I, Simon Cohen, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, issue the following public warning notice, under section 223 of the Australian Consumer Law (Victoria) and section 228 of the Australian Consumer Law & Fair Trading Act 2012, regarding the conduct of: David James Donald in the supply of carpet cleaning and other services.
Mr Donald, pictured above, operates a door-to-door carpet cleaning business, under the registered business name ‘Donald Cleaning Services’.
Mr Donald tours residential areas in the Toyota Van pictured above, usually with another person. He approaches consumers in their homes, often despite the presence of ‘Do Not Knock’ signs, seeking to persuade them to pay him to clean their carpets, curtains and furniture.
Identifying himself simply as ‘David’, Mr Donald may insist on entering consumers’ homes, often under the guise of giving a quote for cleaning services.
Once inside, Mr Donald becomes insistent that his cleaning and other services are required. Consumers who have complained to us have described his approach as intimidating, particularly his insistence on being paid immediately in cash.
Consumers have confirmed to Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Victorian Supreme Court that, in contravention of the specific requirements of the Australian Consumer Law (Victoria) (ACL (Vic)), Mr Donald has:
- failed to identify himself properly;
- failed to inform consumers immediately that he is required to leave their homes promptly if requested to do so;
- failed to provide written details of any agreement entered into with consumers, which included a conspicuous and prominent statement that the consumers had a right to terminate the consumer agreement within 10 business days;
- carried out the carpet cleaning and other services on the day the agreement was entered into, thereby negating the 10-day cooling-off period provided under the ACL (Vic).
In December 2015, the Victorian Supreme Court made orders about Mr Donald’s conduct, including:
- declarations that Mr Donald’s conduct was in breach of the unsolicited consumer agreement provisions of the ACL (Vic), which regulate the conduct of door-to-door sales;
- injunctions restraining Mr Donald from carrying on his carpet cleaning business contrary to the requirements of the unsolicited consumer agreement provisions in the ACL (Vic), in particular restraining him from supplying the carpet cleaning and other services at any time within the 10-day cooling-off period; and
- an order that Mr Donald pay compensation and damages to a consumer.
For more information on our previous action, view our David James Donald - Court action page.
More recently, Consumer Affairs Victoria has received further complaints from consumers about Mr Donald’s conduct. These complaints indicate that Mr Donald is continuing to supply carpet cleaning and related services, door to door, and delivering those services within the 10-day cooling- off period. Further, the complaints indicate that Mr Donald is not providing the required information about himself and the services provided, as required under the ACL (Vic).
Recent consumer complaints suggest that Mr Donald has been active in the Beaumaris and Kyneton areas in February and the Altona and Williamstown areas in March this year.
I am concerned that a number of complaints received recently are from older consumers distressed by Mr Donald’s presence in their homes and his conduct generally.
Consumers are warned about the practices and conduct of Mr Donald. Any consumer who has been approached by Mr Donald since 8 December 2015 for the immediate supply of carpet cleaning or other services, can contact the Consumer Affairs Victoria helpline on 1300 55 81 81.
Consumers are also warned to be wary of any person approaching them in their homes seeking to supply goods and services in contravention of the protections provided in the ACL (Vic). This includes persons who approach the consumer without properly identifying themselves, providing information about the consumer’s rights to terminate such agreements and who request immediate payment or seek to supply the goods or services within the 10-day cooling-off period.
For more information on your rights regarding unsolicited consumer agreements, view our Door-to-door sales page.