of items are sold by door-to-door and telephone salesmen.
Hundreds of dollars can be wasted when consumers buy over-priced
or unplanned and unnecessary items by phone or door-to-door.
complaints regarding door-to-door sales fall into five basic
categories, the Federal Trade Commission says: 1) deceptions
by salesmen in getting inside the house; 2) high-pressure
sales tactics; 3) misrepresentation of the product, price
and quality; 4) high prices for low quality; and 5) nuisance
are some examples of deceptive means used to get inside the
house. They may say they are taking a survey and want your
opinion. Some say they are conducting advertising research.
Some use the pitch they are testing a pilot educational plan
or new product, and want you to participate by trying out
the product. Others may offer you a free gift to let them
demonstrate their product.
they have your attention, high pressure sales techniques are
often used to get you to buy. Some gimmicks that may be used
are: The guilt complex "You wouldn't want to deprive
your children of this opportunity, would you?" The sympathy
approach "I'm working my way through school."
Limited time or quantity "If you don't take advantage
of the special low price today, the price will go up."
idea is to get you to buy immediately, before you have a chance
to think it over or compare prices at the stores in your community.
solicitations range from local sellers to nationwide telemarketing
operations where squads of people use high-tech telephone
equipment to place thousands of calls per day. Just about
anything can be sold by phone. Magazine sales used to be a
big door-to-door item are now commonly sold by phone. Even
gold stocks and light bulbs are now marketed by phone.
to say no. Don't be pressured into making a quick decision.
Make it a firm rule to think the situation out, and don't
buy immediately. Tell the salesman that is your rule. With
a telephone sale, ask the caller to send the information in
writing, and don't promise to buy until you receive the written
it is your money and you are under no obligation to spend
it unless you want or need the product. Be courteous but firm.
Tell the caller you want to discuss it with your spouse or
you are not interested. I usually say "I don't give or
buy through phone solicitation."
Right to Cancel
happens if you buy, and then have second thoughts and want
to change your mind? You have three days to act.
Federal Trade Commission ruling allows you a three-day cooling-off
period to cancel a door-to-door sale if the purchase is $25
salesman must provide a fully completed contract, including
the date of sale, name and address of the seller, and a statement
in large type explaining the right to cancel within three
business days by written notice.
for this statement. "You, the buyer, may cancel this
transaction at any time prior to midnight of the third business
day after the date of this transaction. See the attached notice
of cancellation form for an explanation of this right."
salesman must also provide two copies of a separate notice
of cancellation form. Send one copy to the company and keep
the second for your records.
the sale was made by telephone, the cancellation period shall
not begin until the buyer has been informed of his right to
cancel, and has been provided with copies of the notice of
any payment has been made, the seller must refund the money
within 10 business days of receiving the cancellation notice.
cancelling a sale, you must have the merchandise available
at your home for the salesman to pick up in the same condition
you received it. If you agree to ship the item back, the seller
must pay the shipping costs. If the merchandise is not picked
up within 20 days, the consumer may keep the goods without
obligation. If you do not make the goods available or fail
to ship them back as agreed, you can be held to the terms
of the contract.
cancelling a sale, send the notice by certified mail if possible,
with a return receipt requested so you can prove you cancelled
the sale. Write your own notice of cancellation. Include seller's
name and address. It can be stated simply, such as, "I
hereby cancel the transaction of..." along with the date
of cancellation and your signature.
not covered by this rule include:
total sales under $25;
sales of insurance;
sales of real property (land);
sales of securities or commodities by a broker-dealer who
is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission:
sales initiated by the buyer because of an emergency, and
which the buyer waives the right to cancel; and
sales made during repair or maintenance in the home when
items other than replacement parts are bought.