Avoiding sales pressure
Don't give in to the hard sell
Have you ever felt pressured into buying something you didn't
really want? Salespeople use a range of tactics to persuade you to
part with your cash. However, you don't have to give in to their
sales pitch if you don't want the item or need more time to think
about the offer. Read our tips on avoiding the hard sell.
Common sales tactics
Salespeople use a range of techniques to persuade you to buy
their product, whether they work in a bank or car dealership, or
sell door-to-door, over the phone, at a seminar, or even a shopping
centre. Sometimes they will try to sell you a product and then sign
you up for a loan to pay for it.
Read our case study on pushy
salespeople to see how Victor handles an educational software
salesman. There is also useful information on choosing a
tutor and educational products on NSW Fair Trading:
'Our product is the real deal'
To get you to sign up, salespeople will tell you why their
product is better than others. They may show you data or statistics
to back their claim. Salespeople may also tell you that all
the smart, rich or clever people are using their product.
Don't take only their word for it, no matter how convincing their
argument sounds. Do your own research.
'I hear what you're saying/I know how you
Salespeople know the easiest way to get you on board is to
become your 'friend'. They may tell you something about themselves
to show they understand and share your concerns. If they can get
you to trust them, it will be easier to persuade you to buy their
'Think about what this means for your partner or
Another persuasive technique is to make you think that if you
don't buy this product, you are not doing the best you can for your
family. For example, a life insurance salesperson may say you are
putting your family at risk if you can't work to support them.
Similarly, a salesperson may imply you are risking your children's
education or future by not buying the educational software package
they are selling.
'This is a one-time offer only'
You may be told that the offer is for 'today only' or that there
are only a limited number of items available, and if you don't sign
up now you will miss out. Don't fall into this trap - take all the
time you need to research and compare products before you sign
'Here's a little token of our appreciation'
Sometimes you may get a gift like a free trip for attending a
seminar. This is just a tactic to make you feel obliged to return
the favour by buying their product. You don't owe them
Dealing with pushy
If you make a decision under pressure, the outcome is rarely
good. No matter how attractive the offer or how insistent the
salesperson, you should never agree to anything on the spot.
Ask for time to think
Be polite but firm - say you want some time to think over the
offer and keep repeating your request until they agree. Take down
their name and contact details and say you will be in touch if you
have any questions or when you have decided what to do.
Check that the business is legitimate
If you are looking to buy a financial
service or product, tell
pushy salespeople that you only deal with licensed businesses and
that you would like a copy of their licence details and a financial services guide before making a
decision. You should also double-check their credentials by checking ASIC lists or phoning
ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.
For non-financial products, see the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission's (ACCC's) webpage on identifying a genuine
Make an informed decision
Ask for a copy of the sales, loan or credit contract
they want you to sign so you can review it in your own time before
you sign anything. If you read all the documents to work
out the fees and charges, terms and conditions then you
can see if the deal is really worth the money. This is
particularly important if you receive a letter or phone call out of
the blue from a company you have never heard of.
Be wary of verbal promises
Get everything in writing before you sign up. Make sure any
verbal promises are written into a contract or agreement to avoid
disputes in the future.
Check if there is a cooling-off period
Find out if there is a cooling-off
period so that if you change your mind, you can cancel the
contract or agreement. Cooling-off periods vary from state to
state. Contact the consumer affairs agency in your state to find
out what your cooling-off period is. See ACCC's list of consumer
protection government agencies.
Take your time
Never commit yourself without researching what else is available
and comparing the features and costs of different products from
different companies. You may find a better offer that's just right
Put a 'Do not knock' sticker on your door
If you don't feel you have the strength to say 'no' to high
pressure salespeople, you can put up an 'Do not knock' sign on
your door. This sticker lets salespeople know that you do not want
them to knock on your door. You can get a Do
not knock sticker from the Consumer Action Law Centre
Do not call register
There is a Do not call register run by
the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that you
can use to reduce the number of telemarketing and research calls
that you receive.
Your legal rights
There are laws to protect you from companies that mislead or
deceive you to sell a product or service. The ACCC has listing of
the consumer affairs agencies
that can you can complain to, if something goes wrong
with a product or service you have bought.
If it is a financial product or service that you are having
problems with, find out how to complain to ASIC.
When salespeople are not allowed to call you
There is an
ACMA industry standard for telemarketing and research calls
that directs when and how telemarketers can contact individuals.
Under the industry standard, a caller must not make or attempt to
make a call on:
||Before 9am or after 8.30pm
||Before 9am or after 8pm
||Before 9am or after 5pm
||Before 9am or after 5pm
||Before 9am or after 5pm
|National public holidays
To avoid buying a product that does not suit
your needs, don't cave in to high-pressure sales tactics. Remember
that you are not obliged to sign up on the spot, and you don't owe
the salesperson anything for their time.
Last updated: 26 Sep 2016