Bing-Bong! No More Avon Calling?

29 April 2003

Arise ye salesmen from your slumbers, Arise ye traffickers of want! To the tune of The Internationale, Albion’s doorstep hucksters are on the march in protest against possible extinction.

If the Trading Standards Institute gets its way, the nation’s front doors are set to be deprived of feet firmly wedged into them as their owners peddle such well-known brands as Avon and Kleeneeze; plus gas, water and electricity services, and other items of desire like double-glazing, property repairs and household goods.

The TSI is urging the government to ban such practices. According to research conducted by the organisation, 95.7% of consumers do not want salesmen to call at their homes.

Referring in particular to property repair companies, the TSI brands them as “real rogues” who bilk consumers by charging outrageous prices for bodged work. “While they prey on vulnerable people,” said a TSI spokeswoman, “we are all at risk. We want to protect the community against these bullies.”

But fear not, ye of the reinforced toecaps. Riding to the rescue on an off-white charger is that doughty defender of uncircuitous selling, the Direct Marketing Association (UK).

According to its spokesman, it is not the channel of doorstep direct selling that is at fault but some of its practitioners. “We need to improve how we deal with this rogue element, rather than ban a route to market,” argues the DMA.

“A legitimate and properly self-regulated industry should not be made to suffer,” it pleads. “We need to improve the policing and standards of the industry instead.”

This saga is likely to run and run before a resolution is reached. Meantime, security-chain your front doors!

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff