Receiving unrequested products or services

  • Consumers and businesses do not need to pay for products, services or advertisements that they didn’t ask for.
  • For unsolicited products, consumers need to allow the business a chance to collect the products. If they don’t, consumers can keep it without paying.
  • Bills or invoices for unsolicited items must include a warning with the words “This is not a bill. You are not required to pay money”.

What the ACCC does

  • We educate consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.
  • We accept reports where people consider a business is doing something they shouldn’t do. We use those reports to inform our education, compliance and enforcement work.
  • If a business breaks the rules about unsolicited supplies, we can investigate and may take some form of compliance or enforcement action. See our compliance and enforcement policy and priorities.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don't resolve individual disputes about unsolicited supplies, or provide legal advice.

Unsolicited products or services

When a consumer or business receives products or services they haven’t requested, or a business claims to have supplied services that a consumer or business didn’t receive or request, this is called an ‘unsolicited supply’.

In these situations, the consumer:

  • isn't required to pay for the products or services
  • isn't responsible for any loss or damage resulting from a supply of unsolicited services.

If the consumer:

  • contacts the business in writing, stating that they don’t want the products, then the business should collect the products within one month
  • doesn't contact the business, then the business may collect the products within 3 months.

The consumer can’t unreasonably refuse to allow the supplier to collect the products in these timeframes. The consumer may have to pay compensation if they deliberately damage the products during these timeframes.

If the business doesn’t collect the unsolicited products within these timeframes, the consumer can keep the products with no obligation to pay.

The consumer isn't entitled to keep the products if the products weren’t intended for them. For example, the packaging was clearly addressed to another person.

Unsolicited credit or debit cards

Businesses must not send consumers a debit card or credit card (including store-branded credit cards) unless:

  • they have requested the card in writing, or
  • the card is a replacement or renewal for a card previously issued, which the consumer has requested.

Businesses must not enable a credit card to also be used as a debit card, or vice-versa, unless the consumer specifically requested this in writing.

Unauthorised listings or advertisements

A business can’t demand payment for an unauthorised listing or advertisement about a person or their business or occupation. This applies to listings and advertisements in any form, whether in a physical directory or online.

If the person or business hasn't signed a written agreement giving the business permission to run a paid listing or advertisement, then they don't have to pay the business for the listing or advertisement.

Bills for unsolicited products, services or advertisements

It’s against the law for businesses to issue a bill or invoice that states an amount to be paid for unsolicited items unless:

  • the business reasonably believes they have a right to be paid, or
  • the bill or invoice has a warning with the words “This is not a bill. You are not required to pay money” as the most prominent text in the document.

See also

False or misleading claims

Telemarketing and door-to-door sales

Unfair business practices

Next steps if a business is doing something they shouldn't

Contact the business

If a business tries to charge you or your business for a product, service or advertisement that you didn’t ask for, you can either:

  • ignore it, or
  • contact the business to clearly state you didn’t ask for it and so won’t be paying for it.

If the business continues to push you for payment, there are more steps you can take.

Get help contacting a business or taking a problem further

Report an issue to the ACCC

We accept reports where people consider a business is doing something they shouldn’t do.

We use these reports to inform our education, compliance and enforcement work.

Make a report to the ACCC