Door-to-door security salesman misrepresents cooling off period

Door-to-door security salesman misrepresents cooling off period to customers

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"I want the service cancelled, that's all I'm asking," Mary Eskridge said. "I want the service cancelled, that's all I'm asking," Mary Eskridge said.
"I told him, 'I don't know if I want it or not.' He said, 'Try it out for 30 days at least,'" George Badgett said. "I told him, 'I don't know if I want it or not.' He said, 'Try it out for 30 days at least,'" George Badgett said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Traditionally with the beginning of warm weather, lots of door-to-door sales people will be knocking on doors and security systems will be one of the wares they're selling.

When you buy an item from a salesperson who comes to your home and later change your mind, you have three days to cancel if your purchase is over $25.

However, at least one company extends its three-day rule for seniors.

But that information apparently never got to one company's customer service representatives.

A salesman came to George Badgett's home two weeks ago after first talking with George's wife, Mary Eskridge about a home security system.

"Oh, he showed me on his cell phone with the Better Business Bureau where they had an A," Badgett said.

He thought the salesman's deal sounded okay, so Vivint installed a keypad in their home, several door sensors, an emergency medical pendant, and, of course, a sign was put up outside their home.

Within four days, Mary decided they didn't need the security system, but she ran into a problem as she tried to cancel the sale.

A representative from Vivint said she had only three days to cancel.

"I've talked to people at the call center. They said we can't cancel," Eskridge said. "We understood that we had 30 days."

Mary and George say they don't remember the salesman giving them a contract and were sure the salesman said he had a month to cancel.

"'Cause I told him, 'I don't know if I want it or not.' He said, 'Try it out for 30 days at least,'" Badgett said.

6 On Your Side called the local Vivint salesman to find out if he had left the couple a contract, but we couldn't reach him.

The three-day cooling off period applies to door-to-door salespeople who come to a home, workplace or dormitory or if someone sells you something from a temporary location, like a motel room.

Under Federal Trade Commission rules, the salesperson must tell you about your cancellation rights and must give you a copy of your contract and cancellation form.
   
George insists his salesman said he had 30 days to cancel.

"I want the service cancelled, that's all I'm asking," Eskridge said.

6 On Your Side contacted Vivint. A spokesperson reminded us about the three-day right to cancel rule and explained the company's policy of following up with customers.

But when Vivint did its own investigation we were told George and Mary were offered a 30-day grace period because George is senior citizen. Apparently, when Mary first contacted customer service, the information about George's age was not available

The company apologized to Mary and has tried to make things right.

"A young man named Chad said that they were going to cancel the contract and were going to return George's money. Then I said something about the salesman had lied to us. Chad replied, 'Just to let you know, the salesman has been terminated.' He said, 'That's not the way we want to do business,'" Eskridge said.

Vivint confirms their local salesman was fired.

And the company says it has a strict policy of making sure their sales staff informs customers about their contract and security system.

Keep in mind exempt from the cooling off rule are sales that involve real estate, insurance, cars, vans, and trucks.

So if you buy a new or used vehicle, you do not have three days to cancel the sale. 


Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports can be seen every Monday and Wednesday on 6 News at 5:00.

If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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