There are legitimate door-to-door salespeople in BC. Some are good operators and others may have bad business practices that violate consumer protection laws in BC. Other times, it can be an outright scam. Here are some signs that the person at your door may, in fact, be a scammer.
Your door, your rules
In BC, there are rules when it comes to legitimate door-to-door sales, which means that you have rights. While there are many legitimate businesses that solicit door-to-door, there may be a time you encounter a door-to-door scam. Here are some to watch out for.
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.
Door-to-door scams vs. bad business practices
While there are rules when it comes to legitimate door-to-door sales, scammers going door to door have no intention of following them. If you believe you’ve encountered a scam, report it to your local police/RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
If you think you’re dealing with a legitimate business with some questionable business practices, we have information on how to spot the bad operators too.
Some scams to watch out for
- Air duct cleaning scams. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the scammer may offer services that include air duct cleaning or furnace/boiler repairs at very low rates. If the company completes the services, they may be of low quality, have invalid warranties, or the repairs can cause potential risks.
- Charity scams. If someone comes to your door asking you to donate to a charity, it’s always a good idea to confirm the charity is registered on the Government of Canada website. If the charity is not registered, it could be a scam. Other red flags to watch out for are if they are requesting cash only, playing on your emotions, or are unable to provide details about the cause.
- Paving scams. If someone comes to your door offering to pave your driveway and asking for cash up front, it could be a scam. The scammers may start the job but end up leaving it unfinished or use inappropriate or substandard materials. If you’re considering having your driveway paved, it’s crucial to research trustworthy businesses before handing any money over.
Signs that the person at your door is a scammer
- You can’t find any information available about the business online. Or if you do, the site seems unprofessional, has spelling errors, and the contact information is missing.
- They are requesting cash only. This is a major red flag.
- Pushy or aggressive sales practices. If you feel very pressured and uncomfortable, your gut may be telling you it’s a scam.
What to do
Do not engage and tell the person you are not interested. Report scams and fraud to your local police/RCMP and 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: scams to watch out for”
I was recently approached from a much deserved nap to find people at my door saying legislation in BC is changing and that our furnace is out of date and needed replacing to fall under the codes required for our area! Manufactured homes in BC would no longer be able to get home insurance if the upgrade wasn’t made before 2021! The long and short of it all I now have a new furnace and owe a bill of about $8,375. Installed for free no tax, all within 12 hours! They said several neighbors were also in Queue to receive similar deals at a discount before the New legislation becomes law! Have I been scammed??
Hi Gerald, thank you for reaching out to us. Your situation sounds tricky and some of the details you included seem concerning. Would you be able to give us a call at 1.888.564.9963 (toll-free) or fill out an online complaint form on our website? Please click here for the complaint form. Thank you, Gerald!
Is there any form of protection against door-to-door sales companies who lie and mislead people into signing a contract and the consumer doesn’t realise until much later because they were told it was part of a larger commodity supplier and did not even notice that it wasn’t. I have many complaints about a company misleading me into signing a contract and when complaining to the company about this misconduct I’m told it doesn’t matter and they lay out the rules they are suppose to follow as evidence they followed the rules when I, being here at the time know this to be untrue.
This is also an extremely common complaint about this company, but they always get away with the misconduct.
Hi Daniel, yes there are specific protections in place when it comes to disclosures/contract requirements and the manner of business. I would suggest you submit a complaint to our inquiry team for our review to see if it might be something that falls under our scope. Thanks