Breaking News: Alinta Door Knocker Breaks Law

alinta energy door knockers

Shock Horror! Australian Electricity Retailer Does Dodgy Stuff!

On Friday I was sitting at home staring at a computer screen, as is my habit on beautiful spring days, when there was a knock on my door.  I wasn’t expecting anyone so I called out “Cho-to ma-te!”1 so I could pretend not to speak English if it turned out to be the police.  When I opened the door I saw it was a salesperson from the energy retailer Alinta.

I was surprised because I don’t usually get door-to-door hawkers in my area.  They bang on my door about as often as the police do.  There’s no sign telling them to stay away because I’m hoping one day I’ll get someone trying to sell me a solar power system.

I said hello and politely told him I wasn’t interested.  The Alinta Energy representative replied that he wanted to talk to me for bit.  By law that was not the correct response for him to make.  Door to door salespeople must leave as soon as you ask them.  But I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  It’s possible he hadn’t heard me properly, maybe he was tired from the walk up the hill, or perhaps he just wasn’t expecting someone with my stunning good looks to open the door.  So I told him, “I said I’m not interested.  You have to leave now.”

He replied, “I just want to help you out.”

We all make mistakes, but when he kept trying to sell to me after I made it absolutely clear I wasn’t interested we went beyond the possibility of a misunderstanding into breaking the law territory.  I said, “Under Australian Consumer Law when I tell you I’m not interested you have to leave.  You could get your company into big trouble.”  That got him to go.

If he had been selling solar I could have contacted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and complained since I want to keep the industry as honest as possible.  But if he had been selling solar I wouldn’t have asked him to leave.  Instead I would have gotten as much information out of him as possible to find out how dodgy his company was.  I guess I should say I would have tried to find out if his company was dodgy, but I wouldn’t be optimistic about that.  I am afraid solar power deals from both door to door salespeople and cold callers are often lousy.

Fortunately, I knew my rights because I’d read our article on them.  The ACCC also has a page on those rights here and if you feel like a nice long read they have a PDF you can download called, “Knock!  Knock!  Who’s there?  Door to door sales — a guide to consumers.”

I could have called the ACCC and complained, but since I was going to write about it anyway that would be like a double kick in the pants for Alinta Energy.  I’ve decided to give them just one kick for now and hope that’s enough to convince Alinta Energy they need to pick up their pants when it comes to training their salespeople.2   But if you have a door to door salesperson who breaks the law and you want to complain about it, the ACCC’s contact information is here.


  1. “Choto mate” is Japanese for “hang on a sec”.
  2. I know this makes it sound their pants were down when I kicked them.  But that’s okay.  I’m not a violent person.
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.


  1. Tim Efthymiou says

    Lol, that’s so funny. Next time try being a Greek and say, “eho tria arhidia”. This means “I won’t be long” in Greek.
    Anyway, with most door knockers, I will get as much details out of them and 99% of the time, they cannot do any better deals for me (whether it’s electricity, phone, internet, insurance etc., but most of the time I will have a quick listen and make up my mind if I want to hear any further.

    Don’t forget, next time be Greek !!
    Cheers, Tim.

  2. Mater and I have a splendid method of discouraging these malcontents.
    We have Jeeves release the hounds. That sorts out the blighters, what.

  3. As a former Door-to-Door sales person with years of experience, I always give a door knocker at least 2-3 minutes. Whether its a charity, solar, (I sell solar for a living), energy etc. It’s a tough job of the toughest in the world because there is an immediate perception of suspicion from the person opening the door, and that’s very hard to overcome.
    They are just people trying to earn a living instead of sitting at home collecting centrelink payments and I really admire that.
    Sometimes I will point out what they did wrong and tell them what they could have done better.
    Having said that I was never ever ever misleading or dodgy and I dont condone that.
    Just give them a minute or two .. you may on occasion find that they have something worthwhile and beneficial to offer.

    • No.
      When I say to someone “no thanks” I expect them to say “no problems, see ya” Not continue on with their spiel or counter my argument.

      I’ve had it happen recently with “so you don’t want to save money then” as a parting shot.

  4. I am in Queensland. We had a similar experience but after we asked the Sales person to leave, he left some info in the Post box. It was quite informative and since then we moved to Alinta. We used to be with Dodo but the Alinta deal seemed to be better. May be you should write some comparison between the different Energy providers?

  5. How about a sign that says: “Solarquotes Blogger resides here. Knock at your own risk!”

  6. I also had a similar experience with Alinta, in spite of being advised a number of times I was not interested persisted with his spiel. Eventually making me annoyed by insisting I show him one of my current accounts a number of times, and then asking why I didnt want to show him. As if I had to justify myself to him, sorry but Alinta are on the outer with me after that display.

  7. Rod paterson says

    Hmm I switched to amounts after an encounter at a shopping centre
    Electricity rates that I haven’t paid since 2012 and solar rebate total of 55c per kWh I’m in Brisbane

    I have earnt a solar credit every 1/4 since joining Alinta and no I don’t work for them

  8. Tim Efthymiou says

    I just checked out there prices and there feed in tariff is woeful (Alinta Energy
    7.5 cents per kWh exported)
    Apart from that, there time of use rates aren’t any better, furthermore there peak rate starts at 1pm to 8pm. most other retailers start at 2pm-8pm. There shoulder rate is also higher than most other retailers.
    In other states, it might be a different story. ButI don’t see anyone benefiting from them if you live in N.S.W.

  9. In Queensland the Feed in tariff is 11 cents. Previous Provider was Dodo 8 cents. Also Dodo gave us 10% pay on time discount. Alinta offers 28%. As you said depends where you live. I still haven’t received my first bill from Alinta to compare properly.

  10. If I can’t be bothered to smile at door knockers through the window, I get my 68Kg Border Collie Cross to do the smiling for me. That generally has the desired effect.

    Footnote. He was supposed to be a Collie, looked like a Collie when he was a pup, but has grown into a bull mastiff with Collie colours.

  11. Received my first bill from Alinta. Already on Credit..Anytime use 25.5 c
    Control Load 2 21.5 c
    Feed in 11 c
    It works for me. I am happy that I paid attention to the “door knockers”

  12. If someone tells them not interested they don’t have to leave, their job is to convince you to become interested. They must leave if you say something like ‘can you leave’ though.

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