New Code Coming For Door-To-Door Power Sales, But It's Still Best To Ignore Them

From January 2012, a new code of practice will cover those annoying people who come to your door and try and convince you to change your electricity supplier. While that should in theory curtail some of their more irritating habits, our advice remains simple whatever the rulebook says: ignore them.

The new code of conduct, to be administered by industry group Energy Assured, was approved this week by the ACCC, which had rejected an earlier version for not providing sufficient consumer protections. It has also only approved the code for three years, and says it will look closely at the code before offering a renewal of that approval after that time.

Under the code, salespeople must wear a clear identifying badge, clearly explain the terms and conditions of any offer, not misrepresent what's actually involved, and leave your property as soon as requested. It's a tad appalling that all this has to be spelled out, but there's little doubt that many current sales types ignore many of these requirements. There are also requirements for training sales staff and enhanced procedures for complaints.

The code of conduct builds on existing consumer laws, which forbid door-to-door salespeople from visiting outside the hours of 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays (public holidays and Sundays are blocked outright). I'm all in favour of better regulation in this area, but whatever the rules, I'd still argue that there's absolutely no point in signing up with a door-to-door salesperson and you should close the door promptly but politely if one shows up.

There's no doubt that many of us pay more than we need for utility services, in part because we don't want the hassle of changing. But if you do decide to switch, it's a decision that deserves careful and considered research, not signing up simply because someone is desperate to make their commission. Much better to spend some time online really finding out what your options are (and possibly then hitting up your existing provider to persuade them to give you a better deal).


Comments

    Better yet, go here http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/3068.htm and order a 'Do not knock' sticker. If you're displaying a message like that it's illegal for sales people to hassle you (reglious nuts, surveys, government employees and not-for-profits are excepted though I think).

    Since I put one of these up I've had almost no-one come knocking at the door (most just see the sticker and walk off).

    I also strongly urge that if you do order some of these stickers, do the right thing and also get some for your elderly family and neighbours, as they're the ones who tend to get screwed over by door to door salesmen.

      We have one of those. Little story, One day my wife heard someone calling from the front of the house. When she came out. It was a salesman. When she pointed to the sign, he said he didn't knock!

    to add to Sean's comment, OriginEnergy (QLD) are sending out 'do not knock' stickers with their current utility bills.. just received mine today. Interesting move by Origin (they themselves have door to door salespeople trying to get people to make the switch to Origin...)

    to do list:
    place sticker on front door: check.

      It's a clever move by Origin. You're already signed up with them, which is how you get the sticker. Now that the sticker is up, you wont be convinced by a competing door-knocking company to switch away from Origin!

    Utility companies are scumbags. They send these people door to door idiots to waste your time.

    I had this guy come up and I of course said I wasnt interested in changing plan or buying anything but he assured me he wasnt selling anything. 10 minutes of crap later they finally offer their plan. I was ready to punch his face in!

    I'm glad they've put this into place although I play it safe and generally don't answer the door at all. Why should I bother opening my door to strangers?

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