Telemarketers and door-to-door sales

What can you do to discourage unwanted telephone and door-to-door sales?
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03.Do not knock and do not call

No salesmen or agents sign

Do not knock sticker

If you don’t want sales agents to knock on your door, consider using a Do Not Knock sticker which you can print out yourself from the Do not knock website.

These signs are useful in deterring sales agents as they make it clear that you are not interested in door-to-door sales. However, there will always be someone who thinks that the sign doesn’t apply to them or their product or service is so fantastic you really need to know about it. If that’s the case, tell them you are going to report them to the ACCC and your fair trading or consumer protection agency. You can also report them to the police for trespassing, although the effectiveness of this will depend on the extent of the trespass and on your local police station’s resources. 

If you are suspicious about someone who is doorknocking, check your state or territory's fair trading or consumer protection agency to see if there are any dodgy doorknockers operating in your neighbourhood. From time to time there are unlicensed tradespeople who target certain communities trying to sell roof cleaning or house cleaning or bitumen for driveways or other types of home maintenance. They often move on to another suburb or town fairly quickly after they have been detected.

Do not call register

If you don’t want to receive calls from telemarketers, you can put your phone number on the Do Not Call Register (DNCR). This is a database managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) which lists the land line, mobile, fax and VoIP numbers of people who don’t want to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls.  Unsolicited telemarketing calls by Australian and overseas callers to these numbers are prohibited. Registration is free and lasts for 8 years.

Not all calls will be stopped when you register. However, the number of calls will be greatly reduced. You may still receive calls from public interest organisations such as charities, political parties and educational institutions as these are not prevented from calling numbers on the DNCR. Market researchers are also allowed to conduct polling and questionnaire type research, but if their calls include a commercial purpose, then they might be considered to be telemarketing.

If you have registered your number on the DNCR and are still receiving telemarketing calls, you can lodge a complaint with the DNCR.

Shopping centres and car parks 

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to stop the car park or shopping centre wanderers approaching you except try to look the other way or tell them (always politely of course) that you are not interested in their products. But if they’re particularly bothersome, complain to centre management.  The more complaints they receive the more likely it is the centre will get rid of them.

Examples of ACCC action

The ACCC commenced a case in June 2014 against a tax agent working door-to-door in an Indigenous community. The article has links to other enforcement action taken by the ACCC against door-to-door salespeople, such as against a company which sold first aid kits door to door, and Energy Australia which was ordered to pay penalties totalling $1.2 million for the actions of sales representatives acting on its behalf.


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