AGL fined on door-to-door sales

ACCC says Federal Court judgment shows businesses must obey consumer law.

Energy retailer AGL has been fined $35,000 after a salesman ignored a Do Not Knock sign.

Federal Court judge John Middleton punished AGL and its marketing company CPM for the conduct of a South Australian salesman.

"These penalties reflect the need to deter conduct of such seriousness by the relevant respondents and others in the door-to-door selling industry," he said in his judgment.

AGL South Australia was fined $35,000 while its marketing agent CPM, who contracted the salesman, was penalised $25,000 for trying to negotiate an energy supply agreement in November 2011.

He had remained on the premises despite the consumer having an image on the front door of a knocking fist with a line through it.

The maximum penalty is $50,000.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which initiated the legal proceedings, said the fines showed businesses needed to obey the law.

"These penalties are yet another clear warning that businesses must comply with the unsolicited consumer agreement provisions of the Australian consumer law, which are designed to protect consumers in their own homes," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.

The Federal Court in October found that AGL and CPM had breached Australian consumer law by ignoring the Do Not Knock sign.

As part of the same proceedings, Justice Middleton ordered AGL Sales and AGL SA to pay combined penalties of $1.555 million for other unlawful selling practices, including making false representations to consumers.

CPM was also ordered to pay $200,000 for its role in the conduct.

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