When to Shut the Door on a Traveling Salesman

September 21, 2010

When salesmen knock on your door, they could represent any number of different legitimate products and services such as magazines, cleaning supplies, home alarm systems and even frozen meat and poultry. They might also be itinerant workers who are offering a low-ball estimate to fix your roof or repave your driveway. Regardless of what they are selling, protect your home and your wallet by confirming their credentials.

BBB recommends being cautious of a door to door salesperson or itinerant worker if they:

Use high pressure sales tactics. A reputable salesman will give you time to think through the deal and make an appointment to return at a later date. Watch out if you’re asked to sign up immediately before you do your research. Do not give in to high-pressure sales tactics—even if the deal supposedly won’t last long or the salesperson is aggressive—it’s worth it to stop and think it over first.

Offer a deal that sounds too good to be true. Some salesmen might offer an extremely good price for their products or services. The adage holds true that you get what you pay for and many people have been quickly disappointed when the products didn’t live up to the hype or the company did a shoddy job.

Fail to follow federal law.  Federal law requires that if you purchase more than $25 in goods, the salesperson must inform you of your rights to cancel within three business days. Called the “cooling off” rule, these rights are typically included with the company’s contact information on the receipt or contract.

Work for a company with a poor rating from your BBB. Before you break out your checkbook, always check the company out with your BBB first to see how many complaints they’ve received in addition to BBB’s overall rating. Information on a company can be found at bbb.org.

Finally, pay with a check or credit card—rather than cash—in order to take advantage of the consumer protections provided.