Unsolicited supplies

Unsolicited supplies are goods or services supplied to someone without their permission. Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) unless a business or person reasonably believes that they have the right to do so, it is unlawful to:

  • request payment for unsolicited goods or services
  • request payment for unauthorised entries or advertisements.

It is also unlawful to send unsolicited credit cards or debit cards.

There is a three-month period in which the supplier can retrieve their goods, called the recovery period.

The recovery period reduces to one month when the recipient of the goods gives written notice to the supplier stating:

  • the recipient’s name and address
  • that the goods are unsolicited and the recipient does not want them
  • where the supplier can pick the goods up from.

The recipient can keep the unsolicited goods not collected within the recovery period.

However, the recipient cannot:

  • keep the goods if they knew they were not intended for them – for instance, if the package was addressed to someone else.
  • unreasonably refuse to allow the collection of the goods during the recovery period.

Penalties

The maximum civil and criminal penalties for requesting payment for unsolicited goods or unauthorised advertisements are:

  • $1.1 million for a body corporate
  • $220,000 for an individual.