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Door-to-door selling: "tainted by ‘rogue agents’, but shouldn’t be banned"

28 Jul 2011 11:13 BST Back
Door-to-door selling: "tainted by ‘rogue agents’, but shouldn’t be banned"

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The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Field & Experiential Marketing Council has rejected calls from consumer groups and MPs for the practice of door-to-door selling to be outlawed or heavily regulated.

Consumer watchdog Consumer Focus and the House of Commons’ energy select committee want action to be taken following the exposure of energy companies using misleading sales techniques in door-to-door campaigns to persuade householders to switch energy suppliers.   

The DMA’s Council has stated that the wrongful actions of a few ‘rogue agents’ has severely tarnished the image of door-to-door selling, but that heavy-handed regulation or an outright ban are steps too far.

The DMA’s comments follow the results of its joint study with Toluna QuickSurveys into consumer experience of door-to-door energy supplier sales reps.

Of the 1,200 consumers aged 18-34 polled, 35 per cent said they had been door stepped by a sales rep from an energy company. Nearly half reported they thought what they were told by the sales person was ‘misleading’, and nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) said they found the sales person ‘untrustworthy’.

Commenting on behalf of the DMA, Alison Williams, member of the DMA Field Marketing & Experiential Council and chair of FDS Group, said:

“As the results of our study show, it’s the shoddy and illegal practices of a few that have caused so much harm to the rest of the industry. The energy companies employing these rogue agents for their door-to-door selling campaigns could have easily avoided exploiting consumers and breaking the law. As an industry, we have tried and tested standards of best practice that protect the consumer.

“It’s down to the industry to keep its house in order. All companies that are DMA members uphold the highest standards of best practice; it’s up to the rest of the industry to follow our lead or pay the ultimate price.”

Williams adds:

“Banning door-to-door selling will be extremely harmful to business, the consumer and the economy. Many householders are not online, so are excluded from finding out about new promotions and products through digital marketing. Plus, many good sales people will lose their jobs if this sales channel is outlawed.”

Tristan Garrick, DMA PR manager
Tel. 020 7291 3315

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