Door-to-door sellers be warned: consumers are fed up with your sales tactics. Our latest survey shows 70 percent of Consumer NZ members dislike door-to-door salespeople and want them to stop calling. Over 60 percent dubbed these traders “annoying” and “intrusive”.
We’ve launched a campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door dealers. As part of our campaign, we’re distributing free “Do Not Knock” stickers. The stickers can be put on your letterbox, front door – or anywhere prominent – to warn door-to-door sellers not to knock.
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.
Existing laws aren’t deterring these traders. So we’re giving consumers a way to tell door-to-door sellers they’re not welcome.
Enough is enough
We’re launching this campaign because of the serious complaints we continue to get about door-to-door traders selling grossly overpriced products – often to people who can least afford to pay for them.
We’ve dealt with cases involving outrageously expensive $3000 vacuum cleaners that clean no better than vacuums you can buy for $100.
We’ve fielded complaints about $11,000 education software sold to parents by sales staff who aren’t required to have teaching qualifications.
We’ve also heard from consumers enticed to buy overpriced beds and other household goods they couldn’t afford and go into debt to purchase.
The sales pitch used by the sellers can go on for hours. People have told us they’ve felt the only way to get rid of the salesperson is to buy the product.
We’ve also had complaints about pushy door-to-door sellers working for electricity companies as well as traders who knock on the door offering to prune trees or paint the roof. They take money for the job but the promised work either never gets done or is done so badly you have to pay someone else to fix it.
From what we’ve seen, the problem is getting worse.
We received hundreds of comments in our survey about pushy door-to-door sellers who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer (see “Complaints”). Several members told us they had to threaten to call the police to get the salesperson to leave.
The Commerce Commission has said it receives a disproportionate number of complaints about high pressure door-to-door sales. Like us, it gets complaints about the hard-sell tactics being used to flog overpriced goods to elderly or vulnerable consumers.
Everybody has an implied licence to enter your property and knock on your door. But you have the right to take away this licence. 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.
We’re calling on companies which use door-to-door selling to ensure their agents and employees don’t enter properties displaying a sticker. The Direct Selling Association of New Zealand, which represents around 40 companies, has already said it will tell its members not to enter premises with a sticker.
We’ll also be pushing for changes to the Fair Trading Act to make it an offence for sellers to ignore a “Do Not Knock” sign. Australia has strengthened its laws to require door-to-door sellers to leave a property immediately when requested. The courts there have confirmed consumers can use a “Do Not Knock” sign to make this request.
Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took an energy retailer and its marketing company to court for ignoring a “Do Not Knock” sticker. The companies had to pay fines totalling AU$60,000. We want similar penalties here to stop these traders.
Join our campaign
You can support our campaign against door-to-door sellers:
- Put a “Do Not Knock” sticker on your letterbox, front door or any place where it’s visible to people entering the property.
- Let us know about problems you have with door-to-door sellers – and sellers who ignore your “Do Not Knock” sticker. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tell your family and friends where they can get a “Do Not Knock” sticker.
- Support our call to get the law changed so companies which ignore a “Do Not Knock” sticker can be fined.
Get your sticker
Paying members can email email@example.com to request a sticker.
Non-members who want a sticker can send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to us at: Do Not Knock, Consumer NZ, Private Bag 6996, Marion Square, Wellington 6141. We’ll put a sticker in the post to you.
We’re also distributing stickers to Citizens Advice Bureaus and making them available through other organisations that want to support the campaign. Stickers are available from Resene Colorshops nationwide.
Or you can download this printable version of the sticker. (56.1 KB)