Energy Australia leads industry in ending door-to-door sales

Consumer Action welcomes first significant move by an energy company

Energy Australia’s announcement that it will end door-to-door marketing will be warmly welcomed by Australian households. Last year the Consumer Action Law Centre surveyed consumers regarding their views of door-to-door selling and the overwhelming message from households was that they don’t like it. On the back of the survey results, Consumer Action called for energy retailers to end door-to-door sales.

‘Our research found what we had long suspected, that Australian households don’t like salespeople visiting their homes and that those who do buy at their door often regret their decision. When the survey results came in and showed 77 per cent of households hold a negative opinion of door-to-door selling we decided to write directly to energy companies and ask for a voluntary end to the practice. Energy Australia deserves a lot of credit for being the only one to listen to the community sentiment and stop,’ said Catriona Lowe, co-CEO of Consumer Action.

‘The commission driven nature of door-to-door sales incentivises poor practices, including misleading and high pressure tactics which are bad for consumers and bad for competition, so it’s certainly a practice we’d like to see the back of. And given our research found a measly three per cent of consumers have a positive opinion of energy door-to-door sales, Energy Australia can expect a great deal of goodwill from consumers.’

Ms Lowe said retailers who continued to claim that door-to-door selling helps consumers by boosting competition are kidding themselves and the public. ‘In reality this type of sale denies a consumer the chance to shop around and look for the best deal because they’re only being shown one retailer’s offer. And the details they’re given can be limited so it certainly isn’t conducive to making an informed decision.’

‘Rather than relying on flimsy logic to justify their marketing methods, retailers should follow Energy Australia’s lead, listen to what customers want, and end door-to-door selling.

‘In Britain five of the six biggest energy retailers have stopped door-to-door sales and now Energy Australia has set a new benchmark in Australia, so the momentum is moving in the right direction. It’s now up to other retailers to decide whether they want to help Energy Australia re-establish customer confidence in the industry, or whether they want to drag their heels and continue to pester households around the country.

‘Households who want to stop all energy retailers from visiting their home should order a free Do Not Knock Sticker from Salespeople and retailers who ignore stickers open themselves up to significant fines,’ said Ms Lowe.