Door-to-door selling and telemarketing

Door-to-door and telemarketing sales are two ways you can be sold a product or service. 

These types of sales are called unsolicited sales. They are covered by the Australian Consumer Law.  

As you do not initiate contact with the business as you normally would by entering a shop or buying online, you have extra protections when making purchases this way.

A sale is unsolicited when any of the following applies:

  • you are approached uninvited to buy goods or services - this can be over the phone, in your home and in other public places outside of the supplier’s premises
  • the value of goods and services are more than $500, or the price is not agreed
  • services are carried out, or goods are supplied to you, without you agreeing to buy or receive them.

Rules traders must follow

There are certain rules traders must follow when approaching you for business. 

You cannot be contacted during the following times:

  • on a Sunday or public holiday
  • before 9am or after 6pm (8pm for telemarketing) on a weekday
  • before 9am or after 5pm on a Saturday.

These hours apply to all door-to-door and telemarketing sales, regardless of the sale value.

A door-to-door salesperson must:

  • clearly tell you the purpose of the visit
  • produce ID
  • tell you that you can ask them to leave at anytime
  • leave the premises if you ask them to
  • explain your cooling-off rights if the goods or service cost over $500.

If you agree to buy

The telemarketer or salesperson must make sure you both sign the sales contract and give you a copy immediately if in person, or within five business days if over the phone.

The contract must be printed in plain, legible and clear language and state all of the following:

  • your cooling-off rights
  • the full terms of agreement
  • the total price or how this will be calculated
  • postal or delivery charges, if any
  • the supplier’s name and contact details, not just a PO Box number
  • the supplier’s Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN).

It should also contain a notice you can use to cancel an agreement.

Cooling-off period

If you agree to an unsolicited agreement, you have 10 business days to change your mind and cancel the contract without penalty.

For phone sales, you must receive the written agreement within five business days. The cooling-off period begins on the first business day after you receive the agreement.

During the cooling-off period a business must not supply any goods or services, or accept any payment.

Cancelling an agreement

If you wish to exercise your right to cancel an unsolicited consumer agreement, print and complete the Australian Consumer Law cancellation notice (110.5 kb) and send to the trader. 

Don't forget to keep a copy in a safe place.

You may also cancel an agreement up to three months after it was made if the supplier failed to:

  • visit within permitted selling hours
  • tell you why they were visiting you
  • produce identification
  • leave the premises if you asked them to.

The cancellation period is extended to six months if the supplier failed to:

  • provide information about cooling-off rights
  • failed to give you a written copy of agreement or didn’t provide enough information
  • supplied goods that cost more than $500 during the cooling-off period
  • or accepted or requested payment during the cooling-off period.

Unsolicited supplies

Unsolicited supplies are goods or services supplied to you when you have not agreed to purchase or receive them.

You do not have to pay for goods or services if you have not ordered them.

Find out more about receiving unsolicited supplies.

Reduce unwanted calls

You can reduce the amount of unwanted telemarketing calls and marketing faxes by getting on the Do Not Call Register.

Telemarketers and fax marketers are required by law to stop contacting you once you're on the register. 

If you have an existing relationship with a business, it can still contact you after you have registered, but you can advise them you do not wish to receive telemarketing calls or marketing faxes from them in the future.

Be aware that putting your number on the Do Not Call Register will not stop scam calls to that phone number. 

If you suspect an unsolicited phone call is a scam, you should hang up. Read more about scams.

Joining the Do Not Call Register is free and valid for the life of that number. It is managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

How to join

Register your phone number on the Do Not Call Register website.

For more advice contact NT Consumer Affairs.

Last updated: 28 November 2017