BBB Warns Consumers about Door-to-Door Solicitors

  
     
July 25, 2017

With summer being the prime door-knocking season for solicitors, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) is warning consumers about deceptive sales tactics that may land them in an unwanted contract or paying for an unnecessary service. BBB urges consumers to stay on alert for unreliable solicitors and to have a plan in place when it comes to door-to-door salespeople.

Though many door-to-door salespeople operate honestly and represent reputable businesses, there are others who are only looking to make a sale and move on as quickly as possible - often leaving consumers wondering if they’ll receive the product or service they’ve paid for or if they’ve just been scammed.

“Whether it is cleaning products, a security system, cosmetics or contractor work, consumers need to be aware that door-to-door solicitors are going to come out in full force this summer,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “It is important for consumers to be aware that situations can occur and know what to do beforehand so they do not succumb to high pressure sales tactics.”

Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina offers the following tips on door-to-door solicitations this summer:

Inquire about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a solicitor's license. Ask the salesperson if they’ve checked in with the city and obtained proper licensing. If you’re unsure if your city requires a permit, contact your city offices.

Ask for identification. A reputable seller will provide you with all of the information you request, including a photo ID and a business card.

Verify the individual and the business. If you’re interested in doing business with the solicitor, get everything in writing. Tell the solicitor you will look into it and get back to them. Research the business and contact them directly to verify the salesperson is an employee. Be sure to research the business at bbb.org.

Read the contract. 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.

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.

Steer clear of scams. A classic tactic of less-than-reputable solicitors is to tell consumers they have extra product leftover from a job down the street and will perform the work for minimal cost. Professional contractors typically know how much product is needed for a job and rarely have material leftover.

Consumers who have issues with door-to-door salespeople can contact their BBB at bbb.org, as well as with their local law enforcement, and the NC Attorney General’s office.