Educational Consumer Tips
Better Business Bureau
The BBB would like to warn consumers about high pressure sales tactics, how you can avoid them and what to do when you are in a high pressure sales situation. Resisting high-pressure sales is a combination of knowing what you want before leaving home and knowing how to identify and counteract high-pressure sales methods. Don't Make Yourself a Target: Reject junk mail and sales calls, ask to be taken off lists and place your phone number on the national Do Not Call List. Never allow an unsolicited salesperson into your home and know what you want before you set foot in a store or showroom. Consider your options: Make purchasing decisions before talking to a salesperson. Do you want to purchase a used item, repair a broken item, borrow, rent or buy an entirely new item? Establish a $200 Rule: If you're a couple, agree not to spend more than $200 (or whatever figure is appropriate to your income) on any one item without discussing it first. If you're single, consider talking to a friend who will play devil's advocate. Take at least one night to cool down and consider if you really need to make the purchase. Establish how much you're willing to spend before shopping.
Do Your Homework: Several minutes of research can save you a lot of money and hassle. How Will You Use the Item? Consider how you'll use a product and how you've used similar products in before. Are you still using the product and do you like it? If the product comes with many extras, do you really need all of them? Look at all angles of a purchase, such as whether that new couch, piano or other large item will fit through your door. Most importantly, will this item be durable and can it be repaired. Is it a Need or a Want? Consider whether the product will improve or damage your quality of life.
Understand Sales Tactics: If you're shopping with a spouse or partner, watch out for sales reps that will try and play you off each other. Keep in mind youdon't owe a person anything just because they've spent a lot of time with you. Even small chit chat is directed towards closing a sale. Refuse to Buy on Deadline: Know when a salesperson is using high-pressure tactics and walk away, particularly sales that include a deadline. This includes everything from a first-time-only offer on a club membership to Labor Day sales at a furniture store. If the TVs price will double tomorrow or the couch is suddenly the last one in stock, be on your guard. Deadlines are designed to force you into a sale before you've had time to think. If you feel like you're being rushed, tell the seller you'll return another day. Avoid falling for “Today only” deals. Ask to take the contract home to read in comfort.
Stop the Chatter: Maintain control of the sales relationship by cutting off conversations when they veer off-topic or go on longer than you'd prefer. Bullying and screaming at consumers are tactics used only by scammers. Is the Salesperson on Commission? Commissioned salespeople are more likely to push high-end products to increase their profit per sale. Be Polite But Firm: It can be difficult to maintain your cool or not feel cowed when someone is giving you a hard pitch. In the end, moderation is your best bet. Tell the sales rep, in no uncertain terms, how you feel about the product. Sales reps who recognize you know your mind will either drop the issue or walk away.
Pay attention to your emotions. This may sound touchy-feely, but high pressure sales are all about manipulation. If you start to feel overwhelmed, anxious, rushed or like you just can't think clearly, come to your own rescue. Walk out of the room. Hang up. Tell the salesperson to leave.
When in Doubt: When you get that gut feeling that something is wrong, or a little doubt sets in - that's usually a very good indication that you should not, at this time anyway, complete the sale. Remember, you can always hang up the phone, close the door, or walk away. No one can force you to sign a contract or buy something you do not want. High pressure sales involve playing with your emotions, so never be afraid to simply walk away! Always read and understand contracts before you sign. If you can’t understand the contract or don’t agree with the terms, then walk away. And remember, if it’s too go to be true, it probably is! Always contact the BBB before doing business with a company to review their rating and any complaints on file. If a company is engaging in unfair or deceptive sales tactics, file a complaint with the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission. www.ftc.gov or 1-877-382-4357.