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Marketing by retailers

Marketing conduct

Retailers use a number of different marketing methods. They can contact you in person or by phone, by mail or electronic means. Gas retailers and their marketers (such as telemarketers or door-to-door salespeople) have to comply with the strict requirements of the National Gas Law and Rules and the Australian Consumer Law, including when and how they can contact you.

If marketers or salespeople do contact you, they must comply with all applicable Commonwealth and State laws, such as the Competition and Consumer Act, and must:

  • tell you why they are contacting you
  • make sure you understand what you are agreeing to
  • let you know you can change your mind—this is called a cooling off period, and
  • stop visiting you or calling you if you tell them to.

They must not:

  • be pushy
  • make promises that are not true, or
  • let you sign anything if they think you don’t understand.

If a salesperson knocks on your door, they must show you ID that says:

  • their name, and
  • who they work for.

If a salesperson telephones you, they must tell you:

  • their name, and
  • who they work for.

Salespeople are not allowed to contact you whenever they want.

Salespeople can only knock on your door between:

  • 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and
  • 9am and 5pm Saturday.

They can only phone you between:

  • 9am and 8pm Monday to Friday, and
  • 9am and 5pm Saturday.

They must not phone you or knock on your door on:

  • Sunday, and
  • public holidays.

The law says you can tell electricity retailers to stop contacting you.

  • Place a big Do Not Knock sticker at your front door or gate.
  • Tell an energy retailer or salesperson to put you on its ‘no contact’ list.
  • Get on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register. To do this:
  • go to www.donotcall.gov.au or
  • phone 1300 792 958.

 

Misleading statements

Some gas marketers may give you misleading information or pressure you in to signing a contract.

Keep in mind that some marketers may be working on commission.

They may do the following:

  • Say your gas will be disconnected.
  • Ask to see previous bills to confirm you are getting rebates.
  • Offer discounts for your area.
  • Tell you there will be no exit fee for leaving your current retailer.
  • Ask you to sign a document to show they have spoken with you.

Listen carefully, take time to read any documentation and consider any offers thoughtfully. Do not simply rely on claims about saving money.

 

Early termination fees

You may have to pay a fee if you end your contract early. These are capped at $20, but check what your contract specifies.

 

Have you agreed to a new contract?

Remember, you do not have to sign a piece of paper to sign up to an energy offer.

You can sign up:

  • over the telephone
  • online, or
  • face-to-face with a salesperson.

However, the retailer must give you written information about:

  • the price, and
  • terms and conditions.

If you agree to an energy offer, you can change your mind and pay nothing. You have 10 business days to tell the energy retailer. This is called a ‘cooling off’ period.

If a salesperson from the energy retailer has not done all the right things, the cooling off period could be longer—3 or 6 months.

 

Read the fine print and keep copies

A contract is legally binding. Read it carefully and do not feel pressured into agreeing to a contract that you have not read or do not understand.

Always keep copies of the information provided to you by the marketers as well as a copy of any contract that you sign. Remember to print off or save documents that are available on the retailer’s website, in case they are removed from the site in the future.