BBB: Beware of Magazine-Selling Knocks

Better Business Bureau warns about unscrupulous summer sales

Door-to-door magazines sales may be a money looser this summer, the Dallas Better Business Bureau warns.

Two Denton County companies are responsible for nearly 200 complaints to the BBB from around the nation.

"These complaints allege misrepresentation by the salesperson, sometimes high pressure and non-delivery of magazines and difficulties in getting refunds," said BBB spokeswoman Jeanette Kopko.

Similar complaints about door-to-door magazine sales have been made about companies elsewhere in the nation.

One complaint came from Greg O'Hara, of Fort Worth. A young salesman came to his door last July with a convincing sales pitch, so he bought a $56 subscription.

"You can see a 17-year-old trying to make some money, wanting to go on a nice vacation to Cancun," O'Hara said.

Salespeople often say they're raising money for charity or a school trip -- or even to support troops in Iraq. But Kopko said the pitches are rarely the truth.

"These are just sales pitches that the sales people are trained to give," she said. "They might say something like, 'I need a few points to win a contest,' or 'I'll get a trip.'"

The BBB said the salespeople pounding the pavement may also be victims.

"They may travel in a group from town to town, a number of them in a van or in a hotel room, and not making the money or getting the glamourous travel they were expecting," Kopko said.

O'Hara became suspicious as soon as the salesman left his house, discovered the company's poor record online and eventually received a refund.

He said he learned the hard way.

"Be cautious," O'Hara said. "Tell them to come back in 10 minutes, see if you can get to the Internet and check them out."

Federal law requires companies that sell at homes to provide a refund, but you must ask for it within three days and do so in writing.

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