Summer pests come in many forms: mosquitoes, wasps and door-to-door salesmen.
Don’t fall prey to the scammers who swarm during warm weather season. They peddle everything from steaks to home security systems.
Their opening lines vary from “working in the neighborhood” to “only want a minute of your time.” Many offer legitimate products at some savings.
The unscrupulous are among them, however, and consumers would be smart to remember these scams to watch out for.
The Cooling-Off Rule
When you buy an item through door-to-door sales or from a salesperson away from their company’s permanent place of business, the Federal Trade Commission has a Cooling-Off Rule that gives you three days to cancel a purchase of $25 or more. Your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale.
The salesperson is required by law to tell you about your cancellation rights at the time of the sale, and must give you two copies of a cancellation form – one to keep and one to send – and a dated copy of your contract or receipt.
Find more information about the Cooling-Off Rule by visiting www.consumer.ftc.gov and clicking on “Looking for a refund?”
When a solicitor knocks on your door to sell you merchandise or contractor services, first ask yourself how badly you need what they are selling. If you haven’t already felt the need for it enough to seek it out, perhaps it is the sort of thing you should purchase after careful comparison-shopping. The sudden attractiveness of a salesperson’s pitch may be a sign that you are being talked into something you should not buy.
Six BBB tips for protection when selecting a contractor:
1. Research the contractor at www.bbb.org. Don’t decide at your front door and don’t invite the solicitor into your home.
2. Get their identification and information and decide on your own time.
3. High-pressure sales tactics are a sign you should avoid the contractor.
4. Check credentials: insurance, license and registration with the state of Kansas.
5. Get everything in a written contract, including payment schedule.
6. Remember the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule.
Report any deceptive or illegal business practices to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-432-2310 or by visiting www.ag.ks.gov. Check out a contractor with the Wichita Area Builders Association at www.wabahome.com.
Finally, contact the Better Business Bureau with questions or complaints, or to check on the record of a business that has had a salesperson knock on your door.