Couple waits months for vacuum refund


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A couple waited over four months to get their money back after cancelling a purchase.

They changed their mind on a vacuum cleaner sold by a door-to-door salesperson. They called WATE 6 On Your Side consumer reporter Don Dare to see if he could help secure their refund.

It took an email with documentation and a phone call to settle the issue.

Here’s why – in Tennessee, if a door-to-door salesperson comes to your house and you buy the product, you have three days to change your mind. There are rules you have to follow in order to cancel.

The couple that called WATE 6 On Your Side followed these rules.

The Kirby vacuum cleaner that WWII veteran Howard and his wife Mae of 72 years bought on April 20 from a door-to-door salesperson. They asked not to reveal their last name.

“Well, the vacuum cleaner is a good machine,” says Howard.

Kirby vacuums have an excellent reputation. The couple purchased an Avalir 2, including the shampoo system. The cost for the vacuum and accessories was $1,500.

“I said we don’t need a vacuum cleaner. We don’t have any carpet and we don’t have a place to keep it,” Howard recalls.

A long time ago, they had a Kirby vacuum, but now, since they don’t have carpeting in their home, a vacuum cleaner isn’t a necessity.

The couple installed hardwood flooring throughout their entire home several years ago. Mae said the saleslady spent nearly three hours with them on Saturday, April 20. Reluctantly, she signed the contract for the cleaner.

When asked why they went ahead and said yes, it was done in order “…to get rid of her, that was the only way I know to get her out of the house.”

By Sunday morning, when they went to try it out, Howard said they tried to lift the machine and it was too heavy, weighing over 20 pounds.

They knew they had three days to cancel, and sent in the paperwork. By certified mail, Howard and Mae got off their cancellation notice by April 22.

According to the postal service receipt, they sent this in on time to Ultimate Technologies, yet they still have the vacuum cleaner.

Their daughter, Carolyn Vought got involved. She saved text messages sent to the Kirby office in Knoxville and they confirmed to Carolyn they received the cancellation notice in a timely fashion.

Then, Carolyn received a note from them: “Do not send any messages, this has been handled.” She as also told the vacuum would be picked up within 10 days, which would have been early May.

Since then, they haven’t contacted them.

WATE 6 On Your Side contacted Ultimate Technologies.

Within an hour a manager called. She said, “Our customers come first. We want them to be satisfied. We apologize to Howard and Mae, we will immediately refund the money.”

Within a day of our call, they did.

Howard telling Don Dare that they refunded the money.

But wait, there’s more.

Howard brought something else to Ultimate Technologies attention that’s part of their cancellation notice – “If the seller does not pick up the product within 20 days of the date of your notice of cancellation, you may keep the goods.”

Instead of keeping the machine, Howard was given another $200. The vacuum was taken away last week.

Howard and Mae, with their refund finally given plus another $200, say they’re satisfied.

Tennessee’s three-day “cooling off period” refers to door-to-door sales only. You can respond verbally to cancel within three business days and some businesses require sending a letter by certified mail.

Often, people call our 6 On Your Side hotline, believing they have three days to change their mind about buying a car – which is not true. The three-day rule is only applicable to door-to-door sales.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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