BBB Alert: Beware of Popular Summer Scams

June 17, 2014

Buffalo, NY— Aaaahhh Summer. It’s finally here! For all of us in the Northeast, this time of year could not be more welcomed. It’s a great time to take that long overdue vacation or make much needed home repairs, but beware. Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York is warning consumers that as the weather heats up, so do scams. It’s important for all of us to keep our guard up and be on the lookout for these popular summer scams.

Be wary of high pressure door-to-door sales tactics. Many legitimate companies use door-to-door sales, and various city ordinances regulate solicitors to protect people from unscrupulous individuals. However, consumers need to watch for individuals who try to work their way around the system to line their pockets. Door-to-door salesmen offer deals for everything from driveway paving to air conditioning repairs and security systems. Before saying yes, start with trust at and know who you’re dealing with. Get all promises in writing, including start and finish dates. Never sign a contract that has an open-ended completion date or blank spaces.

Beware of job scams. Finding summer employment is a top priority for most college and high school students. Don’t let the seasonal job hunt turn into a huge waste of time and money. Always be wary of employers who require fees for training and background checks, or who tout “no experience needed.” BBB considers these red flags for employment scams.

Beware of summer concert ticket scams. Before paying for concert tickets online, make sure the seller is reputable. Oftentimes, phony sellers will trick consumers into wiring money with no intention of sending real tickets. Most concert venues now allow ticket holders to print tickets from personal computers, which also gives scammers the opportunity to sell the same ticket over and over to unsuspecting consumers. Be wary of sellers who: offer a sad tale as to why they cannot use the tickets; only accept cash; want the money wired or transferred through a prepaid account; and/or pressure you to act quickly.

Don’t fall for a vacation scam. Fake travel agents and websites are known for touting too-good-to-be-true deals in the hopes of getting your money in return. Whether it’s a fake timeshare rental or a falsely promised Disney vacation, don’t let a vacation scam take you for a ride. Make sure the offer is legitimate by checking first. If there’s no BBB Business Review on the company, dig deeper.

Keep your belongings safe during your move. Summer is the peak time of year for changing residencies, and unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage of the busy season. Always research the company and check out the mover’s BBB Business Review at Not all price quotes online or over the phone are legitimate (or binding), and crooks are not likely to send an estimator to your home in advance. Also, remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic offer used as a hook and may cost you more in the end.

Always check the Cooling-Off Rule. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more. Under the Cooling-Off Rule, your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale. However, the Cooling-Off Rule does not apply to the following:

  • Automobiles, vans, trucks, or other motor vehicles sold at temporary locations, provided the seller has at least one permanent place of business; 
  • Arts or crafts sold at fairs or locations such as shopping malls, civic centers, and schools. 

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