Door-to-door sales

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Door-to-door sales hours

Door-to-door sales are only permitted between:

  • 9:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday to Friday
  • 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Saturday.

They are prohibited on Sundays and public holidays.

However, a supplier or agent may visit a consumer at any time if the appointment has been made with the consumer's consent.

Sales agreement requirements

Door-to-door salespeople must meet the following requirements.

Disclose purpose and show identification

The salesperson must explain up front the purpose of the visit and provide identification, including the:

  • salesperson’s name and address 
  • name and address (not a PO Box) of the supplier the salesperson represents.

Cease to negotiate

A salesperson must also explain that they are required to leave upon the consumer's request.

When a salesperson is told to leave, they must not contact the consumer again for at least 30 days about the particular product or service they were selling during the visit. However, a salesperson can visit the same consumer again about the sale of goods by a different supplier.

Contact details

An agreement signed by a salesperson on the supplier’s behalf must state:

  • that the salesperson is acting on the supplier’s behalf
  • the salesperson’s full name
  • the salesperson’s business address (not a post box) or residential address; and
  • the salesperson’s email address (if they have one)
  • the supplier’s name and business address (not a PO Box), or residential address
  • the supplier’s ABN or ACN
  • the supplier’s email address and fax number (if available).

The agreement document

Consumers must be given a written copy of the agreement as soon as it has been signed.

The agreement document must:

  • include the following text on the front page:

Important Notice to the Consumer

You have a right to cancel this agreement within 10 business days from and including the day after you signed or received this agreement.

Details about your additional rights to cancel this agreement are set out in the information attached to this agreement.

  • be transparent - expressed in plain language, legible and clear
  • be printed - although any changes may be handwritten (provided these are signed by both parties)
  • be signed and dated by the consumer on the front page.

The agreement document must clearly state:

  • the consumer’s cooling off rights (right of termination)
  • the full terms of the agreement
  • the total price payable, or how this will be calculated
  • any postal or delivery charges
  • the supplier’s name and business address (not a PO Box), or residential address
  • the supplier’s ABN or ACN
  • the supplier’s email address and fax number (if available).

Informing customers about cooling off rights

Prior to any agreement made between the salesperson and the consumer, the salesperson must inform consumers of their cooling-off rights, and how they can exercise their right to terminate the agreement.

The agreement document must be accompanied by a notice that may be used to terminate the agreement (cool off). This notice must include the supplier’s details including:

  • name and business address (not a post box number)
  • Australian Business Number (ABN) or, if they have one, Australian Company Number (ACN)
  • fax number and email address, if they have these.

Waivers

It is an offence to induce, or attempt to induce, consumers to waive their rights.

Provisions that are void

It is unlawful to include or rely on provisions that exclude, limit, modify or restrict:

  • a consumer’s right to terminate the agreement
  • the effect or operation of the law as it relates to unsolicited consumer agreements.

Restrictions during the cooling off period

Consumers have 10 business days to reconsider a door-to-door sales agreement, during which they can cancel the agreement without penalty. This is called the termination period or cooling-off period.

The cooling-off period begins on the first business day after the agreement was made.

During the cooling-off period, a supplier must not:

  • supply any goods priced over $500 relating to the agreement
  • supply services relating to the agreement
  • accept or require any form of payment.

Goods priced at $500 or less may be supplied, as can electricity or gas to premises not already connected to such services.

For more information, view our Unsolicited supplies page.

Extended cooling-off period

Consumers may terminate a door-to-door sales agreement up to three months after it is made if the salesperson:

  • visited outside of the permitted selling hours 
  • did not disclose the purpose of the visit 
  • did not produce identification, or 
  • did not leave the premises upon request.

The cooling-off period is extended to six months if a salesperson:

  • did not provide information about cooling-off rights
  • was in breach of any of the requirements for unsolicited consumer agreements, such as failing to provide a written copy of the agreement or not including required information in the written agreement
  • supplied goods priced over $500 during the 10 business day cooling-off period
  • supplied services during the 10 business day cooling-off period, or
  • accepted or requested any payment during the 10 business day cooling-off period.

If a consumer cools off or terminates

A consumer may terminate an agreement orally or in writing. The termination date is considered to be the date on which the notice was given or sent by the consumer.

Once a consumer has given notice to terminate an agreement (either orally or in writing) the agreement is void. The notice is effective even if:

  • written notice has been given, but the supplier has not received it 
  • goods or services supplied have been wholly or partly consumed or used.

Related contracts

If a consumer cancels an unsolicited consumer agreement, then any related contract or instrument is also void, which means it is also effectively cancelled.

For example:

A consumer agrees to buy a $900 washing machine from a door-to-door trader, and also signs a separate agreement for servicing the washing machine, costing $80. The second contract is not covered by the cooling-off provisions. If the consumer cools off on the washing machine purchase then the service contract is also cancelled.

For goods bought on credit or finance, it is the supplier’s responsibility to contact the credit provider and arrange for cancellation. For more information, contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Supplier obligations

When a consumer cools off, the supplier must promptly return or refund to the consumer any money paid under the agreement or related contract.

A supplier cannot:

  • take action against the consumer to recover any payments allegedly owed under the agreement 
  • place, or threaten to place, the consumer’s name on a list of defaulters or debtors.

What happens to the goods or services after a consumer cools off?

The consumer must, within a reasonable time, return any goods that have not been consumed or tell the supplier where to collect them. If the supplier does not collect the goods within 30 days once notice has been given, the consumer can keep them.

When the agreement is terminated after the cooling off period:

  • if a service has already been provided, the consumer may have to pay for it as the service cannot be ‘undone’ once it has been provided
  • if the consumer has not taken reasonable care of any goods provided to them during that period, the supplier can seek compensation for depreciated value, or for any damage to the goods.

The consumer does not have to pay compensation for normal use of the goods or circumstances beyond the consumer’s control.

Supplier responsibility for failing to comply

A supplier cannot enforce an agreement if the supplier’s agent (salesperson) has breached the law on unsolicited consumer agreements – view our Unsolicited consumer agreements page.

Suppliers should ensure their sales agents and other representatives are fully aware of legal obligations when using unsolicited marketing approaches.

Both the supplier and salesperson may be liable for breaches, particularly if the salesperson breached the law regarding the permitted hours, disclosure of purpose and identity, ceasing to negotiate on request and informing the consumer of their termination rights.

Last updated: 02/05/2014

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