BBB Warns of Door-to-Door Scams Hitting the Ozarks

5/2/2012

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(Springfield, Mo – May 2, 2012)  The warm weather not only brings spring showers and flowers, but door-to-door scammers as well.  Better Business Bureau of Southwest Missouri has learned of two potential scams targeting Ozarks homeowners.

In one incident, a Springfield consumer said a salesman with Xtreme Chemical Company from Plano, Texas came to her door selling her a cleaning product.  She says she gave the salesman $50 and was told he would be back with the product within 2 hours.  However, he never returned.  The consumer tried contacting Xtreme Chemical Company and was unable to reach the company.  Xtreme Chemical Company also did not return calls from BBB for more information.  Xtreme Chemical Company currently has an F rating with BBB.  Consumers have filed a total of 50 complaints against it and Xtreme Chemical has failed to respond to 29 of them.  4 of those complaints are considered serious in nature.

In a separate incident, we received a call from an Ozark consumer claiming a man with B. Rafferty Sealcoating came to his door offering to seal his driveway for great price.  By the time the consumer realized the work was unsatisfactory, he was unable to contact the sealcoating business at the number provided.  Better Businsses Bureau has also been unable to track down the business owner.

Here are some tips to avoid a door-to-door scam. 

• Don’t let them in your house.  While there are legitimate salespeople that still make door-to-door visits, consumers should be very cautious by not allowing any unexpected guests into their home.

• Pay attention and listen carefully to what they say. If you think that the salesperson may be lying, ask for the name of their school, company, or association that they are representing, along with their contact information. Verify that this salesperson is actually associated with the group, and then verify that the company is legitimate by checking with the Better Business.

• Ask the salesperson to give you everything in writing, including return or warranty information. Tell them that you’d like to verify everything first, then get back to them. If you don’t feel comfortable or see a neighbor being harassed by a salesperson, call the police.

• Don’t be pressured into anything. Salespeople will try using high pressure sales techniques in order to get you to buy their product. Hold your position, and don’t allow them to win you over with words like “this offer is only valid for today”, or “I won’t be in this area again”.

• Pay with a credit card.  If you are scammed, you can refute the charge with your credit card company.  If you pay with cash, it may be impossible to get your money back.

• The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $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, salespeople should also include a completed cancellation form that customers can send to the company to cancel the agreement. By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.

If you feel you have been scammed, we encourage you to file a complaint with Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/complaint.  For more information or interview requests, contact Judy Mills at the number above or Cara Restelli at (417) 380-5078. 

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