Mobile Traders

Mobile traders include companies that sell goods directly from trucks and also companies that sell goods door-to-door. All mobile traders that extend credit to consumers in order to purchase goods must belong to an external dispute resolution scheme.

Complaints we regularly receive from mobile traders’ customers include issues with:

  • delivery of products
  • cancellation of agreements and the fees payable
  • delivery of wrong goods.

From our experience investigating complaints, we have found these are common problems consumers face with mobile traders. These are our tips to consumers to ensure they are treated fairly and mobile traders are acting responsibly.

FSCL tips:

  • Do not feel pressured to buy when a mobile trader knocks on your door.
  • Do your homework – you may be able to purchase the same item or similar from a store for a cheaper price.
  • Read the contract carefully before signing it – in particular check to see:
  1. the cooling off period to cancel and how much you will have to pay if you decide to cancel the contract outside of the cooling off period – this can sometimes be as much as 10% of the purchase price of the item you are buying.
  2. how much your repayments are and how many repayments you are required to make in total
  3. the fees and interest rates you are paying.
  • If the mobile trader’s salesperson promises incentives to sign the contact (for example, a free gift) make sure the promise is put in writing on the contract.
  • Keep track of your repayments as you go.
  • If in doubt get help early. You could seek advice from someone you trust, a Citizens Advice Bureau or a Community Law Centre.

Read our case notes about mobile traders complaints:

Mobile traders have been in the spotlight recently with the Commerce Commission releasing in 2015 the results of its year long investigation into the mobile traders industry. The Commerce Commission’s mobile trader report focused on understanding issues in the mobile traders’ industry and monitoring and improving compliance with consumer protection laws. The Commerce Commission provided compliance advice to a number of mobile traders. The full report can be found here.