Better Business Bureau issues door-to-door sales scam alert for Upstate

The Better Business Bureau also warns that deceptive door-to-door magazine sales crews have been spotted in local communities with high school and college-age employees who are trying to earn money over the summer. Over 1,100 complaints have been filed with the BBB in the last 12 months with more than 50 companies selling magazines door-to-door.

Representative might explain they are working to raise money on behalf of a charity or for a school trip, they're trying to get their lives back on track or even selling subscriptions to support troops in Iraq. "Because of the sales person's age, consumers fall victim and believe the potentially fictitious sales pitch," said Polino. "Most complaints against such companies allege that sales reps took consumers checks and the magazines never arrived, however, some complainants also allege being subjected to high-pressure and misleading sales tactics. Experience tells us that customers aren't the only victims of this scam; the young salespeople are also potentially being taken advantage of by their employers who require long hours, and often have their wages withheld unless they sell something."

Consumers should use caution before agreeing to any door-to-door offer. If contacted by a door-to door salesperson, the BBB recommends these basic guidelines:

*If you're not interested, say good-bye and feel free to shut your door.

*Ask the salesperson for his or her name, and the name, address and telephone number of the company.

*Contact the BBB for a Reliability Report on the company before doing business.

*Ask to receive a written copy of the sales terms.

*Listen carefully and don't be afraid to interrupt and ask questions.

*Make checks payable to the company, not to an individual.

*Do not pay in cash.

*Ask to see the salesperson's Peddler's License. If he will not present it, cease all business transactions and notify the police.

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