Spring officially begins later this month, and as the temperatures get warmer, many door-to-door solicitors have begun hitting the pavement. Typically working through March to September, door to door salespeople market everything from alarm systems, magazine subscriptions, cleaning supplies, handyman work and charitable organizations. Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas (BBB) urges consumers to make smart and safe decisions when answering the door to a salesperson.
Refrain from doing business with those who use high pressure sales tactics, arrive in unmarked vehicles, do not have company letterhead or business cards and require up-front cash payment. Be on the lookout for fly-by-night contractors and fast talkers who are just looking to make a quick buck.
BBB offers the following tips to consider before purchasing anything from a door to door salesperson:
- Be safe. Never invite anyone you don’t know into your home, particularly after dark. If the salesperson refuses to leave and/or if you feel threatened, call the police immediately.
- Ask for identification and information. If someone is selling door to door, request they provide you with proper identification and leave reading materials about their products and services. Check with your city or county regarding the rules for soliciting in your neighborhood. Often times, a special license is required and/or there are restrictions for door-to-door solicitors.
- Be wary of high pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give you time to think through the deal and make an appointment to return at a later date. If they don’t want you to do any research on the business, product or service, you may want to spend your money elsewhere. · Research the company. Go to bbb.org to view the company’s Business Profile and read verified Customer Reviews and complaint history.
- Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel purchases over $25 made at your home.
- Secure your personal information. If somebody comes to your door requesting your account details do not give out your information without verifying that the company is legitimate. Never give out your social security number, driver’s license number or banking details.
- Get it all in writing. Always get estimates in writing and never let any work begin without a signed contract. The contract should include contact information, start and completion dates, detailed description of the work to be completed, any material costs, payment arrangements and warranty information. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract. Ask questions if you are unsure or do not understand any part of the contract. Never sign an incomplete or partially blank contract.
- Remember the rule of thirds and follow it. Pay one third at the start of the project, one third when work is 50 percent completed and one third after completion.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call BBB at 903-581-5704 or use BBB ScamTracker