Hefty fine for ignoring 'Do Not Knock' sign: Court

SYDNEY (AFP) - A door-to-door salesperson who ignored a "Do Not Knock" sign to try to win over a gas customer has ended up costing their Australian employers A$60,000 (S$67,000).

The Federal Court ordered gas company AGL South Australia and marketing firm CPM Australia to pay the total penalty after an incident in Adelaide November 2011.

"In this case, the sign was affixed to the consumer's front door and contained an image of a fist knocking with a line through it and the words 'DO NOT KNOCK. Unsolicited door-to-door selling not welcome here'," the Australian competition watchdog said after the decision.

"The salesperson nonetheless knocked on the consumer's door and attempted to negotiate an agreement to supply energy." The Federal Court ordered AGL to pay A$35,000 and CPM, who contracted the salesperson, A$25,000.

"These penalties reflect the need to deter conduct of such seriousness by the relevant respondents and others in the door-to-door selling industry," judge John Middleton.

The maximum penalty for breaching the unsolicited consumer agreement provision is A$50,000, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said.