Marlborough, MA - Like seasonal allergies and rainy weather, door-to-door scammers are an annual annoyance that return every spring. As the weather warms up, Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI, & VT (BBB) warns homeowners of door-to-door solicitors looking to take advantage of the nice weather and tricking victims into home improvement and lawn service scams.
Though many door-to-door salespeople operate honestly and represent reputable businesses, there are also scammers out there “posing” as them. Many consumers report con-artists offering discounted lawn care or home improvement services this time of year.
“Before hiring on the spot, be sure to do your research and check out a business at bbb.org,” said Paula Fleming, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer for the local BBB. “There are many reputable businesses with a good track record that will deliver quality work on time and within budget.”
BBB offers tips for dealing with door-to-door salespeople:
Do your research. Don’t feel pressured to choose a business just because someone is standing on your doorstep. If a person is selling lawn care or discounted home improvement services, you can always tell the person you’re interested, but to come back another time. This way you have time to look up their business at bbb.org.
Request to see the seller’s license. Many municipalities require a solicitation license before you can sell door-to-door. If your town has this law, be sure to ask to see the seller’s license. If you’re unsure if your city requires a permit, contact your city offices.
Never pay upfront. If you’re paying for a service, make sure the work is being done to your satisfaction before you pay. If it’s a product, get a receipt for payment. Always avoid paying in cash and never write a check out to an employee.
Ask to see the terms and conditions. Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions before signing a contract. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics and be aware that anything you sign could be viewed as a contract. Legitimate businesses will give you the details in writing, including the commitment period, total price and cancellation instructions.
Get all promises in writing. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, as well as when the job is expected to be completed, payment terms and conditions, contact information for the business, as well as any refund or cancellation policies.
Know your rights. 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 business to cancel the agreement. By law, the business must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
If you have been approached by a salesperson using deceptive sales tactics, turn them away at the door and submit a complaint to your local BBB.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org or like us on Facebook.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses, all available for free at bbb.org.