Better Business Bureau advises consumers to beware of high-pressure, door-to-door vacuum cleaner and air filter sellers.
Consumers call in high volumes, inquiring about people who show up to their doors selling these items using high-pressure tactics. To consumers who are approached by a door-to-door seller, BBB suggests:
1) Verify the individual. If you are interested in buying from a door-to-door seller, get everything in writing including price, warranty and all conditions. Tell the salesperson you will check it out and get back to him. Get the business card from the individual and independently research the company's contact information, then contact the company to verify this person is an employee.
2) Check for qualifications. Verify the individual is licensed, bonded, insured and has registered with Work Safe BC.
3) Put it in writing. Ensure all details and verbal promises are included in a written contract. Review it and make sure that you understand everything in the document. Never sign a contract with sections left blank.
4) Be aware of pressure sales tactics. Some door-to-door sellers will put pressure on you to close the deal at that moment, and even make special offers to entice you. Listen to their tone. Are they increasing in volume as they speak to you? Are they ignoring you despite saying you are not interested? Find a way to end the conversation quickly to avoid long, drawn out pressure sales pitches.
5) Remember to cool off if there's pressure. Do not be pressured by any person if you are unsure. Take the time to do your due diligence. If you did sign and would like to change your mind, BC law states that if it was a door-to-door sales contract then you have 10 days to advise the company. More details are found below.
According to Consumer Protection BC (CPBC) there are many legitimate companies who make a living this way, but there are a few things to consider if you are approached by someone selling a vacuum:
a) A common way for salespeople to get your attention is to say they are conducting an air quality or air purification survey. This leads to a vacuum demonstration and potentially a hard sell. When you run into this kind of phone pitch, make sure you ask lots of questions so you know what to expect.
b)You may be offered a free gift if you give someone a chance to demonstrate their product or if you purchase the item. Again, make an informed decision and be sure you want the vacuum before accepting any free gifts.
c) Some vacuums can be very expensive and you may be offered a financing arrangement that allows you to make payments on the product. If you decide to pursue this option, get the contract in writing, read the fine print and make sure you know the interest rate. Often the rates are very high.
d) If you've done all your research and have decided to purchase the vacuum, ensure that the vacuum is new. Some consumers have paid a large amount of money for a vacuum only to receive a second-hand product.
Consumer Protection BC's toll free number is 1-888-564-9963 or go to:
BBB advises that if you have entered into a contract with a door-to-door salesperson for goods or services valued at $50 or more, the BC Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act provides you with a 10 day cancellation or cooling off period; that is, 10 days in which to change your mind and cancel some contracts that you have signed at home. This cancellation right must be printed on the sales contract and it is not necessary for the consumer to give reasons for cancellation. If you wish to cancel your contract be sure to cancel in writing by registered mail.
The new legislation does not define or mention the term direct seller but does define a direct sales contract. Please see the applicable info below this paragraph. A direct seller is anyone who:
(a) solicits orders for, or sells or offers for sale, goods or services where the purchase price, excluding the cost of borrowing, but including any taxes, equals or exceeds $50;
(b) sells, offers to sell or solicits a sale to A CONSUMER, not to a business or company; and
(c) solicits, negotiates or concludes the contract at a place other than the direct seller's permanent place of business.
"direct sales contract" means a contract between a supplier and a consumer for the supply of goods or services that is entered into in person at a place other than the supplier's permanent place of business, but does not include
(a) a funeral contract, interment right contract or preneed cemetery or funeral services contract, or
(b) a contract for which the total price payable by the consumer, not including the total cost of credit, is less than a prescribed amount;
Consumer Protection BC (CPBC) no longer licenses direct sellers.
-Tips provided by the Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island.