3 On Your Side: Door-To-Door Sales Scams

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A knock at the door recently interrupted Gretchen Kennedy while she was working from home. When she opened it, she saw two young men on her porch.

“They said that they were selling magazines,” Kennedy said. “I said I wasn’t interested and I said that I declined several times.”

But she finally caved in because they said it would help charter schools but the magazine never arrived. When she complained, the company never responded.

“It angers me that, that someone would do, pull the fundraising card,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy fell victim to one of the latest door-to-door sales scams out there.

“They will normally try to pull at your heart strings, pull at your purse strings,” said Carrie Hurt of the Better Business Bureau.

In 2010 the B.B.B. got 600 complaints about door-to-door sales and in 2011 that number more than doubled to 1300 and it’s up again already for 2012. There are complaints from consumers who say they never got what they paid for and were victims of aggressive sellers using high pressure tactics.

“They will use something like, you know, using the safety of your family, your home isn’t safe,” Hurt said.

Elliott Shouse knows that tactic. Unemployed in a bad economy, he took a job selling windows door to door.

He says he quit after the first day when the sales instructor suggested, “Go into the kids rooms and if the windows didn’t open to tell the people that their kids would die if they didn’t buy these products.”

The newest products racking up complaints today include security systems, produce and meats, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, photography sales and magazines. The company Kennedy paid has an “F” rating with the B.B.B. and more than 170 complaints.

“I was angry that I was duped,” Kennedy said.

If someone knocks on your door trying to sell you something, take their business card, research the company and its products. Tell the salesperson that you’ll call them back if you want to do business.

For more information on how to deal with them, visit:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro03
http://austin.bbb.org/article/dont-get-heated-by-high-pressure-door-to-door-salespeople-34392

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