Consumer NZ has launched a nationwide campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.

Chief executive Sue Chetwin said Consumer was launching the campaign because of the serious complaints it continues to get about door-to-door sellers.

“We get regular complaints about the hard-sell and exploitative sales tactics these traders use. Many cases involve elderly or vulnerable consumers, pressured to sign up for products they don’t want and can’t afford,” Ms Chetwin said.

“We’ve dealt with cases involving elderly people sold $3000 vacuum cleaners that clean no better than vacuums you can buy for $100. We’ve also dealt with complaints from consumers pressured to buy grossly overpriced beds and other household goods they couldn’t afford and had to go into debt to purchase,” she said.

As part of its campaign, Consumer is distributing free “Do Not Knock” stickers. The stickers will give people a way to tell door-to-door sellers they’re not welcome.

“We’re encouraging people who don’t want door-to-door sellers to knock to put a sticker on their letterbox, front gate or front door,” Ms Chetwin said.

A recent Consumer NZ survey found 70 percent of its members disliked door-to-door salespeople and wanted them to stop calling. Over 60 percent dubbed these traders “annoying” and “intrusive”.

Survey respondents also complained of pushy door-to-door sellers who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Several members said they had to threaten to call the police to get the salesperson to leave.

Ms Chetwin said everybody had an implied licence to enter your property and knock on your door. But you can revoke a salesperson’s licence to enter your property by displaying a “Do Not Knock” sticker. If a door-to-door seller ignores the sticker, they’re likely to be trespassing, she said.

Consumer is also calling for changes to the Fair Trading Act to make it an offence for sellers to ignore a “Do Not Knock” sign. Australia has already strengthened its laws. Door-to-door sellers there can be fined if they ignore a “Do Not Knock” sticker. Ms Chetwin said Consumer wants to see a similar law change here.

How to get a “Do Not Knock” sticker

  • Gold and silver members can request a sticker.
  • Pick up the November issue of Consumer magazine available from 10 November: a “Do Not Knock” sticker is included free with the magazine.
  • Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Do Not Knock, Consumer NZ, Private Bag 6996, Wellington 6141.
  • Visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau: Consumer is distributing “Do Not Knock” stickers through Citizens Advice Bureau and other organisations that want to support the campaign.
  • Stickers are available from Resene Colorshops nationwide.

More details of the campaign can be found at consumer.org.nz/donotknock.