Dealing with door-to-door sales: part 1

Dealing with door-to-door sales: part 1

Part 1 of this video tells the story of Marcello's encounter with a door-to-door salesperson. In Dealing with door-to-door sales: part 2, a Victoria Legal Aid lawyer talks about what Marcello might have done differently.

The video supports a wider Do Not Knock campaign started by the Consumer Action Law Centre, then developed further by the Footscray Community Legal Centre and other legal centres. The campaign aims to stop people from entering into contracts​ that are not in their financial interests. It empowers people to report breaches of the rules that govern door-to-door sales.

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[James, a young door-to-door salesman wearing a blue shirt and a loud tie, pauses in the driveway of a neat suburban house. He looks towards the front door. A man, Marcello, sits inside in the living room on a brown leather couch. He is reading the paper and looking content. The scene cuts to the salesman knocking loudly on the front door as Marcello looks through the curtains at his silhouette. The salesman knocks again and then peers through the thin curtains to see Marcello sitting on the couch reading a newspaper. Marcello turns around to address the camera.]

Marcello [to camera]: I don’t understand it. How they just waiting there.

[James knocks again. Marcello exhales and begrudgingly stands up to speak to James through the closed door.]

Marcello: Sorry. No speaking English.

James: Oh hello, you’re home. It’s James here from Inter-Tele-World...

Marcello: No speaking English. Sorry.

James: What language do you speak, sir? Italian?

Marcello: Espanola.

James: Buenos dias. Mi amo James.

Marcello: No speaking Espanola. Ah...Greek. Greek only.

James: Kalimera. To onoma moo eene James.

Marcello: No speaking Greek. Chinese. Speak only Chinese.

James: Ni Hao. Wo Jiao James.

Marcello: Okay, okay. Italian only.

James: Buon giorno. Mi chiamo James.

Marcello [to camera]: These days they hire the people to come to your house and speak in 20 different languages. But why do they want my money so much? I only have a little.

[Marcello opens the front door and the salesman is standing there smiling.]

James: Ah good morning sir. Buon giorno.

Marcello: Listen Mr…

James: Mr James Turner. Pleased to meet you.

Marcello: Mr Turner, I’m an old man. I do not want to switch gas. I’m happy with Sunshine Energy and Gas. Well, not so happy, really. Every year they raise their prices. Please, leave me be. Go and speak to next house.

James: Mr…?

Marcello: D’amico.

James: Mr D’amico, you’re in luck. I’m happy that you’re happy with your energy supplier. I don’t know the first thing about gas. You know much more than me.

Marcello: Maybe I should get a job knocking on doors for Sunshine Energy and Gas.

James: If you’ve got some time to spare though, I’d like to talk to you about your phone bill.

Marcello: I’m happy with my phone bill. It comes in the mail. I open it. I pay it. Well, I just don’t pay it. I think to myself ‘Marcello, why do you call your family back home in Italy so much? It’s costing you money you don’t have.’

Marcello [to camera]:Uh-oh. Shouldn’t have told him that. Forgive me, I’m an old man. Sometimes I like to talk.

James: I understand, Marcello. I’m originally from New Zealand. And although I’ve been here a long time, it’s still important for me to ring home. To speak to my family.

Marcello: Yes, yes. Family very important. Wives. Children.

James: Of course you’re right. And with Inter-Tele-Worldwide, we’ve got some good deals on international calls so that you can make sure family stays important. For you Marcello, you can call back home to Italy. And I can home to Wellington. And all for much cheaper than you’d expect. Even I was surprised at how low my phone bill was. When I saw it I said to myself ‘Now James, you’ve got no excuse not to call home every day’. Do you mind if I come in and tell you about how Inter-Tele-Worldwide is going to help save you money?

Marcello [to camera]: Am I going to regret this? But I do need to call home, speak to my family. Maybe if I sign up, I can call Italy more often. I’ll just listen to him for five minutes and then I’ll tell him to go.

Marcello [to James]: Okay, come in. Come in.

[The two men walk into the family room where Marcello takes a seat at a table while James remains standing.]

James: Marcello, who’s your current telecommunications provider? Optimum Telco? Australian Telco?

Marcello: Optimum Telco.

James: Well of course you know that Optimum Telco has to pay a licensing fee to Australian Telco to basically rent their fibre optic land communication cables and they pass that cost right onto the consumer. That means the consumer pays the retailer to borrow from the supplier. Now I’m not saying you should switch your retailer to the supplier because Australian Telco basically owns the telecommunications market. Which means they have the market power to set the costs for the other market players. And they determine the market price in a market they dominate and essentially price-regulate the market. You understand me?

Marcello [to camera]: I have no idea what he’s talking about.

[James takes a seat at the table next to Marcello.]

James: You like saving money don’t you, Marcello?

Marcello: Yes. Everyone does.

James: Good. Because our focus is the customer. You. We want you to save you money.

Marcello: But what’s all this –

James: It makes sense if you read this first. And then you just give me your signature here.

Marcello: Ah where?

James: Here.

Marcello: But what am I signing up for?

James: Saving money, Marcello. Ringing Italy.

Marcello: Wait, wait.

James: If you don’t sign now, you won’t be saving anything.

Marcello: I really need to think about this.

James: Of course, of course. You just sign here, have a think. And if you want to, give us a call.

Marcello: But what’s in it for me?

James: Read the information pack, Marcello. It’s all in there.

[James hurriedly gets up and walks out of the house.]

Marcello: But it’s all in fine print.

[Marcello quickly stands up, walks to the front doorstep and stands looking across the street.]

Marcello [to camera]: What did I tell you? He is good. And me? Am I saving money? Am I sucker?

Text: Where can I get more help?

Legal advice

Organisations in your state or territory that can give you free advice:

Text [new screen]: Script

Community Legal Education team

Victoria Legal Aid

Director, Cameraman, Editor

Stefan Markworth


Jenny Lawton


Marcello D'amico [played by] Marcello D'amico

James Turner [played by] Mark Tregonning

© 2014 Victoria Legal Aid