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Judgment handed down in Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v Donald (No.2)

15 November 2016

David James Donald is a door to door salesman. He sells carpet and furniture cleaning services to consumers in their own homes.

The conduct of door to door sales is regulated by the Australian Consumer Law. In entering into unsolicited consumer agreements, a dealer must comply with certain requirements. The dealer must inform the consumer that the dealer is obliged to leave the premises immediately on the request of the consumer. The dealer must provide information to the consumer of the dealer’s identity. The dealer must inform the consumer that the consumer has a 10 day cooling off period in which the consumer may terminate any agreement. The dealer must provide the full terms of the agreement in writing. The dealer is not permitted to receive any payment during the 10 day cooling off period.

Donald breached each of these requirements with respect to five consumers who were each elderly and vulnerable. Donald, uninvited, knocked on their doors and convinced the consumers to engage him there and then to clean their carpets. On completion he demanded cash. Some consumers were scared others felt they could not ask him to leave. In each case, Donald flagrantly failed to observe the laws designed to protect consumers.

Donald has form. He was previously found by this Court to have breached the same laws conducting the same business. Donald was well aware of the law governing his method of doing business.

The Director of Consumer affairs brings this proceeding seeking declarations that Donald has breached the Australian Consumer Law in his dealings with each of the five consumers.

The Court finds that Donald has breached the Australian Consumer Law and makes the declarations sought by the Director.

The Court will hear submissions on penalty in due course.

Read Justice Robson's full judgment on Austlii(External link)

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