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How to Guard Against Scams & High-Pressure Tactics

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A few simple guidelines can help protect you from scams and high-pressure marketing sales. You should also consider having a family meeting, and setting a home policy on how everyone in the household is to handle questionable calls and visits. This 'training' can go a long way in arming your family against scams.
  • Identify The Company or Product
    If you didn’t catch the caller’s name, company, or product brand, interrupt the caller and request it. Take time to jot it down for future reference. If this person’s conduct becomes questionable, you can report them to their company or the Better Business Bureau. If the caller doesn’t want to provide this information – that’s the first clue that you should end the call.

  • Stop The pressure Tactics Early
    A foot in the door, an arrogant tone, increased voice volume, a hint of anger, or a total disregard to your comment “I’m sorry, I’m not interested”, all signal that there is more pressure coming. Find a way of ending the conversation, it will only get worst from here. The longer they persist – the harder it is to end it.

  • Don’t Be Fooled
    ‘You’ve won’ may be totally misrepresented. If you haven’t sent in a contest entry form for this item, chances are you’ve only won a chance to participate in a pressured sales scam.

  • Never Send Money to Get a Prize
    Never respond to a request to send a deposit or shipping fee, in order to receive your ‘prize’. No legitimate company will ask for one.

  • Set a Time Frame For The Demonstration
    If you're interested in a demonstration, insist on knowing up front, how long it will take and allow a reasonable time. Once the set time has expired, wind down the conversation, you need time on your own to think about the purchase. If the hint is not taken, proceed to ‘exit’ mode and end the visit. Ask for a business card and product information, and say that you’ll contact them if interested. If a courteous, firm demand for them to leave fails, call for assistance from your local constabulary.

  • Remain In Command at All Times
    This is your home and you’ve invited them – you should take command of this visit. Allow him/her to demonstrate the product, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and try it out. Never allow a salesperson to make you feel intimidated in any way.

  • Refrain From Contributing Too Much Information
    During a demonstration, don't contribute financial or personal information during the 'small talk'. Salespeople will often 'fish' for information to know whether you can afford to purchase the product.

  • You Bought But Didn't Really Want To - Now What?
    If you feel you were unduly pressured to make a purchase, there are laws in many countries to protect consumers from pressure tactics and door-to-door purchase contracts, and they can sometimes be voided within a certain period of time. Check your consumer protection laws and follow directions for informing the sales company and returning the product.

  • Never Invite a Demonstrator When You're Alone
    Ask a neighbor or friend over - never entertain a stranger alone.

  • Before Signing on The Dotted Line
    Ask about the warranty and return policies, and the time frame for cancelling the purchase. Make sure you have seen the company name and address, contact information for the salesperson, that you've read even the fine print, and that you are given a copy of it. It takes time - but worth every minute.

  • Never Give Personal Information Over The Phone
    There are many ‘fishing’ scams out there, protect yourself, never give out this information, and report these scams to local authorities.

  • When in Doubt!
    When you get that gut feeling that something is wrong, or a little doubt sets in - that's usually a very good indication that you should not, at this time anyway, complete the sale. Sleeping on it and deferring your decision would be the wisest choice.
There are many great demonstrations that do result in satisfied customers. But being aware that non-favorable ones do occur and being prepared to handle them, can prevent you from being victimized. See Beware of Scams and Pressure Sales for some examples.

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