to fight back against those door-knocking scamsters