Door-to-door sales

If you don't want it, don't buy it

People may knock on your door trying to sell you things. It's illegal for the salesperson to bully you or use physical force to pressure you into buying. Don't feel you have to buy anything if you don't want to. Here is some advice on how to deal with door-to-door sales.

Aboriginal men sitting outside

How to handle door-to-door sales

It can be hard to know what to do when someone knocks on your door and asks you to buy something. Don't rush - take all the time you need to make your decision. Follow these tips:

  • Take time to think it through. Ask the salesperson for documents about the product and say you will think about it
  • Keep good records. Read and keep all the documents you are given and hold onto any receipts
  • Get help. If you are not happy with the goods, get some help from your state consumer affairs or fair trading office (see get help if you're not happy below for the list of offices)
  • Check they are licensed. If they are trying to sell you a financial product, ask the seller if they have an Australian financial services (AFS) licence and check that they are licensed by phoning ASIC's Indigenous Help Line on 1300 365 957 or ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630 or searching ASIC Connect's Professional Registers.

Video: Your Rights Mob Facebook page

Your Rights Mob facebook page video

Watch this NITV story on the new Facebook page, ACCC - Your Rights Mob. The page informs and empowers people to stand up for their rights because Aboriginal communities have been targeted by fraudulent scammers and the mob have had enough.

Don't feel pressured to buy

People sell their goods by going door to door because they think they will have a better chance of making a sale than they would in a shop. If someone comes to your house selling something you wouldn't buy in a shop, you should definitely not buy it.

Smart tip

Ask yourself: is this something I really need? Even if it is, you might get it cheaper in the shops.

There are rules that state how a door-to-door salesperson can behave. They are different for each state but generally salespeople:

  • Cannot come early in the morning or late at night
  • Cannot come on Sundays
  • Cannot use physical force or bully you into buying something
  • Have to give you a contract in writing and let you know about the cooling-off period
  • Must leave your house if you ask them

Case study: Pat buys something she doesn't want

A man came to Pat's house selling cleaning products. The man came into her house and stayed for an hour until Pat agreed to buy the products. After the man had gone she decided she didn't want the cleaning products - she only bought them so the man would leave her house. She contacted the fair trading office in her state to help her get a refund on her purchase.

For more information see your legal rights and listen to our audio segments on what to be aware of when you're shopping.

Use the cooling-off period

Two boys talkingDoor-to-door sales must offer a cooling-off period - a set timeframe in which you can return the goods and get your money back if you change your mind.

When the salesperson is selling you the goods, they have to let you know about the cooling-off period, which is normally between 5 to 10 days depending on which state you live. This means the salesperson cannot start work, or if you change your mind they must give back the money you paid for the product, within the cooling-off period.

If the door-to-door salesperson doesn't tell you about the cooling-off period, you are entitled to a longer cooling-off period.

Case study: Dan changes his mind

A door-to-door salesman came to Dan's house to sell him a mobile phone. Dan agreed to buy the mobile phone because the man told him it was a really good deal and he wouldn't be able to get it anywhere cheaper. A few days later, Dan went to a mobile phone shop and saw the same phone for half the price. He called his fair trading office, who told him that he could get a refund because he had changed his mind within the cooling-off period.

Get help if you're not happy

Man asking for adviceIf you feel like you have been pressured into buying something or you aren't happy with something you've bought, contact the fair trading agency in your state. These agencies can tell you more about the laws on door-to-door sales and whether or not you can get a refund.

Do Not Call Register

If you receive a lot of telemarketing and research calls you can sign up at the Do Not Call Register run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). This will reduce the number of telemarketing and research calls that you receive.

Video: It's okay to walk away

It's okay to walk away video

Watch this video from Consumer Protection WA on understanding your consumer rights. 

To avoid being tricked or pressured by high pressure sales tactics, put up a "Do Not Knock" sticker and get on the "Do Not Call" register. Contact your state's consumer agency when things go wrong.

Don't feel pressured into buying from a door-to-door salesperson. Read all the documents the salesperson gives you before you sign up, and if you don't want the product, don't buy it.

Related links

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.

Last updated: 07 Nov 2018