The Consumer Action Law Centre wants tougher laws to help homeowners repel sales pests. Picture: Thinkstock
by Karen Collier Herald Sun November 28, 2011 7:42am
ANNOYING salespeople who ignore “do not knock” signs would be charged and fined under a proposed change to consumer law.
The Consumer Action Law Centre wants tougher laws to help homeowners repel sales pests and ensure that warnings to stay off properties are obeyed.
The Federal Government will be asked to create an offence so that sellers who ignore “keep out” stickers are fined up to $50,000.
Consumer Action will offer hundreds of thousands of “do not knock” signs to householders in a national campaign to be launched today.
Complaints have been made about sellers peddling electricity deals, vacuum cleaners, gym memberships and other products.
They have been accused of pressuring and misleading the elderly, the disadvantaged and stay-at-home mums.
“Residents are often unsure of their position or feel rude telling salespeople to go away. We’re hoping that Australians will start to assert their right to be left in peace,” campaign director Gerard Brody said.
Industry representatives said people had a right to reject sales pitches, but calls for tighter laws were over the top.
Mr Brody said sellers who snubbed signs on letterboxes or near front doors were already technically committing trespass.
However, it was impractical for householders to test this in court, so a specific offence would be a better deterrent.
Most “salespeople do go away if they see a sticker, but there are always some rogues,” he said.
Energy Assured chief Anne Whitehouse said an industry code to be released in January meant electricity and gas sales agents deliberately ignoring “do not knock” requests risked deregistration.
Direct Selling Association of Australia executive director John Holloway said consumers could make their own decisions on door-to-door selling.
Consumer Affairs Victoria recorded 250 cases about doorknock sales between January and August.
Claims included unscrupulous spruikers selling overpriced goods, not advising of cooling-off periods, pressuring people to go to banks to get deposits, and trying to sell goods without a receipt.
For advice on your rights or to obtain a sticker go to: www.donotknock.org.au