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‘Book dealers’ soliciting in your neighborhood are legitimate

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- Southwestern Advantage, a company headquartered in Nashville, is responsible for sending college students, often foreign students, door-to-door selling educational materials as a summer job.

People in neighborhoods in Madison County have taken to the Nextdoor app to inform the public about these solicitors coming to their doors after 9 p.m., and sometimes as early as 7 a.m.

WHNT News 19 took action and brought those concerns to our partners at the Better Business Bureau.

BBB of North Alabama president Elizabeth Garcia says Southwestern Advantage has an "A plus" rating.

“Any business that has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau has passed rigorous standards for service to consumers and for doing business with consumers," Garcia said. “There are certainly many legitimate door-to-door sales companies that send people around into neighborhoods each year."

However, the BBB website also indicated more than 50 percent of customer reviews were negative. Among the complaints were reports of aggressive sales people and knocking on the door at unusual hours.

"You have a right not to let that person in," Garcia said. "Just because they ask to come in doesn't mean you have to let them in the door."

A Southwestern Advantage spokesperson said their book dealers are trained to use common sense when it comes to knocking at appropriate times of day, but are independent contractors, so ultimately they decide their own schedule.

He said customers can always contact the company's customer service line (888-602-7867) to voice their complaints.

Soliciting is allowed in some neighborhoods, and not allowed in others. Either way, if you ever have concerns about activity in your neighborhood, you can call your local law enforcement to check it out.

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