While there are many legitimate door-to-door sales companies out there, it’s important to know how to recognize the bad operators. Here are a few ways to spot a door-to-door sales company with unlawful business practices.
Your door, your rules
In BC, there are rules when it comes to legitimate door-to-door sales, which means that you have rights. In any industry there may be bad operators, but it helps if you know how to spot them.
And remember, you don’t have to make a quick decision – take your time and do what feels right to you. After all, it’s your door, your rules.
How to spot the bad operators
- You feel pressured to make a quick decision. Yes, sometimes this can be a sales tactic – however, if you need more time, the company or salesperson should respect that.
- You get asked for an illegal down payment. If you’re asked to make a down payment, it can’t be more than 10 per cent of the total cost or $100 – whichever is less. If a salesperson is asking you for more than that, you are dealing with a company that is not following the law.
- You’re offered a suspicious sounding rebate or environmental incentive. Sometimes these tactics can be exploited. If you are ever unsure about a particular rebate offered by a government agency or utility company like BC Hydro or FortisBC, do your research and contact the source directly before you agree to anything. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, FortisBC does not solicit door-to-door. They will only come to come to your door to provide information or assistance on your utility service, not to sell you appliances or programs.
- You don’t get a copy of the contract at the time of signing. You must receive a copy of the contract at the time of signing or the contract is not binding.
- The information about financing seems unclear. If the financing information seems buried in the contract or you can’t get a clear answer on the total cost, be cautious! This information should be made available to you so you can make an informed decision before you sign the contract.
Know who to contact if there is a problem
We regulate certain aspects of door to door sales contracts, such as the contract requirements and your cancellation rights. If you have questions or concerns about your rights when it comes to door-to-door sales, start by exploring the information on our website. Then if you believe that our laws have been broken, you can submit a complaint to us.
Think it might be a scam?
Learn what door to door scams to watch out for. A scam is different than a business with potentially unlawful business practices. If you can’t seem to find any information about the business online, they’re not answering your calls, or the business seems to have run off with your money, it could be a scam. If you think you’ve been scammed, talk to your local police or report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Knowledge is power. Help yourself and others when it comes to door-to-door sales.
We have lots of information and tools to help you make informed decisions around door-to-door sales. Brush up on your knowledge and share what you know with the people you care about. The important thing to remember is that there are rules when it comes to these transactions. Take your time before you sign anything and talk to someone you trust if you’re unsure. You got this.
Learn more about door-to-door sales in BC
What needs to be in the contract
How to say no
What questions to ask
Know your cancellation rights
Learn what scams to watch out for
Hear a real story
Learn how to spot the bad operators
Where do we fit in?
Our organization is responsible for overseeing certain aspects of these contracts, like contract requirements and your cancellation rights. Learn more about when we can step in and help.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
4 thoughts on “Door-to-door sales: how to spot the bad operators”
That is the reason we installed an outdoor camera to let us know who is at the door. The indoor monitor lets us know how the person is dressed and whether she-he is carrying papers to advertise what he wants to sell.
Hi Pat, thanks for your comment – that is certainly a good idea!
Thanks for the advice. Can you tell me how to dissuade the Jehovah’s Witness people?
Hello and thank you for contacting us. With any door-to-door sales or solicitations, I would take the same approach. If you are not interested, it is ok to say no. We have listed many ways to say no in another blog post and you can read about it here. I hope it’s helpful to you!