AGL launches ‘do not knock’ sticker campaign while fighting legal battle against stickers

Energy supplier AGL has launched a campaign distributing hundreds of thousands of  ‘do not knock’ stickers to customers while at the same time it is fighting a battle against the legal enforceability of such signs.


The brand has begun to enclose “Do not knock” stickers with its bills. If consumers put them in place, they make it more difficult for rival energy companies to persuade consumers to switch.

The move has been labelled ironic by AGL’s critics.

Just yesterday AGL was reportedly fined $1.55 million, after an AGL door-to-door seller posed as an investigations officer. AGL is also fighting the ACCC about whether ‘do not knock’ stickers are enforceable in Australian consumer law.

Sarah Wilson, senior campaigner with the Consumer Law Centre, said sticker campaign was clearly about AGL tryign to stop rival companies from getting to speak to its customers. “We would expect that it is being done to protect their market share. However, they’re not the first retailer to do it,” said Wilson.

The message from AGL tells consumers: “We know door-to-door sales people have a job to do, and we also understand you may be left alone. So you might find this sticker useful.”

On the other side of the insert, consumers are invited to come into an AGL Smarter Living store in person to pick up a “sturdy vitreous enamel sign, free of charge”. The small print says that only AGL customers can have the free sign.

Christopher Zinn, campaign director at One Big Switch, a company which markets itself on getting consumers better utilities prices,  said the campaign was ironic.

“AGL are certainly ‘Johnny-come-latelys’ to the operation. If you were responsible for a lot of door knocking it is somewhat ironic to put out ‘do not knock’ stickers,” said Zinn. “I would like to think they were responding to consumer demand to help keep door knockers away but there is the perception that the big players have the most to gain.”

AGL told Mumbrella that the campaign was not self serving and said was driven by research the company had conducted.

“The reason we are doing it is in response to customer concern. People really don’t like it,” Karen Winsbury head of AGL corporate communications, told Mumbrella. “It was launched in response to research we conducted which showed our customers disliked door knocking practices.”

In March this year AGL ceased its door knocking. Zinn argues that the current campaign is an attempt by one of the major utilities players to restrict competition in the utilities sector.

“The argument against the big guys like AGL sending out ‘do not knock’ stickers has been that small players seeking to grow market share are limited in what was one of their best channels,” said Zinn.

The Consumer Law Centre’s Wilson also urged AGL to drop its current action against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in regards to ‘do not knock stickers’.

“If they think the sticker doesn’t work then why on earth are they doing it themselves? It doesn’t make a lot of sense, ” said Wilson. “By publishing this (campaign) they are admitting the stickers do work.”

AGL conceded there was an irony. “Look there is, and I appreciate it certainly appears that way,” said Winsbury who argued the current court action was an attempt by the company to reform current consumer law.

“As matter of law that we don’t believe the law as it is currently drafted constitutes a request to leave the premises,” she said.

“We believe it should but that is why we are arguing the case. If we lose all good it’s rock solid but if we win it means consumer law will hopefully be revised.”

Nic Christensen


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