YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about door-to-door schemes that crop up this time of year and already some of them have hit the Valley.
Howland Alarm Company posted a warning to its customers on Facebook page saying that someone was knocking on doors pretending to be from their company, trying to upgrade services and pressure people into signing a contract and handing over payment. And they aren’t the only ones. Other local companies have reported the same thing.
Cindy Matheson, president of Howland Alarm Company, said customers have called every spring and summer for the past five years reporting door to door schemes.
“They are knocking on doors pushing their way in so to speak and convincing the people that they are there to update or renew their system. Not really saying they are from another company,” Matheson said.
Door to door scammers will look for an alarm sign in the yard and target those houses. Melissa Ames, president of BBB services said they have taken many reports of door to door scams similar to those.
“What we heard from customers is that the person at the door is very aggressive in their sales tactics. They have an answer for everything. They don’t want to listen to what your concerns are,” said Melissa Ames, president of Better Business Bureau Services.
In some scenarios, the schemers will try to get consumers into a multi-year contract and leave town.
Ames said that before you ever open the door for a solicitor, you have to make sure you are ready to say “No.”
“Understand that you don’t know who this person is at your door. Don’t feel compelled to sign anything, to talk to them, to give them any information,” Ames said.
Ames said many communities have a permit policy. If a company is planning on soliciting door to door they must register with the municipality. If you have an uncertainty about who is at your door, you can ask to see the permit. If you are interested in the company, get their information tell them you’ll call them back after you’ve checked references.
The Better Business Bureau has a scam tracker on their website where people can share their scam experience.
Ames said when it doubt, contact the BBB or your local police.