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Selling smoke alarms

Smoke alarms law

On 1 January 2017, a new law about smoke alarms started in Queensland.

Requirements for smoke alarms in residential dwellings will change progressively over the next 10 years.

All new and substantially renovated homes that are subject to a building application submitted on or after 1 January 2017, must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms (compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2014) installed.

The smoke alarms must be:

  • in every bedroom
  • in hallways that connect bedrooms
  • on each level of the home.

From 1 January 2022, these requirements will apply to all houses leased and sold, and from 1 January 2027, they will apply to all homes.

In the meantime, if a homeowner replaces a legally required smoke alarm in an existing dwelling, it must be replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm that complies with Australian Standard 3786:2014. If that smoke alarm is powered by 240 volts, it must be replaced with a 240-volt smoke alarm. If the smoke alarm is not powered by 240 volts, it may be replaced with tamper-proof, 10-year battery smoke alarm.

Learn more about smoke alarms.

Avoid false and misleading representations

If you are selling smoke alarms, or your business provides other services to do with fire safety in the home, you need to be aware of your responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Similarly, if you are a real estate agent or body corporate manager, you need to be careful the information you are passing on to your clients is accurate.

It is illegal for a business or trader to tell a consumer or homeowner something that is false or misleading. This includes:

  • in all advertising, for example on your website or on a leaflet dropped in mailboxes
  • in emails, letters or text messages to customers or prospective customers
  • on shelf or other in-store labelling or signage
  • on product packaging
  • in conversations.

Following are some examples of false and misleading representations that should be avoided.

  • Telling homeowners they need to immediately pay to upgrade their smoke alarms. Only new or substantially renovated homes, where the building application was submitted on or after 1 January 2017, need to be compliant. Other dwellings have longer to become compliant (as above).
  • Indicating to tenants that they are responsible for making the dwelling compliant. It is the responsibility of the owner of the dwelling.
  • Saying a licensed electrician must perform the installation. There are compliant smoke alarms available, such as wireless alarms, which will not require electrical work to be carried out during installation. A licensed electrician will need to be engaged if the installation involves electrical work.
  • Saying a smoke alarm is compliant with the law when it isn’t.
  • Saying a smoke alarm isn’t compliant with the law when it is (e.g. in an attempt to sell the customer a more expensive product).
  • Telling homeowners they are no longer allowed to test their own smoke alarms, and need a qualified technician or electrician to do it for them. Homeowners may test their own smoke alarms.

Door-to-door and telephone sales

There are extra rules you need to follow if you sell products or services by approaching consumers without invitation, either door-to-door or over the phone.

You must:

  • not approach a residence displaying a ‘do not knock’ notice or phone a number on the Do Not Call Register
  • obey restricted hours of contact
  • disclose certain things upfront, including the purpose of your visit or call
  • provide a written agreement
  • provide a 10 business day cooling-off period
  • not take any payment during the cooling-off period
  • not supply any goods over the value of $500 during the cooling-off period
  • not supply any services at all during the cooling-off period.

For more information, read the full set of requirements for door-to-door trading and telemarketing.

Make a complaint

If you believe a business is making misleading statements about smoke alarms, or breaching door-to-door trading rules, you can report it to us.

Smoke alarms law

Visit Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ website for more information on smoke alarms.

Last updated
1 June 2017
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