Door-to-door sales scams to watch for this summer

Sales scams you should watch for this summer
Posted at 8:22 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 13:27:26-04

BOISE, Ida. — The summer selling season is getting underway now, meaning homeowners should be on the lookout as salespeople knock on their doors.

The Better Business Bureau says scammers will often pose as door-to-door salespeople from home improvement or home security systems companies. Many trustworthy companies do solicit door-to-door, but con artists copy the practices in high pressure or deceptive ways. In 2018, over 500,000 consumers across North America used BBB resources to research information about home security companies. Home security sales ranked #26 for the most complaints filed with BBB. Consumers complained about dishonest and misleading sales pitches as well as feeling like they got scammed.

One way consumers can be deceived are by sales pitches that offer free services if the customer just displays the company's sign in their yard. What seems like a great opportunity for free home security can often get the homeowner tied into a contract that ends up costing them in the end.

Scammers also see yard signs for popular home security systems and pretend to be a representative, telling homeowners they're upgrading the equipment, offering a better package, or will create another deceptive story to get homeowners to sign a new contract. The unsuspecting homeowner is left handing over their private information and money for a product they will not receive.

There are ways to pick out reputable businesses from the scammers. Start by doing your research. If you're interested in what they're selling, tell the salesperson to come back at a later time. Get as much information about the business as possible and look them up online. You should be able to find their business profile on the BBB website.

Don't forget to ask for the salesperson's identification. Any legitimate salesperson should be able to provide identification (like a permit, business license or business card) for both themselves and their company.

Resist high-pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give consumers time to think through the deal. Avoid sellers who need an immediate answer, offer “once in a lifetime” or “today only” deals and put pressure into signing a contract.

Get information in writing. When making a deal with the salesperson, be sure to get a receipt or written contract of any special terms and conditions, complete costs, payment timelines and warranty information.

The Better Business Bureau has a number of resources to help you give, hire, and buy wisely on the agency's website. You can also follow the local BBB on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don't forget to stay up-to-date on the latest scams through the BBB Scam Tracker here.