Last updated 9 January 2019
Consumers purchasing goods and services via a door-to-door salesperson have special protection under ss 69–95 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
A door-to-door sale includes where a telemarketer telephones the consumer without invitation, a salesman writes or comes to a consumer’s door uninvited or arranges to come and demonstrate a product.
If the consumer asks a salesperson to leave or has a ‘do not knock’ sticker on their door, a salesperson must immediately leave the premises.
Sales under $100, party plan events (e.g. where the consumer invites a group of friends to their home and a seller demonstrates a product and the friends purchase the product), credit contracts and emergency repairs are not protected by the door-to-door provisions of the ACL.
A door-to-door sale attracts a mandatory 10-business-day cooling-off period to enable a consumer to cancel the contract for any reason at all. Cancellation can be verbal or written. It is preferable that it is in writing as it is easier to prove that the consumer cancelled within the cooling-off period.
A consumer can cancel a door-to-door contract within three months of sale if the supplier:
- visits outside the permitted selling hours
- does not produce identification
- does not clearly explain why they called
- does not leave the premises when requested by the consumer.
The cancellation period is extended to six months if:
- the supplier does not provide:
- written information that the consumer has a right to cancel the contract within 10 days or within three or six months for breaches of the door-to-door provisions
- the forms used to cancel the contract
- the contract does not set out in full all the terms of the contract before the consumer signed the contract and specifically does not include:
- the total amount to be paid or how the total amount would be calculated
- details of the supplier and how to contact them
- the contract in clearly printed, typed and transparent format
- the consumer does not receive a copy of the contract immediately after it was signed
- the consumer pays a deposit or the full price during the 10-day cooling-off period
- goods over the value of $500 or services are supplied during the cooling-off period.
If the consumer has bought the goods or services on credit, and the credit was sold to them by the door-to-door salesperson at the same time they bought the goods and services, then the credit contract can be cancelled in writing at the same time the goods or services contract is cancelled.
It is an offence once the consumer has cancelled the contract if the door-to-door salesperson lists the consumer with a credit reporting agency or takes legal action to recover the money owing under the contract, unless the legal action is brought for the purposes of determining whether the contract was capable of cancellation or properly cancelled.