Do Not Knock

Join our campaign against dodgy door-to-door sellers.

Consumer NZ Do Not Knock.

Door-to-door sellers be warned: consumers are fed up with your sales tactics. Our survey shows 70% of Consumer NZ members dislike door-to-door salespeople and want them to stop calling. Over 60% 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 launched 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 with misleading claims about what it provides.

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.

Your rights

Do not knock sticker body img

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’re also 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.

In October 2018, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi announced the government will amend the law to make it an offence to ignore Do Not Knock stickers.

Campaign FAQs

Where should I put a “Do Not Knock” sticker?

Put the sticker on your letterbox, front gate or front door – anywhere it’s clearly visible.

What’s the legal status of a “Do Not Knock” sticker?

If a salesperson ignores a “Do Not Knock” sticker, they’re likely to be trespassing. You have the right to bring an action against them under common law.

We’d like to hear from you if salespeople are ignoring the sticker. Contact us at donotknock@consumer.org.nz.

Have “Do Not Knock” stickers been used successfully in other countries?

Yes. Consumer groups across the Tasman have used the stickers to campaign for better consumer protection there.

What if I’ve made an appointment with a salesperson to come to my house?

The sticker applies to uninvited salespeople. Be aware some door-to-door sellers use the ruse of phoning and offering a “free gift” if you agree to an in-home demonstration. They’re usually extremely coy about the product they’re selling and its price. Don’t feel shy about hanging up.

What about people like religious callers, market researchers, charities and politicians?

The sticker is only intended to prevent salespeople from knocking on your door. You also have the right to tell other door-knockers to leave if you don’t want them at your house.

Statistics NZ interviewers are an exception. Statistics NZ has the right to visit homes when it’s conducting official surveys. If selected for a survey, you’re required to participate. Interviewers will have an official identification badge.

If I’ve bought goods from a door-to-door seller, what are my rights?

If you buy goods or services and the value is more than $100, you have the right to cancel the deal for any reason. The seller must tell you this orally and in writing. You can cancel the deal within five working days of receiving the written agreement. Find out more about your rights.

What can I do about telemarketers?

The NZ Marketing Association operates 'do not mail' and 'do not call' registers, available free to consumers. If you don't want to receive cold calls from telemarketers, your home contact details can be added to the list.

The association's members use the list to find out who doesn't want to be called. But it's not foolproof - you'll still get calls from companies that aren't members of the association.

To use the registers:

  • Visit the Marketing Association website and add yourself to the do not call and do not mail lists.
  • Or write (with your full name, address and telephone number) to Do Not Mail and Do Not Call Registers, Marketing Association, P O Box 47681, Ponsonby, Auckland.

Learn more about how telemarketers find you.

FAQs about trespassing

My do not knock sticker is being ignored. What can I do?

If a salesperson ignores your sticker you can warn the person they’re trespassing and you’ll call the police if they don’t leave. If the person doesn’t leave after you’ve given them a reasonable opportunity to do so, call 111 and ask for the police. The person is committing an offence under the Trespass Act by remaining on your property.

What can I do to stop someone coming back again?

You can issue a trespass notice (408 KB). A trespass notice is a formal warning to stay off your property.

Who can give a trespass notice?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t own the home or the land, you just need to be a lawful occupier of the property (i.e. a tenant, licensee or owner) or someone authorised by the lawful occupier of the property.

How do I issue a trespass notice?

You can issue a trespass notice orally or in writing. We recommend a written trespass notice so you have proof you’ve issued the notice.

You can use this template (408 KB).

Complete three copies of the trespass notice – one for the trespasser, one for you and one for your local police station. Also, complete the “Details of service of trespass notice” page as a record of the notice having been served.

What do I do with the trespass notice once I’ve filled in three copies?

To issue a written trespass notice, simply hand it to the person. If the person won’t take the notice or if it drops to the ground, you have still served the notice.

How long does a trespass notice last?

If a person comes back within two years of receiving a trespass notice, they will be committing an offence under the Trespass Act. The penalty for an offence under the Trespass Act is a fine of up to $1000 or a prison term of up to three months.

Complaints

Over 2000 Consumer NZ members took part in our survey on door-to-door sellers. Around 23% of members told us a door-to-door seller turned up at their house at least once a month. Nearly 50% had a seller on their doorstep at least every few months.

Here’s what members told us about their experiences:

  • Door-to-door salesmen turned up right on dinner time. It was pitch black in the middle of winter and I happened to be home alone. They put heaps of pressure on to change power providers.

  • Said ‘no thank you’ five times and asked him to leave and he still kept going.

  • Just pushy and made promises that I knew were untrue and could not be fulfilled.

  • The vacuum cleaner guy did not want to leave until we agreed to buy the machine costing $3500.

  • A salesperson came into my home and eventually had to be threatened with the police to get him out.

  • Would not take ‘no thanks’ for an answer.

  • Salesperson was verbally abusive when asked to leave.

  • Wouldn’t go away and kept his foot in the door so we couldn’t get it closed.

  • Pushy and argumentative and refusing to accept no for an answer.

  • Power company salesman simply would not take no for an answer and was very reluctant to leave until I made it clear in very simple terms.

  • Became really unpleasant when we wouldn’t sign an agreement to buy a $4500 cleaner!

Consumer Advice Line

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Our wins in 2018 so far

Our wins in 2018 so far

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Our wins in 2018 so far

At Consumer NZ, it’s our job to ensure the consumer voice is not only heard but acted upon. We've been working hard in 2018, and we've already had 8 major wins this year that benefit all consumers.

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Member comments

Get access to comment

Lucy T.
15 Sep 2017
Can we have one for charities too please?

I understand the "Do Not Knock" sign is aimed at salespeople, and mine's working very well at that.
I'd really like to have one for charity door-knockers as well, and religious door-knockers, and basically anyone who I haven't expressly or implicitly (couriers) invited on to the property.
I don't think this is unreasonable: I do make charitable donations - to charities I've chosen after research, and by bank deposit, not signing up to door knockers - so I don't think I'm being a stingy grinch.
Any chance of this on the horizon? Or, if not, any suggestion for how I might word something to make myself?

Previous member
18 Sep 2017
Re: Can we have one for charities too please?

Hi Lucy,

Our campaign targets salespeople as they are the ones creating the real harm. But there's nothing to stop people from making their own signs for charities and religious door knockers as well though. You can use the printable version of the sticker here as a starting point: https://consumer-nz-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/1333/Do_Not_Knock_sticker.pdf

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Hayley P.
08 Apr 2016
Three in a week

We just moved back to New Zealand. And I've had THREE door to door salespeople. In a week! Now one admittedly was from charity, but I understand most of these style of door knockers are actually paid a commission by the charity. If rather all of a donation to go to the charity which is why I'll never sign up this way. Printing a sticker!!!

Lawrence W W.
29 Jan 2016
More stickers

We live in one of those sausage type apartments and so door to door knockers come to either door, and will now come to the front claiming they did not see the sticker on the back door. Is it possible to get another sticker. Also one seller claimed he could not read (A preacher for Destiny Church)

Previous member
01 Feb 2016
Re: More stickers

Hi Lawrence,

We’ll get a sticker posted to your PO box address today. The sticker is only intended to prevent salespeople from knocking on your door, but you also have the right to tell other door-knockers to leave if you don’t want them at your house.

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Janet M.
12 Aug 2015
Trust Power ignore Do Not Knock signs

Hi I thought it was working well until Trust Power ignored the sign in Cockle Bay Auckland last night 11 August. Rather frustrating!

Previous member
20 Aug 2015
re: Trust Power ignore Do Not Knock signs

Hi Janet,

We're sorry to hear your sticker was ignored. If you would like us to follow up with Trustpower please email us with more details at donotknock@consumer.org.nz.

Kind regards,
Aneleise - Consumer NZ staff.

kwkiwi
10 Aug 2015
has cut down sales people considerably

I put up two of the stickers (got them from Resene shop as my teenage son commandeered the one that came with the magazine and put it on his bedroom door which I think is to tell us to keep out…), one on the letter box and then another near the front door. Haven't had any door knocking since.

Was getting a lot of power companies and charities knocking at around 5-6pm. Haven't had any lately. Well done Consumer.

Mary Anderson
25 Oct 2015
Do not knock stickers ... has cut down sales people considerably

Same here.

Haven't had any sales people knocking and being a nuisance, since putting the sticker up on the front door. In the past they were becoming somewhat intrusive, with some not accepting NO as an answer.

Prior to the stickers becoming available, I had no option but to be blunt, to the point of being rude in some cases, which I didn't enjoy doing.

Seems the stickers are doing the intended job. Thanks Consumer.

Steve R.
09 Nov 2014
trojan horse salesmen

Consumer regularly sends unsolicited advertising for bulk wine at dirt cheap prices.

I personally dislike this cheap piggy back method of bypassing my no junk mail sticker on my letter box. Could consumer please explain why my right to no junk mail is bypassed.

It irks me considerably that consumer ignores my complaints on this matter. Please answer whether I have the right to prevent my family seeing alcohol advertising that enters by trojan horse. I pay for a magazine that enhances my rights. My rights are being totally ignored in this case.

I would be interested in the ethics of advertising the most harmful drug being discussed by Consumers heirachy. The next magazine that enters with alcohol advertising will necessitate my subscription being terminated. What choices do I have?

Previous member
10 Nov 2014
Re: trojan horse salesmen

Hello Steve,

Our magazine does not contain advertising and is flowrapped for delivery to members so we’re not sure how this could have happened. Unless you are referring to the wine taste testing that is carried out by experts a few times a year which we do publish?

Thanks,
Richard - Consumer NZ staff.

Jack M.
03 Nov 2014
Jack

An excellent idea. How about providing stickers specifically directed at Jehovah's witnesses?

Alison M.
03 Nov 2014
sponsorship seekers

Does this also apply to all the charities wanting us to sign up. I think about 50% of our door knocks are people wanting to sign us up for sponsorship?

Previous member
03 Nov 2014
Re: sponsorship seekers

Hello Alison, the sticker is only intended to prevent salespeople from knocking on your door but you also have the right to tell other door-knockers to leave if you don’t want them at your house. Thanks, Kate - Consumer staff

Y M.
03 Nov 2014
Printable sign

Hi there, what about providing a pdf of a printable A5 sign? I'm happy to put one on the window near my door - but as a tenant I'm reluctant to put stickers on the property.

Previous member
03 Nov 2014
Re: Printable sign

Hi there Y M. Thanks for your suggestion. We have just added a link to the FAQs at the bottom of the page so you can now print a pdf version of the sticker. Thank you, Kate - Consumer staff

Elizabeth H.
03 Nov 2014
Cold calls

We live in a rural area, so not so likely to have 'door-knockers' - what we do get though are the annoying phone calls where after I say 'Hello' a strange (probably electronic) voice starts trying to sell me household goods. It has also filled up the answerphone tape with its garbage. Is there a way to stop this ?

Previous member
03 Nov 2014
Re: Cold calls

Hello Elizabeth. The NZ Marketing Association operates 'do not mail' and 'do not call' registers, available free to consumers. If you don't want to receive cold calls from telemarketers, your home contact details can be added to the list. There is more information about this within the FAQs on this page. Thanks, Kate - Consumer NZ staff.

Rochelle H.
09 Jun 2015
Mess up the Callers

when you hear the voice start hit the # key multiple times and the machine will not call again :)