When to Shut the Door on a Traveling Seller

March 12, 2013
Regardless of what door-to-door sellers are selling, protect your home and your wallet by confirming their credentials.

this information has been sponsored by Direct Selling Education FoundationDoor-to-door sellers can represent any number of legitimate products and services including educational books and materials, cleaning supplies, home alarm systems and even frozen meat and poultry. However, they might also be itinerant workers offering a low-ball estimate to fix your roof or repave your driveway. If you aren’t careful you can end up with substandard work or products, or perhaps with nothing at all for your money!

Protect your home and your wallet by making sure sellers represent a legitimate company before letting them in your home or giving them money for a product or service.

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

Use high pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give you time to think through the deal and make an appointment to return at a later date. A dishonest seller will try to get you to sign up immediately and perhaps intimidate you into opening your wallet before you can 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 sellers 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.

Can’t or won’t provide you with personal identification or contact information for the company they represent. Any legitimate salesperson will be able to provide you with positive identification for both themselves and their company. Also beware of sellers who don’t appear to have any ties to the community. Itinerant workers often enter and exit an area quickly, usually with the money of the people they have scammed.

Represent 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 and how they’ve handled them in addition to BBB’s overall rating.

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.

BBB recommends that you can further protect yourself by paying with a check or credit card—rather than cash—in order to take advantage of the consumer protections provided.