Chances are that you or someone you know has fallen for this one. A person comes to your door selling magazine subscriptions. The money is for a good cause and the salesperson is working his or her way through college. There are dozens of magazines to choose from, and you do love your celebrity gossip and styling tips, and it is a great deal, and…okay. You hand over the money and give them your name and address. Six months later, you’re still waiting for that magazine.
Door-to-door sales scams are plentiful. People will knock on doors offering to sell just about anything, including meat, artwork, candy, appliances, and carpets. Using high-pressure tactics and sometimes intimidation, they try to coerce people into buying something they don’t want or need. When money has exchanged hands, the victims often never receive the promised goods. Even if they do receive their products, they usually find they have overpaid for sub-standard merchandise.
Scammers have no shame. They will use whatever it takes to get to your money. Salespeople have been known to spend hours trying to persuade victims to spend thousands of dollars on an appliance. Exhausted and desperate to get the stranger out of their house, they finally agree to the sale. A woman in her 80s, nearly blind, paid door-to-door con artists for 200 years’ worth of magazine subscriptions.
This is not to say that young, perfectly healthy people can’t fall victim to the same swindle. It happens every day. Many people, having already made the mistake of opening the door, pay the peddler just to get rid of him.
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Cooling-Off Rule offers some protection for consumers who make a purchase in their home. Under the rule, you have three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more with a full refund. However, you must be notified about your cancellation rights at the time of purchase and the salesman must provide two copies of a cancellation form and a copy of your contract or receipt. Other restrictions also apply. For more information, visit the FTC web site at www.ftc.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP