Warmer weather means new gardens, the return of birds, baseball season, and door-to-door solicitors. Unfortunately, not all door-to-door solicitors are trying to save you money, some may be out to scam you. According to the AARP, people age 60 and above are at a higher risk to be victims of door-to-door scams. This demographics is at a higher risk because retired people are more likely to be home during the day when solicitors are making their rounds, may be less likely to slam the door in a solicitors face and less likely to report the crime. Door-to-door solicitors offer a variety of goods and services, including magazine subscriptions, food, energy audits, home and property maintenance, and charity donations. The list goes on.
Not all solicitors are up to no good and there are a number of things that residents can do to protect themselves. Many door-to-door scam artists exhibit behavior that can tip you off. Some things you should look for include, but not limited to, the seller becoming aggressive when you say no; asking to use the bathroom or telephone; not offering a receipt for purchases; not charging sales tax for goods or charging a higher-than-normal sales tax. If the solicitor states that the money will be going to a charity, the claim can be verified against a list of all of registered charities maintained by the state Attorney General. The USDA recommends the following guidelines if purchasing meat or other food: ask for a brochure of the company; check to see if the vehicle has refrigeration; check the labels of the meat; ask to see the sales permit; and ask where the meat was inspected.
Louisville Metro Police Department offers an online form available online that people interested in purchasing from a door-to-door salesman can use. The form can be filled out by the solicitor prior to purchase and has spaces for the solicitor to provide their company’s insurance information and other required solicitor information. This form also has the telephone number to call the LMPD for verification or to report a scam. Remember, if a seller becomes too aggressive, you should always call the police.
What are your rights as a consumer? According to Kentucky State law, if you purchase a good or service at your house and the cost was more than $25, you have three days to cancel the order. The contract that comes with your purchase should include the following verbiage:
“If this agreement was solicited at your residence and you do not want the goods or services, you may cancel this agreement by mailing a notice to the seller. The notice must say that you do not want the goods or services and the notice must by mailed before midnight of the third business day after you sign this agreement. The notice must be mailed to: (sellers name and address).”
Many people are not out to scam you, but the unfortunate truth is that there are also many people who are looking for a quick buck and are not concerned with how they get it. Always be cautious of solicitors and the goods and services that they are selling to best protect your home and yourself.