Don’t get sucked in

Vacuum cleaner salespeople (usually men) have to rank among the most audacious and aggressive people after our money. You know, the old “watch how this machine can pick up this huge pile of dirt” routine, which an amazing number of people still apparently fall for. I remember one salesman in particular, who wouldn’t give up even when it was pointed out to him that the apartment in question had absolutely no carpeting. “You’ll be buying one soon, won’t you?” He was shown the door.

This all comes to mind with a recent warning from Ontario Consumer and Commercial Relations Minister Bob Runciman, who says disreputable vacuum cleaner salespeople are out to suck the cash from consumers’ wallets this summer. The minister offers some tips on how to avoid getting cleaned.

“Unscrupulous door-to-door salespeople are experts at convincing consumers to purchase goods that they don’t really need or want,” the Minister says. “We need to protect residents and let them know that they can turn to us for help.”

Ministry investigators recently laid charges against two companies and their owners operating in the Kingston and Orangeville areas, after seniors were pressured into buying pensive vacuum cleaners. It is further alleged that the seniors were subjected to unconscionable representations made by these companies.

Some tips from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations:

  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured or rushed into a purchase. Be especially careful not to buy anything expensive on the spot. If it’s a great deal, it will still be there tomorrow.

  • Don’t let anyone into your house unless you’ve asked the company to send someone.

  • If you want to see a demonstration, invite a trusted friend or neighbor in to see it with you.

  • Don’t feel embarrassed about protecting yourself. If you feel threatened in any way, ask the seller to leave. If you are at all suspicious, inform the police.

  • If you feel that you have been the victim of an unfair sales practice, report your concerns to your local police service.