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June 29, 2021

Watch out for door-to-door scammers

Door-to-door salespeople are the scourge of the earth, says consumer advocate Ellen Roseman. In her view, allowing an army of pushy salespeople to trick people into signing contracts adds no value and should be outlawed.

Amen to that.

Her latest crusade? Shady vendors who offer to upgrade the hot water tanks of those foolish enough to answer the door. The biggest offender in her mind is National Home Services, an outfit many consumers mistakenly confuse with Direct Energy or Enbridge Gas, the companies that look after the bulk of Ontario’s natural gas delivery.

Read these horror stories and you'll see how people get stuck with things they don't want and often don't need.

Sound familiar? If you’re even a little tempted to buy something at the door, exercise some precautions to save yourself from getting duped, say consumer advocates.

* Ask for identification. Don’t let a salesperson into your home

* Do your research. Ask for as much written material about the company and the product as possible and get a contact number for the company he/she represents.

* Check out the company’s BBB Reliability Report before making a purchase or signing a contract.

* Don’t pay with cash. If you’re going to make a purchase, be sure to pay with a check or credit card. That way, if you’re duped, you may still have time to cancel the cheque or report the fraud to your credit card company.

* Don‘t make cheques payable to the salesperson; make all cheques to the company.

* If you sign a contract at the door and change your mind, remember to cancel within the 10-day cooling off period.

* Cancel the contract in writing – by fax, e-mail or registered mail, or by hand delivery. Be sure to keep a copy so you have proof that you cancelled within the allowed time.

Have you been stung by a dubious door-to-door pitch? Water heater or air purifier, how did you fare once you answered the doorbell?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...