BBB Offers Tips for Door to Door Sales

Last year, nationally the BBB handled over 3,500 complaints from consumers on door to door magazine sales alone and it the top 20 in Mississippi.
June 04, 2014

Summertime is prime season for door to door salespeople to sell everything from alarm systems, cleaning supplies, magazines, and donations to charities. Consumers allege the sales representative misled them by claiming to work for a local school or charity fundraiser. Companies use this time of year to hire cheap labor (students or alleged students) as a way to pressure consumers to make quick rash decisions.

Fortunately, there are four easy steps customers can take to make sure they are never tricked into buying anything by unscrupulous companies.

1. The first step, according to the FTC, is to always demand identification from any door-to-door salesperson. Many states require sales agents to carry company identification on them, and this is an easy way to spot if they are not who they claim to be.

2. Never let a salesperson into your home. Once inside, the salesperson can use high-pressure tactics and even refuse to leave. Instead, take their information and business card. Tell them you will look at it yourself and if interested, you will give them a call.

3. Remember to never sign any contract without reading it thoroughly; some companies or salespeople may slip in language that costs you thousands of dollars. Be sure to check the date as well, because some companies have been accused of backdating contracts so the customer can’t cancel within the cancellation period.

4. Finally, Remember the “Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule.” The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases of more than $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. Along with a receipt, the salesperson should always provide a cancellation form that can be sent to the company to cancel the purchase within three days. By law, the company must give consumers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.

Contact your BBB at 601-398-1700 or for more information.