Warm weather and sunny days mean people are coming out of their winter indoor hibernation, including door-to-door solicitors. And, with the summer travel season underway, homeowners are looking to secure their home while they’re away.
After receiving more than 20,000 inquiries and nearly 20 complaints about security and surveillance related companies last year, BBB has tips to help you pick out the good apples from the bad ones.
Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, says sometimes it can be difficult to determine a credible salesperson from a dishonest one. “There are some legitimate solicitors out there who use unethical sales tactics,” she says. “That’s why it’s important for people to know what to look for before signing on the dotted line and opening their wallet.”
When someone knocks on the door, follow these BBB tips for safe and secure door-to-door sales:
- Ask for credentials. Always ask for identification and licensing. Keep in mind that some businesses are not required to carry a direct seller license. Check with Service Alberta to find out which companies require licensing.
- Beware of high-pressure sales tactics. Some alarm salespeople have been known to use fear to fuel sales. A vendor might spin tales of neighbourhood break-ins (which may or may not be true) to get you motivated to buy. Don’t be manipulated by emotions – use logic to make your purchasing decisions as much as possible.
- Beware of time-sensitive offers. Don’t be pressured to take advantage of a time-sensitive offer. Take time to decide whether you’re sure you want the product and do some comparison shopping first.
- Get it in writing. Be sure you receive a written contract or receipt that clearly explains the details of your purchase and all of the terms and conditions that apply.
- Remember the “10-day Cooling-Off Rule.” Under certain conditions, the Fair Trading Act gives consumers 10 days to cancel certain purchases. Along with a receipt, the salesperson should always provide a cancellation form that can be sent to the company to cancel the purchase.
- Stand strong. Remember you are not obligated to invite unsolicited salespeople into your home. If you are feeling pressured, close the door. If you do allow a salesperson inside and decide you aren’t interested, simply ask them to leave.
- Research the company with BBB. Visit bbb.org to view the company’s BBB Business Review to view complaint details, ratings, customer reviews and more.
For more information about door-to-door solicitors, licensing and contract specifications and other tips, visit Service Alberta.