Dealing with Door-to-Door Sales

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Some may think that the door-to-door salesman is from a bygone era”that’s not true! If you spend enough time at home during the day, you’ll find that a solicitor is bound to come knocking on your door. These aren’t just scouts and kids selling various wares for their school or community organizations either”there are still attempts to solicit major financial transactions door-to-door. In any transaction solicited by someone going door-to-door it is important to protect yourself with the most valuable fraud prevention tool available”Education!

Here are some tips, provided by the AARP, on dealing with door-to-door sales:

1. Never let anyone into your home”you have every right to tell someone that they are not allowed to come in. If you are interested in what they person is pitching, be sure to ask them for their credentials”many times a permit is required to make sales door-to-door and you also have every right to check up on their permit with your local business permit office (under City Government in the blue pages of your phone book).

2. No matter how hard the salesman presses, do not allow anyone to pressure you into making a decision on the spot. If it is a product or service you are genuinely interested in, ask the salesperson for materials that you can read over and tell them you will get back in touch with them after you’ve had the chance to look over what you’ve been given. Take the time to check out the business”do price comparisons and general research regarding both the product/service and the company offering it. Read everything carefully and write down questions that you may have regarding any extra fees, what exactly is included in the offer, and how you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. Make sure you get thorough answers to your questions as well!

3. Get it in writing! Promises mean nothing unless you have written proof. This includes the total price of the sale, any warranties or return guarantees, the full return policy, information regarding financing, and any/all conditions of sale.

4. Read your contract”make sure you understand it fully. If there are any blank spaces in the contract, make sure to cross them out so nothing can be added without your permission later on.

5. If a salesperson can’t provide a valid street address (not a PO Box) and working phone number for a company, you may want to reconsider doing business with them. You need to be able to get in touch with the company if there are problems later.

6. Get two copies of a cancellation form at the time of sale. Keep in mind, under most circumstances, you have 3 days to change your mind and receive a full refund. You don’t have to give them a reason for changing your mind either. There are some exceptions to this rule, however; including that they sale must be in an amount of $25 or more. There’s specific information regarding this on the Federal Trade Commission’s website regarding the Cooling-Off Rule.

If you are interested, you can read the full AARP article here.

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Amy was a trade practice associate with the BBB until 2008. She was instrumental in starting our consumer education blog and managing our online presence.

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