|The Case of the Smooth-Talking Swindler|
Eighty-four year old Dorothy thought that Steven looked like such a nice young man. Very polite. Smartly dressed. Working his way through college. Standing there on her front doorstep, Steven explained that his company could offer her a great deal on a brand new vacuum cleaner and all she had to do was allow him to demonstrate the machine and Dorothy would receive a voucher for a free trip to Mexico. How could she say no to a free trip?
Dorothy allowed him into her home and the 30 minute demonstration turned into three hours. He talked so fast and made everything sound so good. She told him she needed to think about it but he said that she had to make a decision right away as it was a time-limited offer. Dorothy ended up buying a brand new vacuum cleaner from him for $3,000 and he took her used vacuum cleaner as a trade-in, knocking $500 off the purchase price. Because her hand shakes quite a bit, he wrote out the cheque for her and Dorothy signed it. The cheque was cashed right away.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
In this case, Dorothy contacted both Consumer Protection BC and the police. She learned that Steven had perpetrated the same scam on 25 other seniors. Fraud charges were brought against Steven. Each year, Consumer Protection BC and the police deal with consumers who have been conned by scam artists. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into buying and be sure to comparison shop.
If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a consumer in British Columbia, please contact Consumer Protection BC toll free at 1-888-564-9963, or visit or corporate website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca. You can also follow Consumer Protection BC on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook and read our blog for valuable consumer tips. The “What Would You Do?” columns were written by Consumer Protection BC to raise consumer awareness during Fraud Prevention Month.
Links to all Fraud Prevention Month Case Studies: