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The Better Business Bureau offers advice for ensuring you don't get cheated or pressured into an unwise purchase.

While a witty salesperson knocking at your door with the hottest new vacuum is more fit for the 1950s, there are still a few industries that heavily utilize this sales method.

Today, most companies that capitalize on door-to-door sales offer home solutions such as security systems, solar panel installation, or exterior maintenance. Many door-to-door salespeople are legitimate; however, there are a select few that may not be the most reputable operation.

Since most consumers today aren't receptive to solicitors knocking at their door, a strategic approach is used to start the conversation. The person may claim that their company is working on a neighbor's home and is offering inspections to those living nearby. This tactic is especially common after a natural disaster occurs as "storm chasers" offer free inspections to affected families.

Although not all storm chasers are scammers necessarily, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make big promises they can't deliver.

Better Business Bureau compiled a list of tips should a company come knocking at your door to offer their services this summer.

Verify the individual and the company

Ask for identification and licensing. A reputable seller will provide all the information asked of them, including a photo ID and a business card.

Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a peddler or solicitor license/permit. Research your local jurisdiction for the requirements and ask if the salesperson has applied for proper licensing/permits.

Do not feel pressured to make a decision

If you are genuinely interested in the product or service, listen to what the salesperson has to say and ask for informative materials you can look at on your own.

Given the nature of an in-person sales pitch, there will be plenty of tactics to close the sale that very same day. Do not give in to the pressure, especially if the person claims the "one-time" offer is only valid if you act now.

If you'd like to proceed, get everything in writing including price, contract details and all other terms and conditions. Tell the salesperson the proposal will be reviewed, and a decision will be made — whether you need time to yourself while they wait or you ask them to come back at a later time.

Verify the physical address and valid contact information for the company are included. Read all the terms and conditions carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Also be sure to look up the business on BBB.org to view their accreditation status, ratings, potential consumer alerts, complaint history, responsiveness and verified customer reviews

Know your rights

The Federal Trade Commission's three-day cooling-off rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller's permanent place of business.

Along with a receipt, salespeople should also include a completed cancellation form that customers can send to the company to cancel the agreement. By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.

Lastly, if you simply do not want anyone knocking at your door no matter their affiliations, a visible "no soliciting" sign will help. Most salespeople will respect the notice and move on to the next house. However, if you happen to still receive a knock at your door, your options to report it will vary depending on your local state and city solicitation laws.

Since many cities require a license or permit that requires the registrant to adhere to specific guidelines, you can report an unwelcomed visit to your local regulatory and law enforcement agencies — that is why it's important to collect identification and company information.

Visit BBB.org for more consumer tips on how to hire companies within specific industries.

Logan Hickle is public relations and communications manager for the Better Business Bureau.


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