BBB Warns Against a Summer Scam Going Door-to-Door Nationwide
- BBB of the Mid-South has received 74 complaints on Greater Image, Inc., based in Holly Springs, MS
- Greater Image, Inc. has an F rating with the BBB
- Complaints allege that subscriptions they paid for are never received
May 6, 2009, Memphis, TN – Trying to help a good cause could get you ripped off by fraudulent magazine salespeople this summer. In the last 12 months alone, BBBs nationwide have received 1,100 complaints from consumers in 46 states and the District of Columbia against more than 50 companies that are selling magazines door-to-door. Many of these companies employ crews of high school and college-age people who are trying to earn money over the summer by knocking on doors and selling magazines—sometimes without appropriate licensing.
In the sales pitch, the company’s representatives might explain that they are working to help get their lives back on track after being incarcerated or addicted to drugs, raising money on behalf of a charity or for a school trip, or selling subscriptions to support their families. Some of the young sales reps have even claimed that selling magazines was a way to support U.S. troops in Iraq.
Greater Image, Inc., based in Holly Springs, MS, is one of the companies being complained about. The BBB of the Mid-South has received 74 complaints from 15 states about Greater Image, Inc., which has an F rating. Several of the complainants are from the greater Memphis area. Complainants allege that sales reps took their checks but the magazines never arrived, as well as high-pressure and misleading sales tactics.
“Because sales representatives are typically high school or college-age, victims readily believe the potentially fictitious sales pitch and often pay several hundred dollars for the subscriptions by personal check given directly to the sales reps,” said Randy Hutchinson, BBB President. “Experience tells us that customers aren’t the only victims of this scam; the young salespeople are also potentially being taken advantage of by their employers. They may be forced to work long hours, endure substandard living conditions and have their wages withheld from them,” said Hutchinson.
BBB offers the following advice to avoid getting scammed by a door-to-door magazine sales rep:
- Always research the company with your Better Business Bureau for free at www.bbb.org before filling out a check for a magazine subscription.
- The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. Along with a receipt, salespeople should also include a completed cancellation form that customers can send to the company to cancel the agreement. By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
- Victims of fraudulent magazine sales can file a complaint with their Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org, local law enforcement, and state Attorney General offices.