Door-to-door and home maintenance scams

Door-to-door and home maintenance scams

Sadly, older Australians may be more susceptible to door-to-door and home maintenance scams which generally involve promoting goods and services that are of poor quality, or not delivered at all.

Scammers may try and sell home maintenance services such as gardening or roofing repairs either door-to-door, via phone or email, and then bill you for additional work that you did not agree to. Sometimes scammers pretend to conduct a survey so they can get your personal details, or to disguise their sales pitch until they have been talking to you for a while. Our guide can help you to identify a scam and protect yourself against them.

Warning signs of door-to-door scams

  1. People selling services visit late at night or visit you again after you have said 'no'

  2. The representatives don't show you any identification or give you any contact information, written quotes or receipts.

  3. These people might be aggressive or demand that you accept their offer on the spot.

  4. You may be pushed to pay a deposit or make a full payment which you can only pay by cash or credit card.

  5. The company representative may fail to tell you about your legal rights, including rights to a cooling-off period.

You have rights and protections when it comes to door-to-door salespeople.

For more information visit The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 

How to protect yourself

  • Don't feel pressured into making a decision by door-to-door salespeople, callers or email communication. Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency through short deadlines, special deals, fake emergencies or threats of legal action.

  • Be suspicious of any request for money – even if they sound or look official. Government departments will never contact you in this way or ask for money upfront to claim a rebate.

  • Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

  • Verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organisation directly – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or an online search. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.

  • Don’t respond to phone calls or emails offering financial advice or opportunities – just hang up or delete the email.

  • Be aware of and understand your consumer rights set out by Australian Consumer Law.

Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and provides further information to consumers about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.

More information and resources