The Better Business Bureau receives thousands of complaints each year from consumers who unknowingly fall for scamming door-to-door solicitors. While many door-to-door salespersons are honest, the BBB receives troubling complaints from consumers who purchased items like magazines that never came, cosmetics and photography of inferior quality, even meat that was no good. The BBB warns that deceptive door-to-door sellers are looking to make a quick buck…and they’re on the rise.
BBBs across the country are receiving hundreds of complaints and thousands of inquiries about companies selling door-to-door. Sellers often use high pressure sales tactics that can have anyone falling victim. Unscrupulous marketers sometimes trick consumers into paying hundreds of dollars for items they don’t want or can’t afford. Oftentimes, their presentations are so slick that consumers aren’t even aware that they have actually made a purchase.
The BBB offers these tips on dealing with high pressure, door-to-door sellers:
Magazine subscriptions: BBBs have already received more than 800 complaints in 2017 against magazine sales companies. The most common complaint received involves consumers paying for magazines they never receive. Several consumers allege the sales representative misled them by claiming to work for a local school or charity fundraiser.
Food products: Sales representatives knock on doors selling produce or meat products, claiming their prices are much lower than grocery stores. Consumer complaints allege that their orders never arrive, or are not of the high quality originally promised.
Home security systems: The BBB often receives complaints about companies who falsely claim to be working with or for your existing security company. Under the pretense of upgrading your contract, they sign you to a new contract with their company. Now you’re committed to having two companies perform the work of one. And getting double-billed. Other issues include salespeople who tell you that your current company has gone out of business, or your current system is outdated and is about to stop working
Other industries employing door-to-door sales tactics that BBB receives the most complaints about are cosmetics, photography and cleaning supply companies. If visited by a door-to-door sales representative, the BBB recommends consumers do the following:
If you see suspicious sales people canvasing your neighborhood, report it to your local police department’s nonemergency number. This allows them to ensure that the person is properly licensed to solicit door-to-door and not wanted by authorities in other cities. If everything checks out, they are then free to carry on their day. If not, then you have just saved your neighbors from losing their hard-earned money.
For more consumer tips you can trust, visit bbb.org.
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Kelvin Collins is President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor, serving 83 counties in East Alabama, West Georgia, Southwest Georgia, Central Georgia, East Georgia and Western South Carolina. This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The Better Business Bureau sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance and helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB by visiting bbb.org, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 800-763-4222.