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Beware of Door to Door Sales

The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection warns county residents after a Levittown letter writer encounters an alarm system salesperson.

Q.      I had a sales person come to my door at eight o’clock Friday night.  He was selling alarm systems.  Knowing that I was a senior citizen, he played on my fear of living alone. He talked me into buying the system by telling me the installation would be free and I would just pay a monthly service fee. Now that I’m looking it over I would be stuck in a five year contract with a termination clause. By the end of the contract I would have paid a small fortune. Is this a scam?  A.G., Levittown 


A.      Consumers need to beware of anyone selling door to door. They tend to use high pressure to sell their service or product. 

When they have finally broken down the homeowner a contract is signed. Since the contract is signed in the home, every consumer has the right to the three-day cooling off period or what is commonly called the three-day right to rescission.

A giant red flag should go up if the salesman advises you that his installer can do the installation immediately or the very next day. By doing that you are effectively giving up the right to cancel, which quite frankly is what they want you to do. 

If a consumer has the opportunity to sleep on the proposal and thoroughly read the terms and conditions, most would never agree to the contract. Also the company is not giving the consumer a chance to shop around to get other estimates to see if they could get a better deal with another company. 

Many municipalities, including Lower Southampton, require a permit to solicit door to door. Never allow anyone in your home without the proper permit and proper identification.

If you are interested in getting an alarm service in your home, check around to compare service and prices. Get the best deal you can get. Most likely it isn’t with the door to door salesperson.

According to the Lower Southampton Township website, all solicitors must have a permit; carry an ID and a permit card and must produce them upon demand by any resident; and be professional and courteous to solicit in the township.

In addition to requesting to see the solicitor's permit and ID, the township advises Lower Southampton residents to never let anyone into their homes without proper ID and permit; not tolerate unprofessional, abusive, threatening behavior or high pressure sales tactics; and should contact law enforcement or zoning on noticing any suspicious activity or solicitors not complying with the rules.

Nicole Jenet July 30, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Have you ever been in a similar situation with a solicitor?
Capt. Obvious July 31, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I know some little unmarked white box truck keeps trying to sell me meat while I'm cutting my lawn :) Like I'm buying meat from an anonymous truck that shows up randomly at my front lawn. But someone must, or they wouldn't bother.

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