Think before buying from door-to-door salesmen
Daylight-saving-time means door-to-door solicitors will be hitting the gate soon as the sun comes out and temperatures begin to escalate. The BBB begins to receive a surge of inquiries regarding door-to-door solicitors in the area.
Marketing everything from magazine subscriptions, alarm systems, cleaning supplies and all types of handyman work, door-to-door salespeople typically hit the pavement from mid-March through the end of September.
Many legitimate companies use door-to-door sales as a component of their marketing plan, and various city ordinances have been put in place to regulate door-to-door solicitations to protect East Texas residents from unscrupulous individuals. However, the BBB cautions residents to be watchful for individuals will try to work their way around the system to line their pockets.
The BBB advises consumers to 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 cash payment. Beware of fly-by-night contractors and fast talkers who are just looking to make an extra buck.
If visited by a door-to-door sales representative, the BBB recommends consumers:
Research the company with the BBB. Visit bbb.org to view the company's BBB Business Review to find out more about their marketplace performance. If it's difficult to find information on the company, consider working with another company.
Deal with local companies, not only to help the local economy, but also so the company is accessible should you need them to return to fulfill a warranty or for other reasons.
Read and understand the contract before signing. Get any verbal promises in writing. Include start and completion dates in the contract. Never sign any contract that has blank spaces.
Further protect yourself by paying with a credit card -- rather than cash -- in order to take advantage of the consumer protections provided.
Remember the "Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule." The Federal Trade Commission's rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases of more than $130 (increased from $25) that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller's permanent place of business.
Always get a receipt. By law, the company must give consumers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
Seek at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the same specifications, materials and labor needed to complete the project. Homeowners should discuss bids in detail with each contractor and ask questions about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced contractor may not be the best.