Watch Out for Door to Door Sales Schemes

Updated 23 weeks ago by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today urged consumers to beware of scammers traveling door-to-door to sell fake magazine subscriptions.
Morrisey’s warning comes after the Attorney General’s Office received a number of calls about teens and young adults going to homes and asking consumers to purchase magazine subscriptions, often claiming they are selling magazines to earn college scholarships or tuition, or raising money for a class field trip.  These door-to-door sales operations frequently use misleading and high-pressure sales tactics.

“With the weather warming up, consumers may come in contact with more door-to-door salesmen who show up on their doorsteps offering goods or services,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We have received calls about this potential scam from residents in Wood County, but it can happen anywhere in the state. Consumers should never enter into a contract or make a purchase solely based on a doorstep sales pitch. Always take the time to do your homework before making a purchase.”

The West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act requires that consumers be advised of their three-day cancellation rights in writing, or such contracts may be voided. However, cancellation of agreements and consumer refunds often are very difficult if the sales crew is not affiliated with a legitimate business.

“Some scammers can be very convincing in their sales pitch, and some of the door-to-door offers appear to be very good deals for the consumer while at the same time appearing to help a young adult fulfill his or her goals and dreams,” Morrisey said. “I urge consumers to be very cautious if they are approached by someone with a too-good-to-be-true offer.”

When dealing with door-to-door salesmen, remember:
  • Obtain the name, address and phone number of the company the salesman represents. Verify the company’s details by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, the Better Business Bureau, or Secretary of State’s Office.
  • Contact the company directly to verify legitimacy of the salesman.
  • Get the details of the offer in writing and carefully review them. Do not accept verbal promises not included in the contract.
  • Do not make a purchase unless you are given a written contract containing notice of your three-day right to cancel and the complete name and address of the seller.
  • Never pay cash, and do not make any payment until the product is actually delivered and you are satisfied that it is what you ordered.
  • Never allow the seller into your home.
Consumers may contact the Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 800-368-8808 for information and to inquire about complaints filed against businesses. Consumers who may have been taken advantage of by these types of subscription offers are urged to file a report with the Consumer Protection Division by calling 800-368-8808 or by going online to www.wvago.gov.
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