Rules for telemarketing

You can sell your products or services directly to your customers by calling them on the phone. If you do, they have extra rights because you made contact (‘solicited’) with them, rather than when a customer comes to your shop or visits your website.

We call telemarketing sales and door-to-door sales 'unsolicited consumer agreements'.

A telemarketing sale is unsolicited when:

  • you or your agent phone a consumer without their invitation
  • the sale or agreement involves a cost of more than $100, or has an unknown price.

In a dispute, it is up to you to prove that the consumer solicited an agreement.

Telemarketers must obey clear rules around:

  • contact hours
  • disclosure (what you need to say)
  • written agreements
  • cooling-off period
  • supplying goods or asking for payment.

The rules

Contact hours

You or your salespeople must not contact consumers:

  • on a Sunday or public holiday
  • before 9 am or after 8 pm on a weekday
  • before 9 am or after 5 pm on a Saturday.

These hours apply to all telemarketing sales, even if the agreement is worth less than $100.

Disclosure (what you need to say)

You or your salesperson must:

  • identify your business
  • explain upfront the purpose of your call
  • explain the customers cooling-off rights.

Written agreements

If you enter into an agreement, you or your salesperson must send the consumer a written copy of the agreement. This must:

  • arrive within 5 business days
  • be signed
  • state that the salesperson is acting on behalf of your business
  • outline the total cost, including GST
  • include the customer’s cooling off rights and an unsolicited consumer agreement cancellation notice form for cancelling the agreement
  • include your contact details.

Cooling-off period

The customer has 10 business days to change their mind on a contract. The cooling-off period starts when the customer receives the written agreement. During this time they can cancel without penalty.

If you break the rules set out on this page, the customer may be able to cancel the contract without penalty up to 6 months after entering into the agreement.

Supplying goods or asking for payment

During the cooling-off period, you must not:

  • supply goods, except for those valued under $500
  • supply any services at all, regardless of value
  • take any payment or deposit, even if you have supplied the goods.

If you supply the goods during the cooling-off period, the customer does not own the goods. If the customer cancels the agreement during the cooling-off period, they must:

  • keep the goods in good condition
  • make them reasonably available for the business to collect.

The goods become unsolicited goods. This means you must collect them from the consumer within 30 days. Otherwise the consumer can keep them free of charge.

Energy suppliers

Energy suppliers must follow a strict code of conduct for the electricity industry.

Information about the code is available through the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Queensland (EWOQ).