Why you should be skeptical of door-to-door salespeople

Published: July 12, 2021 5:02 PM EDT
Updated: July 12, 2021 5:05 PM EDT

With so many people doing home improvements, contractors are busier than ever.

It could be months before they can take on your project, then comes a knock on your door offering to take the job on the spot.

It may seem like a bygone era, but door-to-door salespeople are around, and there are some red flags to watch out for if one shows up at on your doorstep.

A common tactic is to say they’re a contractor with extra supplies and can offer you a really good deal. It could be on building supplies, painting, driveway paving, roofing or pest control, among other things.

They often say they’re only in your neighborhood for the day and if you call the company for an estimate and contract, it will cost you a lot more.

Doing business this way is usually not a good idea, said Bryan Oglesby of the Better Business Bureau.

“Never feel pressure to let them in your home. And always make sure you’re asking for identity, verify who they are and are they working for a true company they claim to be. So it’s always good to end the conversation and check that company out,” he said.

If you do want to hire someone to do some work for you, here are some things you should do:

Check their credentials and license, and verify their insurance. You can do that online at myfloridalicense.com. You can also research the company they claim to work for and even call that company to verify the person at your door is who they say they are.

Confirm they have the supplies. The easiest way to do that is to see for yourself.

Don’t pay them with cash. You’ll want a paper trail, and the easiest way to get that is to write a check or use a debit or credit card, something that will be easy to track and could help you get your money back in the event of fraud. Also, be sure to document every bit of work the person or company does for you and request the appropriate paperwork from the company, such as an itemized list of labor and materials.

Be wary of letting them into your home. If you are unable to verify who they are, refuse to let them into your home. Even so, it pays to take extra precautions when it comes to let any stranger inside.

One trick you can use is to Google the name of the company they say they work for and add the word “complaint” or “scam” to your search term. That could reveal some red flags and save you a lot of headaches.

MORE: BBB – Hiring the Right Professional