“Do not knock” signs put out by homeowners to deter door-to-door salespeople are to be given legal standing backed by big fines.
Salespeople who ignored “Do no knock” signs would face fines of up to $10,000, and their employers would face fines of up to $30,000.
The “Do not knock” law was included in the Fair Trading Amendment Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on Tuesday, and was a victory for Consumer, which successfully lobbied for it.
The “Do Not Knock” signs are available from Age Concern Canterbury.
The bill seeks to outlaw unfair treatment of small companies by big ones.
If passed into law, it would ban large companies like banks, supermarkets and retailers from requiring the smaller companies they do business with to accept unfair and one-side contract terms.
Small Business Minister Stuart Nash and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said the aim was to better protect consumers and businesses.
Businesses that were found to have acted unconscionably when dealing with small suppliers would face fines of up to $600,000, Faafoi said.
The proposed law would also extend existing protections against unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts so they would apply to business-to-business trading relationships with a value below $250,000 per year, Faafoi said.
“The impacts of unfair business and commercial practices can be significant for small businesses and consumers,” Nash said. “I’ve heard too many stories about one-sided contracts, extended payment terms, and pressure tactics that are hurting small businesses and consumers.
Earlier Nash and Faafoi said they had heard of individuals being threatened, verbally abused and blacklisted after asking for payments they were owed from large companies.
They had also heard from suppliers to retailers like supermarkets being made to pay compensation for perceived losses after they ran promotions with rival retailers.
“Unfair practices make it hard for New Zealand businesses to focus on what really matters – developing their products and services, innovating, and growing their business. It also leads to real hardship for consumers,” Nash said.
“These changes to the Fair Trading Act will draw a line in the sand about acceptable standards of commercial conduct in New Zealand,” Faafoi said.
Reprinted from Stuff