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Door-to-door and home maintenance scams

What are door-to-door & home maintenance scams?

Traders often use door-to-door selling as way of promoting their goods or services directly to consumers. Many legitimate business sell things through door-to-door marketing, however some scammers also use this approach.

Door-to-door scams involve promoting goods or services that are not delivered or are of a very poor quality.

The scammers will try to sell you home maintenance services, like roofing or gardening services, and then bill you for additional work that you did not agree to.

Sometimes scammers pretend to conduct a survey so they can get your personal details or to disguise their sales pitch until they have been talking to you for a while.

Door-to-door scammers will not give you value for your money. Their money-back guarantees will turn out to be useless. You stand to lose your money.

Your rights when someone comes to your door

When you agree to purchase something from a door-to-door salesperson, you have certain protections under the law.

It is unlawful for door-to-door salespersons to approach you:

  • on Sunday or a public holiday 
  • before 9am or after 6pm on a weekday 
  • before 9am or after 5pm on a Saturday.

When a salesperson approaches you, they must:

  • explain upfront the purpose of the visit and produce identification 
  • inform you that you can ask them to leave 
  • leave the premises if you ask them to do so 
  • explain your cooling-off rights to terminate the agreement within 10 business days, and 
  • provide their contact details in the agreement.

You have a 10 business day cooling off period to reconsider the sale. This means that during the cooling off period you can change your mind and cancel the agreement without penalty.

The trader cannot commence work, supply goods or request any payment during the cooling off period.

For more details about door-to-door selling and other forms of direct marketing, see the ACCC website or contact the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.

Warning signs

  • The person might arrive late at night or visit you again after you have said no. 
  • The person does not show you any personal identification or give you any written quotes, contract information or receipts. 
  • The person might demand that you decide to accept their offer on the spot. 
  • You may be asked for either a deposit or full payment and you can only pay in cash or by credit card. 
  • The person will fail to tell you about your legal rights, including rights to a cooling-off period.

Protect yourself from door-to-door & home maintenance scams

  • If someone comes to your door, ask to see their identification. You do not have to let them in, and they must leave if you ask them to.
  • Check that the trader is registered on the Australian Government’s business.gov.au website
  • Do not agree to offers or deals straight away: tell the person that you are not interested or that you want to get some advice before making a decision. 
  • If you are interested in what a door-to-door salesperson has to offer, take the time to find out about their business and their offer. 
  • Carry out a web search on the business to see if there are other consumers who have commented on the quality of their work – many scams can be identified this way. 
  • ALWAYS get independent advice if an offer involves significant money, time or commitment. 
  • Read all the terms and conditions of any offer very carefully: claims of free or very cheap offers often have hidden costs. 
  • Always check that goods or services were both ordered and delivered before paying an invoice. 
  • Contact your local office of fair trading if you are unsure about an offer or trader.

As well as following these specific tips, find out how to protect yourself from scams in general.

Report scams

If you think you’ve spotted a scam, report a scam to SCAMwatch or contact the ACCC on 1300 795 995. You should also spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

You can also report door-to-door scams to your local consumer protection agency.

More information

SCAMwatch has issued the following radars on door-to-door scams in the past:

What to do if you've been scammed; Scams & the law; Report a scam.

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