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Telemarketing explained

A telemarketing sales agreement involves the sale of personal, domestic or household products or services of more than $100 - unless the value cannot be determined at the time of making the agreement.

In telemarketing, all negotiations take place over the phone.

Telemarketing phone calls are specifically regulated under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Telemarketing Industry Standard.

A telemarketing sales agreement is an example of an 'unsolicited consumer agreement' - view our Unsolicited consumer agreements page.

Telemarketing hours

Telemarketers can only call between:

  • 9:00 am and 8:00 pm Monday to Friday
  • 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Saturday.

They cannot call on Sunday or public holidays.

Rules for telemarketers

Disclose purpose and provide identification

Telemarketers must:

  • provide their contact details
  • tell the consumer why they are calling
  • tell the consumer, if asked, how they got the consumer’s telephone number
  • ensure that calling line identification is enabled when they make or attempt to make a call.

Inform the consumer        

Telemarketers must:

  • give the consumer a written copy of a sales agreement within five business days (or longer if the consumer agrees)
  • inform the consumer of their cooling-off rights and how they can end the agreement 
  • not attempt to get the consumer to waive their cooling-off rights.

Ending a call

Telemarketers must hang up immediately at the consumer's request, and not call back for at least 30 days.

To avoid telemarketers, consumers can request to be added to the Federal Government's 'Do Not Call Register' online or by calling 1300 792 958.

Supplier responsibility for failing to comply

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

Both the supplier and telemarketer may be liable for the breaches, particularly if the telemarketer 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.

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

Sales agreement document

General requirements

Consumers must be given a written copy of the agreement within five business days (or longer if the consumer agrees). The agreement document can be provided in person, by post or electronically (if the consumer agrees).

The agreement document must be:

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

Required inclusion: cooling-off statement

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.

Required inclusion: terms, charges and rights

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.

Required inclusion: contact details

An agreement document signed by a salesperson on a supplier’s behalf must include:

  • the supplier's name, Australian Business Number (ABN), or, if they have one, Australian Company Number (ACN)
  • the supplier's business address (not a post office box), or residential address if no business address is available
  • the supplier's email address and fax number (if available).


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.

Cooling off and termination

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

The cooling-off period begins on the first business day after the consumer receives the agreement document.

Before any agreement is made between the supplier and the consumer, the supplier 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 office box number)
  • Australian Business Number (ABN) or, if they have one, Australian Company Number (ACN)
  • fax number and email address, if they have these.

Restrictions during the cooling-off period

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

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

Products 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.

A consumer who cancels an unsolicited agreement also has responsibilities - these are set out on our Rejecting and returning products page.

Extended cooling-off period

Consumers may terminate an agreement up to three months after the agreement documents are received, if the telemarketer:

  • called outside of the permitted selling hours
  • did not disclose the purpose of the call
  • did not identify themselves, or the company they are calling on behalf of
  • did not give a business name and postal address or email address, or
  • did not end the call upon request.

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

  • 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 products priced over $500 during the 10 business days of the cooling-off period
  • supplied services during the 10 business days of the cooling-off period, or
  • accepted or requested any payment during the 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 consumer gave or sent notice.

Once a consumer has given notice to terminate an agreement the agreement is void. The notice is effective even if:

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

A consumer can use the cancellation notice template near the end of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s guide to door-to-door sales (PDF, 3.65MB).

A consumer who cancels an unsolicited agreement also has responsibilities - these are set out on our Rejecting and returning products page.

Related contracts

If a consumer cancels a telemarketing agreement, then any related contract or instrument is also effectively cancelled.

For products bought on credit or finance, it is the supplier's responsibility to contact the credit provider and arrange for cancellation. For more information, visit the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website.

Supplier obligations on cooling off

When a consumer cools off, the supplier must promptly return or refund 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 products or services after a consumer cools off?

The consumer must (within a reasonable time) return any products that have not been consumed or tell the supplier where to collect them. If the supplier does not collect the products 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 the service as it cannot be 'undone' once it has been provided
  • if the consumer has not taken reasonable care of any products provided to them during that period, the supplier can seek compensation for depreciated value, or for any damage to the products.

The consumer does not have to pay compensation for normal use of the products, or circumstances beyond the consumer's control.

Do Not Call Register

To avoid telemarketers, you can register your phone number with the Federal Government’s Do Not Call Register. You can also lodge a complaint about telemarketing calls.

For more information, visit the Do Not Call Register website.