Your security first: door to door sales
Your home should be your sanctuary. Unexpected door knockers can shake this sense of security. The imposed threat of having strangers ask to gain access to you in your home, distracts from even the best rehearsed, well-intended sales pitches. When your doorbell chimes without warning, make sure you understand your rights. While some legitimate businesses still use a door to door approach, it is a sales method attractive to fraudulent activity because it gives scammers physical access to you and your property.
In this article, we’ll help inform you of the obligations and responsibilities of door to door salespeople, and your rights as a consumer.
Home maintenance cons are a reality
At 84 years old, Doreen lost $7,400 in cash to travelling con men. She has never heard from them again or recovered her losses. Consumer Affairs Victoria has shared stories like Doreen’s in order to help others avoid similar cons – Consumer Affairs Victoria > Resources and Education > Consumer Scams > Real Stories.
While door knocking scams are less prevalent than telephone or online scams, they are more physically ominous. Having someone on your property poses a sense of a more immediate threat. Consumer Affairs Victoria’s ‘Travelling Con Men’ campaign was established because of the magnitude of reports of people, particularly seniors, being conned for cash.
Older people can often be targets for scams. This may be due to assumptions of accumulated wealth to plunder from, free of dependants getting in the way; that an older person may live alone; and that age related health issues can render an unsuspecting senior, a vulnerable target.
Door to door sales and your rights
Fortunately, Australian Consumer Laws’ requirements mean that businesses must operate in a way that protects consumers.
Did you know that door to door visits from salespeople after hours is not permitted under Victorian legislation? Just knowing this, will quickly sift out reputable sales representatives from unscrupulous scammers.
Door to door sales are a type of unsolicited consumer agreement covered by Australian Consumer Laws. Here are some of the obligations and requirements of door to door salespeople. If visiting your premises without your prior consent, they must:
- Comply with contact hours: an uninvited visit can only occur between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday; 9am to 5pm on Saturdays; and never on a Sunday or a Public Holiday.
- Show identification and give full contact details: the representative must tell you what they are selling. They must show identification and give you full contact details, both their own, and the supplier they are representing – including their name and physical business address; the supplier’s business name; the supplier’s ABN or ACN; and the phone number, email address and physical address of the supplier.
- Leave your property immediately, if you ask them to: they cannot contact you for at least 30 days in relation to the product or service they have approached you about, once you ask them to leave.
- Provide a written copy of any signed agreement, immediately: there is no negotiation on this. Don’t accept a “we’ll send you a copy in the mail”, they must provide you a copy as soon as you sign it.
- Tell you about the cooling off period: the words ‘Important Notice to the Consumer: you have a right to cancel this agreement within 10 business days…’ should be clearly stated on your copy of the agreement. The sales representative must tell you how you can go about ending the agreement.
- Not ask you to waive your rights: any request to you to waive your cooling off period rights should ring alarm bells.
If you suspect you’ve managed to escape the influences of a con person, or a scammer, lodge an online report with ACCC’s Scamwatch.
If you suspect you’ve just been scammed, visit Scamwatch > Where to Get Help.
And if you have been physically threatened, contact your local police station immediately.
Is your personal security a priority?
If you are over 55, and live alone, or with your partner in life, and have ever had a moment of not feeling secure in your neighbourhood, it may be time to start planning for a positive future.
Over decades, neighbourhoods morph into less familiar surrounds. Feeling secure where you live, is fundamental to your physical and mental wellbeing. Reduce unnecessary stressors as you age, you’ve earned the right!
Moving closer to family or friends can be a great way to bring that sense of security and home, back. Choosing to live in a community with people aligned to your values, could significantly enhance your wellbeing. Feeling comfortable in knowing your neighbours value similar priorities, makes for a safer community.
Case study: RCA retirement villages and security
A retirement village can offer a secure community to enjoy your later years in.
Because of the carefully considered locations and designs of RCA retirement villages, a distinct ‘community feel’ or culture has naturally evolved in each village. This happens quite organically as like-minded seniors choose a village to call home because it ‘felt just right’.
Security concerns such as door to door scams, are significantly reduced because you are no longer isolated in sharing the experience. You have neighbours that are invested in being responsible members of the community, and watch out for one another. There are a number of other security features in place including:
- a clearly displayed sign next to large security gates on entry that states ‘No Hawkers’! A great deterrent.
- an on-site village manager who knows the residents well, and is visible and accessible through business hours
- gated access that is accessible through the day, with gates closed for added security at night. The presence of gates tends to deter unscrupulous visitors.
- carefully planned and placed exterior lighting for security at night
- secure entry to the shared foyer of apartments includes an extra layer of security
- lock up garages with remote control entry, and an entrance through to your villa add to your security.
If security matters to you, a RCA retirement village is definitely worth a visit.
For more information on RCA retirement villages
Main St Village Pakenham, South East Melbourne
Our newest village location. Construction is underway now.
Freecall 1800 770 222
Visit us online at mainstvillage.com.au
Martha Cove Village Safety Beach, Mornington Peninsula
Freecall 1800 63 31 26
Visit us online at marthacovevillage.com.au
Beleura Village Mornington, Mornington Peninsula
Freecall 1800 44 56 66
Visit us online at beleuravillage.com.au
Cardinia Waters Village, Pakenham – South East Melbourne
Freecall 1800 11 29 55
Visit us online at cardiniawaters.com.au
Point Cook Village, Melbourne’s West
Freecall 1800 64 52 64
Visit us online at pointcookvillage.com.au
Useful information and advice about door to door sales
Consumer Affairs Victoria’s ‘Stop Travelling Con Men’
Consumer Affairs Victoria’s Door to Door Sales advice
Australian Government’s Scamwatch: Advice for the elderly
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