ACCC files proceedings against third energy retailer for ignoring Do Not Knock sticker

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against another energy retailer, EnergyAustralia Pty Ltd (formerly TRUenergy Pty Ltd), and four marketing and sales companies engaged by Energy Australia, in relation to their door-to-door selling practices.

It’s the third time the ACCC has instituted proceedings against an energy retailer in the past 12 months for similar conduct.  In announcing the action, the ACCC’s Chair Rod Simms highlighted the Commission’s “significant concerns regarding door-to-door selling practices in Australia”.

This recent regulatory action underscores the risks that arise for traders that engage in door-to-door selling.

Last month, Energy Australia announced that from the end of March, it will no longer engage in door-to-door selling. Consumer Action strongly welcomes this decision, and that AGL has followed suit.

Amongst other things, the ACCC reports that the proceedings allege a sales representative failed to immediately leave the premises at the request of an occupier, as required by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). As it argued in previous proceedings against Neighbourhood Energy and AGL, the ACCC contends that the occupier made this request by displaying a ‘Do Not Knock’ notice next to their front door.

Despite legal action, clear statements from the ACCC that door to door selling is a priority area for enforcement, and the ongoing publicity surrounding door-to-door selling, complaints by consumers to Consumer Action’s Do Not Knock website suggest that some businesses are still not respecting Do Not Knock stickers.

Earlier this week, we published details about the businesses who are generating complaints to us about businesses failing to respect Do Not Knock stickers and found that energy retailers accounted for 26.5 per cent of the total complaints received through our Do Not Knock website since the Federal Court’s landmark decision that a sticker amounts to a request to leave premises under the ACL. The biggest source of complaints stemmed from businesses spruiking energy efficiency products and services, who accounted for 28 per cent of complaints. Full details can be found here.

Businesses that continue to not respect Do Not Knock stickers are risking significant fines and court fines.  Householders can help identify these businesses by using the Make a Complaint form.

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