In the summer months, scammers take advantage of the good weather to stalk neighborhoods. Going door-to-door with different scams to steal personal information and money.
Some sales people may be trustworthy, working for legitimate companies or are “one-man-bands” selling their services for honest summer maintenance work. But there are also scammers out there “posing” as these honest sales people.
Many consumers report yard work and paving scams at this time of the year. Sales people offer to pave their driveways or complete other outside maintenance and ask for payment upfront for materials. In some cases the scammers take the money and are never seen again, other times the scammers complete the task but with horrible results. It’s important to know what to look for when being approached by these sales people to keep you and your property safe.
Here are some tips when dealing with door-to-door sales people:
Do your research. If a person is selling lawn care services, driveway paving, or magazines, you can always tell the person you are interested, but to come back at another time. This way you have time to look up their Business Review on www.bbb.org. If there is a warning or “F” rating, you know not to accept the offer. If there is no Business Review, which is sometimes the case for one-person operations, do a quick Google search. If nothing comes up, ask around the neighborhood to see if anyone else has done business with the person.
Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics. If a sales person is making you feel uncomfortable on your own property, whether it be by aggressive selling or pitching a personal sob story, remember that they are on your property and you can ask them to leave. If they are persistent, get inside and call the police.
Never pay upfront. If you are paying for a service, make sure the work is being done to your satisfaction – before you pay. If it’s a product, get a receipt for payment.
Get all promises in writing. If you decide to do business with a door-to-door sales person, make sure to get total price, all services and approximate start and end time of any service work. Get it written in a contract! If you are purchasing a product, make sure to get a receipt. If it’s some sort of subscription, and they promise there are no hidden fees, get it in writing.
For more advice on avoiding summer vacation scams, visit www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.