On 27 March the ACCC instituted proceedings against AGL Sales Pty Ltd, AGL South Australia Pty Ltd, and marketing company CPM Australia Pty Ltd, in relation to their door-to-door selling practices. The ACCC has also instituted separate proceedings against Neighbourhood Energy Pty Ltd (which is part of the Alinta group) and its former marketing company Australian Green Credits Pty Ltd.
The ACCC alleges that each of the respondents engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, and that AGL Sales and CPM Australia made a range of false representations to consumers in the course of door-to-door selling. The proceedings also allege contraventions of Division 2 of the ACL (protecting the rights of consumers in door-to-door transactions). The ACCC alleges that the respondents (except AGL Sales) breached the ACL by failing to immediately leave the premises at the request of an occupier. The ACCC contends that consumers requested the salespeople to leave by placing a 'do not knock' sign on their door.
It is further alleged that by the conduct of their salespeople, each of the respondents breached the ACL because their salespeople did not clearly advise the consumer, at all or before starting to negotiate:
- that the dealer's purpose was to seek the person's agreement for the supply of services;
- that the dealer would be obliged to leave immediately upon request; and
- the name of the marketing company and the name and address of the supplier of the services being offered.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, and costs. Both matters have been filed in the Federal Court's Fast Track List.