(BBB) – Millions of homeowners seek to secure their homes, families, and belongings with a home security system (often called a burglar alarm). Better Business Bureau has received numerous inquiries from people researching security system companies.
BBB has also received many complaints from consumers about less-than-ethical companies attempting to get them to switch their alarm service. This is often done by a door-to-door salesman claiming to be the consumer’s current provider and offering an “upgrade” or by saying their current alarm service is out of business or was sold to the door-to-door salesperson’s business.
Many door-to-door salespeople are legitimate, but others might only be looking to make a sale and then, move on. BBB recommends people have a plan in place when they hear that knock at their door:
- Verify the individual and the company. A legitimate salesperson should not have a problem with having their identity checked with a quick phone call to the company. Research the company and contact them to check if the salesperson is in fact an employee. Read the company’s Business Profile and customer reviews at BBB.org.
- Ask about permits. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a peddler or solicitor license. Ask if the salesperson has checked in with the city and gotten proper licensing. Not sure? Call the city or township offices to verify.
- Read the contract closely. 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.
- 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. In Canada, the cooling-off period varies by province.
- Stand strong. Be careful about allowing strangers into your home. If you do allow a salesperson inside your home and decide during the presentation that you are not interested in making a purchase, simply ask them to leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, tell them you will call the police – and follow through if they do not leave immediately. Source: BBB.org
For more information on federal laws on door-to-door sales: In the United States, check out the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).