Door to Door

When uninvited traders sell goods or services at your home or work they are door to door selling - eg, when a salesperson calls at your home selling vacuum cleaners.

When a seller knocks on your door, remember:

  •  sometimes they will say they are doing a survey, giving demonstrations, or giving away free offers. Before you let them in, ask for identification - their name and who they work for

  •  you do not have to buy anything, even if you asked the seller to call. You do not have to let the seller in. You can tell them to leave at any time.

Sales under the Door to Door Sales Act

Seller approaches you
For a sale to come under the Act the seller must make the first approach to you. The seller will have made the approach to you if:

  • you did not ask the seller to call
  • the seller phones and makes a time to call
  • you win a prize in a competition and the seller tries to sell you something when the prize is delivered
  • you receive an advertising brochure in your mailbox and you phone for demonstration.

The goods are bought on 'credit'
The Act applies in the following situations:

  • goods bought on hire purchase costing more than $20
  • goods paid for by instalments costing more than $40
  • books costing more than $20 bought by instalment
  • services costing more than $40 which you pay for by instalments.

Credit sales
If you pay cash, you are not covered by the Door to Door Sales Act. Only credit sales are covered by the Act. A credit sale is one where the payment is made after the goods are received.

A hire purchase agreement, deferred payment scheme or paying by post-dated cheques over several months all meet the definition of a 'credit sale' for the purposes of this Act.

You are not covered by the Act if:

  • you see a public advertisement in the paper and you ring and ask the trader to call
  • you buy goods (not books) and pay the full price when (or before) you make the agreement
  • the seller is selling insurance.

Buying goods or services at your door
For credit sales only:

You should sign an agreement which must be in writing, and signed by you and the seller. The agreement must show the

  • name and address of the trader
  • cash price, and, if the sale includes credit, the finance rate
  • total cost of credit
  • amount of each payment, and
  • how many, how often, and where payments are to be made.

The 'finance rate' is higher than the interest rate. It shows the true cost of using credit because it adds the interest and other costs together and shows them as a percentage (%) of the amount financed - eg, $250 is 25% of $1,000.

'Total cost of credit' is the total cost of any extra charges -eg, interest and associated costs. The seller adds these costs of credit to the cash price of the goods and the cost of any incidental services such as insurance - eg, $250 is the total cost of credit.