Maui Residents Warned of Door-to-Door Scam
By Wendy Osher
Residents in Hawai’i are being warned of a door-to-door sales scam that sells products with claims to benefit a local children’s hospital.
The Dynasty Sales organization is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and allegedly deploys teams of 20-30 young adults who travel in caravans, selling magazines, books and DVD’s door-to-door.
The Hawai’i Attorney General’s office was alerted of the alleged scam by a licensed children’s hospital in Washington State.
In 2001, a restraining order was issued against Dynasty Sales by the King County Superior Court in Washington. The restraining order sought protection after a salesman from Dynasty Sales represented that proceeds would benefit sick children at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The company has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Arizona–a rating given to companies that have at least 57 complaints, among other factors. The company is not registered as a charitable organization or a professional solicitor in the state of Hawai’i.
The Attorney General has also been advised by the BBB of Hawai’i that a firm calling itself Pacific Coast Cleaning Services has been selling magazines door-to-door on Maui, stating to residents that the proceeds would benefit a local hospital.
The BBB has no listing of the company in a search of businesses and charitable organizations.
The similar stories prompted a reminder from the state of steps the public can take to protect themselves when approached in door-to-door sales campaigns. The recommendations include the following:
- Listen carefully and be aware of high pressure sales tactics: Some unscrupulous door-to-door sellers will put pressure on you to close the deal at that moment, and even make special offers to entice you. Find a way to end the conversation quickly to avoid long, drawn-out pressure sales pitches.
- Stand strong: Do not invite unsolicited salespeople into your home. If the salesperson refuses to leave, threaten to call the police, and follow through if they don’t leave immediately.
- Verify the individual and the company: If you are interested in buying from a door-to-door seller, get everything in writing including price, warranty and all conditions. Tell the salesperson you will check it out and get back to them. Ask for a business card and contact information. Look the company up yourself and check to verify that this person is an employee. Also, take the time to check out the company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org.
- Know your rights: 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 door-to-door sales can file a complaint with their Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org or 1-800-388-2222, local law enforcement, and the state Attorney General’s office.