With the summer door-knocking season underway, the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin (BBB) is warning consumers about deceptive sales tactics.
BBB urges consumers to stay alert for unreliable solicitors and to have a plan in place when it comes to door-to-door salespeople.
Though many door-to-door salespeople operate honestly and represent reputable businesses, there are others who are only looking to make a sale and move on as quickly as possible – often leaving customers wondering if they’ll receive the product or service they’ve paid for or if they have just been scammed.
A classic tactic of less than-than-reputable solicitors is to tell consumers they have extra product leftover from another job and will perform the work for a minimal cost. Professional contractors typically know how much product is needed for a job and rarely have material left over.
“Wisconsin summer is finally here and the warm weather will bring salespeople to our front doors offering asphalt paving, home improvements, alarm systems, and more,” says Jim Temmer, BBB Serving Wisconsin CEO/president. “It’s very important to inquire about licensing and research the business before signing any contracts.”
BBB offers the following tips on door-to-door solicitations:
Ask for identification. A reputable seller will provide you with all of the information you request, including a photo ID and a business card containing the business name, address, and phone number.
Verify the individual and the business. If you’re interested in doing business with the solicitor, get everything in writing. Tell the solicitor you will look into it and get back to them if interested.
Read the contract. Make sure you understand and agree to all of the terms and conditions before signing a contract. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics.
Inquire about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople have a solicitor’s license. Ask the salesperson to show you their solicitor’s license. If you’re unsure if your city requires a permit, contact your city offices.
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 business to cancel the agreement. By law, the business must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
Consumers who have issues with door-to-door salespeople can contact their local police department. File a complaint with BBB using our online complaint form. Learn about scams in your area and report scams to our BBB Scam Tracker.
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For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube.