Door-to-door sales reminder comes from Opportunity Inc.’s knock

By Dale Dixon/ Trust Evangelist

This is a good time for a reminder: You have rights when someone knocks on your door and wants you to buy something.

Just yesterday (June 28), I received an email from a man in Boise who lives off Plateau Drive. He was approached by a group called “Opportunity, Inc.” The salesman said he was working with the group that provided a second chance to inner city kids or kids with problems.

He had no literature about the program, no card, no Boise office, and no solicitor’s permit. He said the group was working from the Boise Hotel and Conference Center, and claimed that they travel a lot.

Anytime someone knocks on your door to sell something, ask for a solicitor’s permit. The permit I typically issued by the city clerk’s office. City ordinance is clear: the permit must be carried by every solicitor. If the sales person doesn’t have it, tell them they’re operating illegally and you’re calling police and Better Business Bureau. Follow through. You’ll be the neighborhood hero.

If they have the permit, ask for the business’s name and city in which it is based, and ask them to wait a moment at the door, you’re going to check it out with BBB.

Go to our website, http://snake-river.bbb.org/Find-Business-Reviews/, type in the business name and location and within seconds you’ll see a rating, customer reviews and complaint information. Then, it’s up to you to decide if you want to buy.

BBB checked Opportunity, Inc., in Chicago, and could find no report. That is a red flag. BBB maintains a database of millions of companies. If you can’t find a business through BBB, do more research.

Other tips include:

  • 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 buy, simply ask him or her to leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, call the police.
  • Verify the person 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 place 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.
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