As the spring is coming into full force, it is the time of year where consumers need to keep a watchful eye on door-to-door solicitors. The Better Business Bureau is speaking out in forewarning to consumers about the groups of people who approach consumers about different types of sales. Many times, the sellers are hawking magazines that are meant to support several types of "causes".
These sales people are often recruited by companies looking to hire college or even high school-aged kids whom they send in groups to different neighborhoods around the country. The premise of the causes ranges from supporting charities, paying for a school trip, helping the soldiers fighting overseas, or even just a story about how they are rebuilding their personal lives. The sales people are often known for employing hard-edged sales tactics to sell you magazines. Consumers who feel obligated to purchase these magazines find out a few weeks later that their magazines will never be delivered.
The misleading sales people are usually not properly licensed and can be quite believable, especially by the elderly who want to be helpful. There have even been reported incidents where consumers felt threatened by sales people who became angry and violent, leading to police intervention. Sadly, in many cases, the sales people themselves will find that their employers have taken them advantage them too by requiring long working hours, poor living and traveling conditions, and lowered or withheld wages.
Consumers who encounter such sales representatives can do some things to protect themselves from potential harm and loss of their money.
If someone comes to your home to sell something :
- Make sure you ask for identification. Perhaps once you ask for a sales license and picture identification, the sales person will leave willing. If they can not provide proof of who they are, do not continue the conversation.
- Never let intimidation tactics talk you out of your money. You are not required to make any purchase or donation that you don't want to make.
- If a sales person does make a visit to your home and you do not feel comfortable or are even threatened by them in any way, contact your local authorities and report the incident. Your information could prevent other people from having to endure the same situation.
- If you have made a purchase and later feel duped by the sales person, you have the right under the laws of the Federal Trade Commission's Three -Day Cooling Off Rule, to cancel any order that totals over $25 if the purchase was made in their home or outside the seller's place of business. Sales people should be giving receipts as well as a cancellation option to contact the company. Law requires that a company receiving a cancellation notice has 10 days to refund the money upon receiving the cancellation notice.
Consumers are working harder than ever to get out and stay out of debt. Losing money in a fraudulent sales scheme is not going to help anyone's finances. Keep an eye out for such scams and if worse comes to worse, don't answer the door for people you do not know.
By Tisha (Kulak) Tolar