Door to door business scams
How the scam works
The suspect provides a quote at a reduced rate and the owner agrees, providing a portion of the money up front. The fraudster does not complete the job and goes on to another victim. Once a contract has been agreed upon, this often becomes a civil issue and may not be a criminal one. This leaves the business owner to take civil court action against someone they don’t know and a company that truly doesn’t exist.
Whether you own a residence or a business, you could be a target. Please exercise caution when approached by anyone offering a service or product where money is exchanged before the contract is fulfilled.
Uninvited businesses that operate door to door are required to provide contracts for their services and products. These contracts are regulated by Consumer Protection BC.
Know whom you are dealing with. Personnel from these businesses should have no problem providing identification and documentation.
Confirm your seller’s name, address and telephone number. Employees should know the company address and phone number.
If an offer is too good to be true, it almost always is. Products and services priced way below market value should cause some red flags.
Call the businesses’ customer service line. Check to see if the phone number works. If it does, ask them questions.
Know your cancellation rights. BC’s consumer contracts regulation gives you 10 days to cancel your door-to-door sales contract for any reason. You also have up to a year to cancel if your contract doesn’t include certain information (such as the business’s name, total price and payment terms).
Be cautious of down payments and keep a copy of your contract. BC’s consumer contracts regulation states that if you’re asked to make a down payment, it can’t be more than 10 percent of the total cost or $100 – the lesser of the two. You must also receive a copy of the contract at the time of signing or it’s not binding.
Ask questions about prize incentives. Surveys or prize incentives are tactics that can be used by some door-to-door salespeople who want to gain access to your home and run you through sales presentations. Make an informed decision and be sure you want the service or product before accepting any free gifts.
Do your research. Before signing any contract or committing to a purchase, it’s always a good idea to get more information first. Ask your friends or neighbours about their experience or do some research about the company online. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and Consumer Protection BC to enquire about the business.
Don’t rush. Ask the sales person for some time to think about the purchase. A legitimate salesperson will not pressure you. Remember that it’s also okay to say no.
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