BBB Warns of Misleading Door Knocking Solicitors
National Night Out is an annual event promoting police-community partnerships. The event helps citizens bolster their defenses against crime by strengthening community bonds and educating people on how they can participate in creating safer neighborhoods. BBB wants to remind home owners that while many trustworthy home improvement and security system companies solicit door-to-door, residents should watch out for high-pressure or deceptive sales practices.
Last year thousands of consumers filed complaints against door-to-door solicitors. Some of the top scams BBB hears about involve home improvement work, magazine sales, meat sales and home security alarms.
Here’s how the scam works:
Often, scammers stop by your home offering a special service or pretend to be with a utility, security or cable company. Whether they are selling you a product or trying to get inside your home, it’s important to be vigilant whenever a salesperson shows up at your door.
Here’s some tips to help avoid deceptive door-to-door scams:
- Do your research. Tell the salesperson you may be interested, but to come back at another time. Consumers should also tell salespeople this if they claim to be affiliated with your utility company or someone you actually do business with. It’s best to always follow-up directly using verifiable contact information on the company’s official website or bbb.org/northwest-pacific.
- Resist high-pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give consumers time to think through the deal. Avoid sellers who need an immediate answer, offer “once in a lifetime” or “today only” deals and put pressure into signing a contract.
- Ask for the salesperson’s identification. Any legitimate salesperson should be able to provide identification for both themselves and their company such as a permit, business license or business card.
- Get it in writing. When making a deal with the salesperson, be sure to get a receipt and a written contract including any special terms and conditions, complete costs, payment timelines and warranty information.
- Don’t pay in full right away. Be sure to avoid paying in full until the work is completed to your satisfaction. It’s also wise to pay with a credit card for further protection.
- Remember the Federal Trade Commission’s “Cooling-Off Rule.” This rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases over $25 made at their home or other location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business.
If you’ve been a victim of a door-to-door scam, help others avoid being scammed by filing a report with BBB.org/ScamTracker.