Consumers are being reminded of their rights when approached by door-to-door salespeople after we successfully took a solar company to the Federal Court for using aggressive sales tactics and misleading consumers.
Among multiple findings, the Court found Vic Solar, and its director Sunny Srinivasan, 31, of Kew, breached the Australian Consumer Law by making misleading representations to consumers, and failing to comply with legal protections for unsolicited consumer agreements.
The Court also found that the overall Vic Solar business model was unconscionable conduct. Vic Solar used third-party lead generators to knock on home-owners' doors, advertised a false 'community bulk-buy' of solar PV systems and used the details of those who registered interest to engage in door-to-door sales that breached unsolicited consumer agreement laws. For example, by not letting people know about their cooling-off rights and not respecting the cooling-off period before starting installations.
The Court found that the conduct of third party salespeople as lead generators in this case should be attributed to Vic Solar.
Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, Nicole Rich, said the outcome serves as a stern warning to all sellers that aggressive tactics and misleading consumers will not be tolerated.
"Businesses cannot avoid responsibility for dodgy sales practices by using lead generators", Ms Rich said.
Most door-to-door sales are known as 'unsolicited consumer agreements', meaning the company has approached the consumer uninvited, at a location other than the seller's place of business.
Consumers have different rights with unsolicited consumer agreements than they would in a store, with sellers only able to attend a property within certain permitted hours, being required to leave the consumer's property upon request, and advising consumers of their termination and cooling-off rights.
It's important for consumers to keep an eye out for aggressive sales techniques, such as:
- offering goods or services with significantly discounted prices
- not providing information about cooling-off rights
- not providing a written copy of the sales agreement as soon as it has been signed.
Consumers who want to avoid visits from door-to-door salespeople can display a 'Do not knock' sticker in a place where it will easily be seen, such as on their gate post or by their front door.
For more information about unsolicited consumer agreements and door-to-door sales, view Door-to-door sales.
Anyone who believes they have been treated unfairly during a door-to-door sale should report it to us.