Use Caution With Door-to-Door Solicitors
Mar 06, 2018 | 790 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print


Spring officially begins later this month, and as the temperatures get warmer many door-to-door solicitors have begun hitting the pavement. They market everything from alarm systems, magazine subscriptions, cleaning supplies, handyman work and charitable organizations. Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas (BBB) urges consumers to make smart and safe decisions when answering the door to a salesperson.

In East Texas door-to-door salespeople typically work through March to September.  One Tyler resident contacted BBB regarding an alarm system company’s salesperson going door-to-door in her neighborhood. The resident tells BBB the salesperson was requesting her account information to see if she was an active client and if not, he would remove the sign from her yard. When she contacted the company, they informed her there was not a salesperson in the area nor would they remove her sign if she chose to cancel her contract.

BBB offers the following tips to consider before purchasing anything from a door to door salesperson:

  • Be safe. Never invite anyone you don’t know into your home, particularly after dark. If the salesperson refuses to leave and/or if you feel threatened, call the police immediately.  

  • Ask for identification and information. If someone is selling door to door, request they provide you with proper identification and leave reading materials about their products and services. Check with your city or county regarding the rules for soliciting in your neighborhood. Often times, a special license is required and/or there are restrictions for door-to-door solicitors.

  • Be wary of high pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give you time to think through the deal and make an appointment to return at a later date. If they don’t want you to do any research on the business, product or service, you may want to spend your money elsewhere.

  • Research the company. Go to to view the company’s Business Profile and read verified Customer Reviews and complaint history.

  • Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel purchases over $25 made at your home.

  • Secure your personal information.  If somebody comes to your door requesting your account details do not give out your information without verifying that the company is legitimate. Never give out your social security number, driver’s license number or banking details.

  • Get it all in writing.  Always get estimates in writing and never let any work begin without a signed contract. The contract should include contact information, start and completion dates, detailed description of the work to be completed, any material costs, payment arrangements and warranty information. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract. Ask questions if you are unsure or do not understand any part of the contract. Never sign an incomplete or partially blank contract.   

  • Remember the rule of thirds and follow it.  Pay one third at the start of the project, one third when work is 50 percent completed and one third after completion.

For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call BBB at 903-581-5704 or use BBB ScamTracker.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.

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