Door-to-door salespeople need stronger regulations, says Consumer NZ

The AM Show 30/08/2018

Consumer NZ is calling for stronger regulations on door-to-door salespeople in New Zealand.

Sue Chetwin, chief executive of Consumer New Zealand, believes there should be "much stronger" legislation to stop door-to-door salespeople, telling The AM Show on Thursday New Zealand's rules should be more like Australia's.

Door-to-door salespeople in Australia are required by law to explain to the consumer why they approached their property, and inform them that they have the right to change their mind. There are also restrictions on when they can make visits. 

"The gullible people are targeted - that's the fact - and they need some protection," Ms Chetwin said, in response to a woman, known only as "Betty", who was recently sold a $3290 vacuum cleaner by a door-to-door salesperson.

"There are a few of [these cases] about. The vacuum cleaner sales people pop up all over the place, generally selling extraordinarily expensive vacuum cleaners, over $3000, as Betty found," Ms Chetwin said.

The gullible people are targeted - that's the fact - and they need some protection.

"Betty" complained about the sale to the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman scheme, which were able to help her end the contract.

"I bet Betty found that the guy came into her house and spent several hours talking to her about the vacuum cleaner before she succumbed and paid that ridiculous amount," said Ms Chetwin, who advises people not to buy from door-to-door salespeople.

She said Kiwis should be aware that there is a five-day "cooling off" period where, after you've agreed to purchase something from a salesperson, you can cancel the deal and "make a proper decision".

Australia has similar cancellation rights, except consumers are granted a period of 10 business days to cancel the contract for any reason. The salesperson also cannot take payment during the cooling-off period for any goods or services and cannot supply any services.

Rather than banning door-to-door salespeople in New Zealand, Ms Chetwin believes there should be protections against salespeople entering people's property unless they have a "legitimate purpose".

She said Consumer NZ has distributed half a million "do not knock" stickers to New Zealanders, which indicates Kiwis aren't the biggest fans of door-to-door salespeople.

You can get your own sticker by visiting www.consumer.org.nz

Watch the full interview with Sue Chetwin above.

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