Rules telemarketers must follow

When you deal with telemarketers, your rights are different from when you visit a store or shop online. This is because you did not seek out (‘solicit’) the business to buy from them. We call these types of sales 'unsolicited consumer agreements'.

A telemarketing sale is unsolicited when:

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

Telemarketers must obey clear rules around:

  • contact hours
  • disclosure (what they need to say)
  • written agreements
  • cooling-off period.

You can make a complaint if they don’t follow these rules.

The following clip from our Australian Consumer Law film explains your rights if a telemarketer contacts you.

The rules

Contact hours

Telemarketers must not contact you:

  • 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 they need to say)

A telemarketer must:

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

Written agreements

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

Cooling-off period

You have 10 business days to change your mind on a contract. The cooling-off period starts on the next business day after you receive the written agreement. During this time you may cancel without penalty.

You may be able to cancel the contract without penalty up to 6 months after entering into the agreement if the business breaks the rules set out on this page.

Supplying goods or asking for payment

During the cooling-off period, businesses may not:

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

You do not own any goods unless you have paid for them. This is the case even if the business has already supplied them. If you choose to cancel the agreement within the cooling-off period, you must:

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

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

Energy suppliers

In some states and territories, additional protections apply to energy sales. Find out more on the Energy Made Easy website.