Guest Editorial by the Better Business Bureau
We’re starting to see them back on the streets: door-to-door salespeople. They’re out there offering meat, paving services, magazine subscriptions, security alarms, or other products and services.
While many door-to-door salespeople are legitimate, others may be looking to make a sale and then move on. Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York recommends people have a plan in place when hearing that ring or knock at the door:
√ Ask about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a peddler or solicitor license. Ask if the salesperson has checked in with the city and gotten proper licensing. Not sure? Call the city or township offices to verify.
√ Check identification. A reputable seller will provide all the information asked of them, including a photo ID and a business card.
√ Verify the individual and the company. A legitimate salesperson should not have a problem with having their identity checked with a quick phone call to the company. Research the company and contact them to check if the salesperson is, in fact, an employee. Read the company’s Business Profile and customer reviews at www.BBB.org.
√ Read the contract closely. If you are interested in a product or service, get everything in writing, including price, contact details, and other terms and conditions. Tell the salesperson you want to review the proposal, and then you will make a decision. Verify the physical address and valid contact information for the company are included. Read all the terms and conditions carefully before signing on the dotted line.
√ Don’t give in to pressure. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics, and be aware that anything you sign could construe a contract.
√ Do the math. Paying $30 to $40 per month for magazine subscriptions may not sound like much, but it can add up. Be wary of automatically renewing subscriptions, and make sure you check the average subscription costs for any magazine that interests you. Most magazines have detachable postcards inside with some of the lowest rates available.
√ 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 company to cancel the agreement. By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
√ Stand strong. Be careful about allowing strangers into your home. If you do allow a salesperson inside your home and decide during the presentation that you are not interested in making a purchase, simply ask them to leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, tell them you will call the police – and follow through if they do not leave immediately.
People who have issues with door-to-door solicitors can file a complaint on BBB.org, as well as with their local law enforcement.