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The Australian Consumer Law

Unsolicited Supplies
(includes unordered goods and services)

What are unsolicited supplies?

Unsolicited supplies are goods or services supplied to someone who has not agreed to buy or receive them.

It is unlawful to:

  • request payment for unsolicited goods or services
  • request payment for unauthorised entries or advertisements
  • send unsolicited credit cards or debit cards
Requesting payment for unsolicited goods or services

A business must not issue an invoice for unsolicited goods or services unless:

  • They reasonably believe they have a right to be paid; or
  • The invoice contains the following warning required by the ACL Regulations and must be the most prominent text in the document:

    This is not a bill. You are not required to pay any money

  • In a dispute the business or person demanding payment must prove they have a legitimate right to it.


Does someone who receives unsolicited goods or services have to pay and can they keep them?

No, a receiver of any unsolicited goods or services is not required to pay for them. Also they do not have to pay for any loss or damage due to supply of the services.

However they may be required to pay compensation if they wilfully damage unsolicited goods within the three month recovery period.

The receiver of unsolicited goods can keep the goods, without obligation to pay, if they are not collected with the recovery period.  The supplier cannot take action to recover the uncollected goods after the recovery period has lapsed.

However, the receiver of unsolicited goods cannot:

  • keep goods not intended for them (eg clearly addressed to someone else)
  • unreasonably refuse to allow the supplier to collect the goods during the recovery period.

Recovery period

The supplier can seek return of the goods within the three month recovery period.  This time reduces to one month when the recipient of the unsolicited goods or services advises the supplier that:

  • they do not want the goods; and
  • the supplier should recover them.

Unauthorised entries or advertisements

It is unlawful to demand payment for an entry or advertisement that was not first authorised by the person or business concerned.

An advertisement is authorised when the person or business or their nominee has signed a document that:

  • authorises the entry or advertisement
  • specifies the details of the entry or advertisement
  • specifies the name and address of the person publishing the entry
  • specifies the charges that will apply; and
  • was provided before payment was requested.

It is possible to send an invoice for an unauthorised entry or advertisement, if it contains the warning statement required by the ACL Regulations and is the most prominent text in the document:

This is not a bill. You are not required to pay any money

In a dispute the person or business demanding payment must prove it was reasonable to believe the entry or advertisement was authorised.


Unsolicited credit or debit cards

An item is a credit card if its intended to obtain cash, goods or services on credit (eg store-branded credit cards, store cards)

An item is a debit card if intended to access an account held by the consumer for the purpose of withdrawing or depositing cash or obtaining goods or services.

Generally, the issuer of a credit or debit card must not:

  • send it without written authority from the recipient
  • send it unless the recipient requested, in writing, the card from the supplier
  • send it unless it is a replacement, renewal or substitution for a card previously sent to the person and used for the same purpose
  • enable a credit card to also be used as a debit card or vice-versa, unless the recipient has requested this in writing.


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