Telemarketing & door-to-door sales

You have rights under the Australian Consumer Law when a salesperson approaches you at your front door, over the phone or in a public place that is not the premises of the supplier. These protections apply to sales methods that are called ‘unsolicited consumer agreements’.

Your consumer rights

If a salesperson initiates contact with you to offer an 'unsolicited consumer agreement', they must follow rules around:

  • how and when they can approach you
  • what information they must give you
  • your right to change your mind.

The law applies to salespeople supplying goods or services for trade or commerce and does not cover other door knockers such as religious groups or charity fundraisers. However, consumers can always ask any unwanted visitors to leave their premises.

When can a door-to-door salesperson visit?

Door-to-door salespeople are not allowed to visit you:

  • on Sundays or public holidays
  • before 9am or after 6pm on weekdays
  • before 9am or after 5pm on Saturdays.

The salesperson must:

  • tell you that you can ask them to leave
  • leave immediately if you ask them to and not return for 30 days.

If you don’t wish to be visited by door-to-door salespeople, place a do not knock sign at your front door.

When can a telemarketer call?

Permitted hours for telemarketing are regulated under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and associated telemarketing standards.

Telemarketers are not allowed to call you:

  • on Sundays or public holidays
  • before 9am or after 8pm on weekdays
  • before 9am or after 5pm on Saturdays.

The Australian Government's national Do Not Call Register allows you to list your home, personal mobile or fax number to reduce telemarketing calls.

Identification requirements

By law the salesperson must tell you:

  • their name
  • the name and address of the organisation they represent
  • the purpose of the phone call or visit.

Your copy of the sales agreement

The sales agreement must be provided in writing after the phone call or immediately after you sign it, if signed in person.

The sales agreement must:

  • be written in plain, clear language
  • be printed (changes may be handwritten and signed)
  • be signed by you and the trader - the front page must have your signature and the date you signed
  • set out the full terms and conditions of the agreement, including the cooling-off period
  • state the total price payable or how this will be calculated, as well as any delivery or postal costs
  • clearly state on the front page that you have the right to terminate the agreement (or cool-off)
  • be accompanied by a form that you can use to cancel the agreement during the cooling-off period
  • include the seller’s contact details (their physical business address, email and fax number) and Australian Business Number or Australian Company Number.

Your signature is valuable – do not sign a document without reading it in full first. You do not have to agree to anything on the spot.

Cancellation rights (‘cooling-off’)

When entering an unsolicited consumer agreement, you have cooling-off rights that mean:

  • you can change your mind and cancel the contract for any reason without penalty within 10 business days
  • if you bought goods that cost $500 or less, the salesperson can supply these goods immediately to you during the cooling-off period but you still have the right to cancel the contract
  • the salesperson cannot take payment during the cooling-off period for any goods or services and cannot supply any services in this time.

Energy services

If your electricity or gas services are not yet connected or supplied, energy suppliers can still provide goods or services and accept payment during the cooling-off period, however, you can cancel your contract during this time. The salesperson must tell you about your cooling off rights.

See: Energy Made Easy

If you change your mind and want to 'cool-off'

If you sign a sales agreement and then change your mind:

  • you have 10 business days to cool-off or cancel the agreement, starting the first business day after you receive the agreement document
  • you can terminate the agreement verbally or in writing any time during the cooling-off period. Written termination can be delivered personally, sent via post, emailed or sent via fax. The agreement will be cancelled from the day you give notice
  • the trader must promptly return or refund any money paid under the agreement or a related contract
  • for goods bought on credit or finance, the trader must contact the credit provider and arrange for cancellation
  • even if you have partially or completely used the goods supplied by the salesperson under the agreement you still have cooling-off rights during the specified period
  • the salesperson must not try to convince you to waive your rights to cool off.

Extended cooling-off period

If the salesperson has breached your legal rights you may be entitled to a longer cooling-off period.

You may terminate an agreement up to three months after it is made if the salesperson:

  • telephoned or visited you outside of the permitted selling hours
  • did not disclose the purpose of the call or visit
  • did not identify him/herself.

This period is extended to six months if the salesperson:

  • did not provide you with information about the cooling-off period
  • was in breach of other requirements for uninvited sales approaches (such as failing to provide a written copy of the agreement or not including required information in the written agreement)
  • supplied goods or services during the cooling-off period (if the agreement is worth over $500).

What to do after you cool off

  • If any goods were delivered or given to you in person, you must return them (or what remains of them) within a reasonable time or tell the supplier where to collect them.
  • If you have not taken reasonable care of the goods, the supplier can seek compensation for depreciated value.
  • You do not have to pay compensation for normal use of the goods or circumstances beyond your control.
  • If the supplier does not collect the goods within 30 days of termination, then you can keep them.

Energy and financial products and services

In some states and territories, additional protections apply to energy sales. Find out more at Energy Made Easy

Generally, it is illegal for sales agents to sell financial advice or products at your door without an earlier invitation. For more information visit MoneySmart

If you think an uninvited salesperson has breached the law

Make a consumer complaint


Door to door sales - a guide for consumers
Consumer's guide to door to door sales brochure
Door to door - do not knock sign

More information

Research report into the door to door sales industry in Australia ( PDF 1.17 MB | DOC 1.13 MB )
Do Not Call Register