What are the Laws in Australia for Unsolicited Sales Practises
Unfortunately in my industry there are operators who give the rest of us a bad name. If you are getting quotes for roller shutter prices, then this information may come in handy so that you are aware.
Personally as an owner operator I prefer a no pressure, good information and good value quote to win business. Please read on, for what to be careful about.
Under Australian Consumer Law Unsolicited sales practices (which often includes high pressure sales tactics) it is Illegal to not inform consumers so that they know of the mandatory 10 day cooling off period when buying products from Unsolicited Sales People.
Keep in mind that as the consumer you have the legal right to tell an Unsolicited Sales person to leave your premises immediately and if they do not comply this is actually illegal.
Austfront Case - A Case of High Pressure Sales Tactics
The Case that Natalie Brown discusses in her article is for a Solar panel and Roller Shutter company. Ausfront Pty Ltd were fined $7500 for "high pressure" sale tactics.
Austfront trades as Modern Solar and Modern Streamline Roller shutters. They pleaded guilty to nine charges of violating the Australian Consumer law.
One of the charges was from an aged pensioner that was encouraged to buy a solar system worth thousands of dollars but when the pensioner realised that they could not afford the solar panels Modern Solar refused to cancel the sale even though there was actually a 10 day cooling off period in which they could have terminated the contract that they was not informed about.
Another case was once again a pensioner that was cold-called by a salesperson and was pressured into buying $8000 solar panels. She also tried to cancel her contact but received the same treatment as the other pensioner. Targeting pensioners is already bad enough but not letting them back out of the contact when there is a mandatory cooling off period is illegal.
"The unsolicited consumer agreement, or door-to-door trading provisions, of the ACL are designed to protect consumers, particularly those who are being sold products in their home who may be subjected to high pressure-sales tactics and are not given the time to think clearly about their purchase, which in these cases involved considerable amounts of money," Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe
The final case that Miss Natalie Brown talks about is of a Gosnells couple that used the companies web site to request a free quote for rollershutters but was visited at their home by an uninvited sales person on a public holiday. This couple were also subjected to high pressure sales and signed a contract on the day for a $6000 contract.
This is made even worse as this was meant to just be a quote but they were pressured into a contract on the spot, this is actually considered "unsolicited consumer agreement" and is illegal.
Information on this case sourced from:
- Law hand book 2017 - good to read if you want to know more about your rights as a consumer
- WA today
- The West Australian (Natalie Brown)
Signs to look out for and to be aware of
"when it came to selecting a time for them to come and visit for a quote I was told that my husband would have to be available also"
- This is often a tactic used as they are hoping to pressuring you to sign a contract there and then.
"The first questions the salesperson asked was how much we paid for our apartment and when I answered without giving a figure she kept pushing until I gave one. She then started asking about our renovation budget. I feel we were being sounded out so they could guess how price elastic a customer we are."
- Asking how much money you have before giving you a quote is never a good sign.
"We had a number of the product installed and were happy with it. However, the company that sold and installed them keep harassing us regularly with phone calls, trying to sell us more."
- A follow up call to make sure everything is going well and nothing is broken is all well and good but trying to sell more products even after asking to be removed from the calling list is very pushy and can be a tactic used by some companies.
"If I wished to do my homework and review their quality, get competitors quotes and check the value of the product before I make a decision. I would be penalised with a 100% increase in the quoted price"
- When buying something such as Roller shutters which is fair amount of money, consumers want to be able to research and to get more than one quote, often High Pressure Salespeople will state they are the best price around you don't need to bother getting another quote and if this doesn't work they will turn to penalising you for not signing a contract on the spot.
Don't fall for it.
"we were given a quote for the product that was staggering and when we questioned it they said they could take 50% off the price. Even then it was still a staggering price. This is when things got super fishy as the sales person called their manager saying things like "we can do a lower price for you IF you put a sign out the front of your house" and "We can do a special price just for you but only if you sigh the contract today"
- If a salesperson is leaving to talk to a manager on the phone to get you a super special just for you ... RUN (Or kick the sales person out politely). This is a common high pressure sales tactic used and often the product is more expensive than competitors.
"We were told that there was no way they could even give us a ball park figure without coming to the house, I gave them measurements and everything, all I was after was a rough price. I didn't care about an accurate price at that point, so I booked a time and then they didn't even measure the windows and gave me a price that seemed way too high"
- If the company is saying they can not give you any kind of ball park quote over the phone based on general measurements, or even worse don't even measure on their on-site Measure and Quote visit, this is a huge sign that they could be using High Pressure Sales tactics on an overpriced product. We agree a final quote requires a measure and on-site visit. For example fitting roller shutters on a 2nd story is more dangerous and difficult requiring scaffolding and could be a fair reason for a price difference.
Not only are high pressure tactics sometimes illegal, but they don't work in the modern world. Dieter, the owner of Classic Shutters has seen these tactics been used first hand and has repaired many shutters that have been put in poorly by High Pressure Sales companies.
Classic shutters have no problem leaving the quote with you and letting you take your time and to gather other quotes. In a few cases it has been months before a client has called back to say they want to go ahead. We prefer to know that you are ready to commit rather than pressure anyone and have you regret the purchase.