Summer months give rise to home security scams, according to BBB - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Summer months give rise to home security scams, according to BBB

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It is a situation faced by most home owners: the doorbell rings and you open the door to find a sales representative hoping to convince you to anything from cleaning supplies to magazine subscriptions.

But how wise is it to do business with someone who shows up at your home, unsolicited?

According to the Better Business Bureau, while many door-to-door sales people are most likely legitimate, it is still important to stay on guard.

Take, for instance, the decision over whether to purchase a home security system.

Unfortunately, the summer months often see a rise in scam artists posing as home security sales representatives. In some cases, they may simply be after your personal and financial information, or they may be casing your home for a potential burglary.

What can consumers do to protect themselves and be certain that they are dealing with a legitimate representative? The BBB advises the following:

  • Know who you are buying from. Before you open your door or let anyone into your home, ask to see a photo ID, business card and some proof of the business they’re representing. Also, ask for a physical address and for local references. Then, do your research. Look up the business online and get references from your friends, family and neighbors, or from the company’s current clients. For a business you can trust, check out BBB’s Accredited Business directory at checkBBB.org.
  • Resist pressure to "buy now.” One sign of a security system scam is a sales representative that may pressure their way into your home and then refuse to leave. Don’t be pressured to take advantage of a time-sensitive offer, like "once in a lifetime" or "today only.” Instead, do some comparison shopping and take time to decide whether you want the product being sold.
  • Get written estimates. A reputable business won’t try to sell you anything before completing a professional assessment of your needs and layout of your home. Ask plenty of questions, and find out who will perform the installation and monitor the system. Some businesses subcontract work to a third party. Remember, don’t let anyone who hasn’t made an appointment into your home. If an estimation or installation needs to be done, call the business directly to make an appointment.
  • Know your rights. The Texas Business & Commerce Code states that you have three days to cancel a contract for goods or services sold to you, regardless of whether you have received the goods or services. This "cooling off rule" only applies to transactions made at someone’s home or at a seller’s temporary location. Keep your receipt or contract and a copy of your cancellation notice. Remember, you are not obligated to return goods to the seller until you have recovered either your money or your agreement to pay money.

Got a question for the BBB? Contact Regional Director Kelly Trevino at ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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