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BBB Warns: Don’t Fall Victim to High Pressure Door-to-Door Sales This Summer

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By Better Business Bureau

 Better Business Bureau has learned that Sylvan Learning Center of Elizabethtown, Ky. has received reports of two men selling “Sylvan” books door-to-door in Hardin County.

The men are wearing name tags to look like official representatives of the organization, and one even told a consumer he was “an exchange student from Florida,” trying to legitimize sales.

The books are being sold for $130 with the promise of being hand-delivered in August. Sylvan is in no way affiliated with these men, and doesn’t sell books door-to-door at any time.

Salespeople are also targeting Hardin County, by going door-to-door in the Upton area, posing as representatives of the Hardin County School District. While it is unknown if these salespeople are linked to those selling “Sylvan” materials, they are selling phony book sets for $500. The salespeople claim that students will need the books for the next school year.

Diane Jacobi, executive assistant to the Superintendent, said these salespeople pop up almost every summer, and that this summer they have become craftier.

“At times, the salesmen actually know the names of the teachers that the students will have,” Jacobi said. “They personalize it.”

The salespeople have specifically targeted residents on Lucas Grove Road in Upton, which is located on the fringe of the county.

Hardin County residents should remember that the school district will never solicit sales door-to-door for a fundraiser. If ever, residents would receive only one phone call from the school district.

Similar reports of door-to-door salespeople have also come out of the Grayson County School District.

This summer, BBB recommends the following on how to handle door-to-door salespeople:

Listen carefully and be aware of high pressure sales tactics. Some unscrupulous door-to-door sellers will put pressure on you to close the deal at that moment, and even make special offers to entice you. Listen to their tone. Are they increasing in volume as they speak to you? Are they ignoring you despite saying you are not interested? Find a way to end the conversation quickly to avoid long, drawn-out pressure sales pitches.

Stand strong. Do not invite unsolicited salespeople into your home. If you do allow a salesperson inside and decide during the presentation that you are not interested in making a purchase, simply ask him or her to leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, threaten to call the police, and follow through if they don’t leave immediately.

Verify the individual and the company. If you are interested in buying from a door-to-door seller, get everything in writing including price, warranty and all conditions. Tell the salesperson you will check it out and get back to him or her. Ask for a business card and contact information. Look the company up yourself and check to verify this person is an employee. Also, take the time to check out the company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org.

Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are 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 completed cancellation form that customers can send to the company to cancel the agreement. By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.

Victims of fraudulent door-to-door sales can file a complaint with their Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org or 1-800-388-2222, local law enforcement, and your state Attorney General’s office.