Opportunity knocking at your door could be a scam
Summer days bring con artists who prey on homeowners by offering a variety of products and services like pave your driveway with leftover materials from a previous job, mow your lawn or remodel your home for a very low price.
Oftentimes, these fly-by-night operators may drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates, or set up temporary offices from which they can move quickly. Better Business Bureau warns that sometimes these door-to-door solicitations are scams and reminds residents to use caution when considering these services.
Arizona residents are experiencing an increase in door-to-door solicitations from a salesperson offering general home repair services. Consumers allege that a salesperson approaches them by offering to repair their roof for a low price and use leftover material from a previous job. Consumers also allege that a salesperson offering home energy savings approaches with the intention of doing a walk-through of their home and help them out with a good savings plan that will help them with their energy bill.
“While a door-to-door salesperson may look honest, use common sense and caution — you don't have to open the door to people you don't know,” said Matthew Fehling, BBB president/CEO. “Ask questions and check out a business before making any purchase or final decision on the spot.”
To help residents make an informed decision when an opportunity knocks at their door, BBB offers the following tips:
• Use common sense. An emotional story can pull heart strings and make it tempting to give on the spot. To avoid giving your money to scammers, listen to specifics detailing an organization's mission and how the funds will used. By separating the emotional story from the facts, it will help you determine if the cause is in fact legitimate, and if it is something you wish to support.
• Do your research. As with any other purchase, verifying a company's contact information and track record is important. Ask for company details such as a company name and business location along with other important contact information. Verify the company details with BBB (http://www.arizonabbb.org) and then confirm the person is actually associated with the organization.
• Beware of high pressure sales tactics. Keep in mind that door-to-door solicitors might be well trained to use high pressure sales tactics in order to get you to buy their product or donate money. Hold your ground and be careful if you hear statements such as “this offer is only valid for today,” or “I won't be in this area again.” A door-to-door salesperson will attempt to keep you listening until you finally say yes.
• Verify licensing requirements in your area. Licensing and permit requirements for selling door-to-door sales vary by city, with some requiring a peddler's license. Check regulations in your city or town to make sure a seller is in compliance with the law.
• Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission's Cooling-Off Rule gives customers three days to cancel purchases over $25 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 complete cancellation form customers can send to the company to cancel the agreement.
For more information on the Cooling-Off Rule, visit www.ftc.gov.
In addition, companies going door-to door offering home repairs should be checked out with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors at www.azroc.gov or by calling 1-877-692-9762.
Better Business Bureau has a Yuma office at 350 W. 16th St., Suite 205. Yuma County Director Janet Torricellas can be reached at 919-7940 or firstname.lastname@example.org.