We have heard from many homeowners who have been visited by door-to-door vacuum salespeople. Callers ask us for basic information about the business but also want to try to substantiate claims that the vacuum doubles as an air purifier and can reduce illness or rid their floor surfaces of allergens. These claims prompted our callers to contact us to attempt to verify the advertised benefits.
In addition to advertising claims, other elements of the sales pitch or transaction raised some eyebrows:
- Some homeowners reported to us that they felt pressured to allow for a demonstration of the product and, later, to purchase the product. (One elderly woman said two salesmen sat on her porch until she agreed to let them in.)
- Some companies enticed homeowners to invite them to do a sales presentation by offering free prizes or, in one case, promising to donate $100 to charity. (The charity was contacted to confirm the donation but the homeowner was told there was no relationship between the charity and the business.)
- Calls to the business to learn more about prize promotions did not provide a clear explanation. In a few cases, we learned homeowners invited the business to do the sales presentation with the understanding a prize or gift would follow, but follow up calls to the business provided no answers.
In order to answer the growing number of inquiries, your BBB would like to offer some tips for our callers.
If you receive a prize promotion¦:
…read the information carefully. There may be a disclaimer stating the offer is only void if you make a purchase and rules may vary. If you aren’t sure, call the number and ask questions.
If a salesperson comes to your door¦:
- and you are not interested in hearing the presentation or purchasing an item, request they leave and record your address on their do not solicit list;
- after you have already notified them you are not interested, ask for the company phone number and manager’s name. Contact the manager and follow up with the police department if need be.
If you are interested in the product¦:
- ask the salesperson if he/she has a solicitor’s license and identification.
- then ask for the full company name, location, phone number, and manager’s name. Contact the BBB to obtain a Business Review on the company before signing a contract.
- ask the salesperson to substantiate any specific claims he/she might be making about the product. They may have literature that provides more information or can put you in touch with a company representative who can answer your questions.do your own research before purchasing. Look for information on the company and the product before deciding to buy.
If you purchase the product¦:
- make sure you have something in writing that provides the company’s contact information as well as your salesperson’s name.
- ask for the cancellation policy. Let them know you are aware of your right to cancel within 3 business days according to the FTC’s Cooling Off Rule and ask for the written policy noting how you are to cancel with the company. (Know that in Indiana Saturday is considered a business day, and the day you sign the contract counts as the first day.)