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How to get out of a door to door sale

I just need to know about:

Buying goods from a door-to-door trader can be an easy way to shop. The problem is you can feel pressured into buying things you don’t need or can’t afford.

Door-to-door traders sell all kinds of things. Usually they fall into two categories:

  • Goods (any physical product or item that you can buy, like a TV, mobile phone, first aid kit, vacuum cleaner or your electricity supply).
  • Services (any job or task that you would pay a professional to do, like tree trimming, painting or a photography package).

You have the last say on whether you buy things from a door-to-door trader. Be firm and don’t let them talk you into it.

If you don’t want something, just say no.

Some door-to-door traders can be dodgy, and might try to trick you into buying something. Be careful and don’t fall for it.

Dodgy traders might:

  • make you feel like you need the product
  • say they could lose their job if you don’t buy it
  • say the product has amazing benefits without any proof
  • pressure you into making a decision on the spot with a ‘now only’ offer.

How to protect yourself

Some steps to take:

  • Ask for ID.
  • Ask them to explain the full costs, including delivery charges.
  • Shop around. It might be cheaper to buy it from somewhere else.
  • Make sure you get a written contract for anything over $100. This should set out the total price.
  • Never sign a contract unless you’re sure you want the product.
  • Don’t sign until you know all the details of what you need to do.
  • Be careful of competitions (read the fine print before entering).
  • Ask the salesperson to leave if you are not interested.

The cooling-off period

You always get a ‘cooling-off period’ when you spend more than $100 on a door-to-door sale. This means you can have 10 work days to change your mind for any reason at all. If you do, you don’t have to buy the product.

Some facts about the cooling-off period:

  • If they’re selling an item under $500, they can give it to you right away.
  • If they’re selling an item over $500, they can’t give it to you for 10 days.
  • They mustn’t do any services until the end of the 10 days.
  • Don’t pay a cent until after 10 days, even if they give you the product.
  • If you don’t want the product, just write to the trader within 10 work days and say you’re cancelling.

Permitted hours

Door-to-door traders can only visit you between:

  • 9am – 6pm (Monday to Friday)
  • 9am – 5pm (Saturday)

They must never visit you on a Sunday or a public holiday. If you tell them to go, they must leave right away.

‘No door-to-door traders’ stickers

If you want (and live in Queensland), you can have a free ‘No door-to-door traders’ sticker. You can:

  • order one online
  • call us and ask for one to be posted to you.

Don’t take the risk!

Say no to dodgy traders

A man visited Aunty Evelyn to sell an expensive vacuum cleaner. She didn’t need the cleaner and really couldn’t afford it. The man was very pushy and Aunty Evelyn felt pressured to buy it. She paid him, signed the $3000 contract, and he left the vacuum with her.

The next day, Aunty Evelyn changed her mind about the vacuum cleaner. She rang us and found out she could cancel her contract. Aunty Evelyn wrote to the trader within 10 days to cancel the contract.

This article originally appeared on the Queensland Office of Fair Trading website and has been republished under the Creative Commons 4.0 licence. 

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