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Better Business Bureau cautions consumers against itinerant sellers

Better Business Bureau Serving Western VirginiaBBB Serving Western VA is warning consumers of the rise of itinerant sellers and workers coming into our area. They may offer to sell you all kinds of products and services, such as paving services, magazines, and meat and seafood. Some traveling workers and sellers are legitimate, but others are trying to take your money, never to be seen again.

This week, BBB received a call from a consumer stating that they had paid an itinerant paver that was going door-to-door $9,900 to pave his driveway. The paver used materials diluted with gasoline, making a huge mess. The check was cashed before the victim could stop the payment. The paver was in a white half-body pickup truck with West Virginia tags. This example illustrates the types of issues which can occur with door-to-door solicitors.

BBB is offering these tips to protect consumers:

  • Be wary of unsolicited offers. Someone knocks on your door and wants to give you a quote to seal or pave your driveway or repair your roof.  They typically say they were in the neighborhood or have just completed a job close by and have materials left over. Most leftover material is not adequate to complete a new job.
  • Watch out for deals that seem “Too good to be true.” If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of the work will be low as well.
  • Ask for identification and license/permit. A company should provide you with information, including name, address and company association on a business card and proof of solicitation permit, if required for your area. Do not let any stranger in your home.
  • Research companies and contractors on BBB.org.
  • Contact your local city or county government to see if the company is licensed to do business in your area. Many cities require a peddlers or solicitors license to sell door-to-door.
  • Get everything in writing. If you are interested in a product or service, get everything in writing including price, contract details and all other terms and conditions. Read all the terms and conditions carefully before signing.
  • Take your time and get competitive quotes.
  • Don’t give in to pressure. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics and be aware that anything you sign could construe a contract.
  • 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. By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
  • Use safe payment methods. Paying with a credit card is the best practice since the credit card company will likely offer some recourse if the company is fraudulent. Do not pay using gift cards or other non-traditional forms of payment.

augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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