You’re trying to go about your day in the comfort and privacy of your own home when, suddenly, there are strangers pounding at your door, insisting on your attention. Maybe they heard you make a noise inside or they saw you through the curtains; whatever their method, they know you’re inside, and they won’t go away. You brace yourself for a painful and annoying interaction with these door knockers…
Isn’t there a way this situation can be avoided? And if we must go through it, there just has to be an easier way to tell them to leave.
At Protect America, we believe that door knockers are more than a nuisance; they’re a serious threat to home security. We’ve gone over the most common door knocker scams in the past, but today we want to talk about in more detail how to most efficiently handle if not entirely prevent these situations.
Keep Them Away
The best deterrent is a NO SOLICITING or NO TRESPASSING sign. This should scare most door knockers away so that they don’t even bother to wait at your door while that sign is staring at them. Afterall, there are doors without signs on them.
What you might now know is that these privately posted signs are actually legitimate legal ways to prevent salespeople from approaching your home. The Supreme Court has said that “The Court has traditionally respected the right of a householder to bar, by order or notice, solicitors, hawkers, and peddlers from his property.” Thus, a “No Soliciting” sign legally informs solicitors that they are not welcome on your property, and any salespeople who stay against these express instructions are breaking the law in most cities.
Check your local city’s ordinances so that you are informed and know your rights as a homeowner.
But some do stick around, and you may have to interact with them in person before they leave you and your property alone. Before we go any further, here are some absolute don’ts when handling a situation with a door knocker.
- Never let them into your home.
- Don’t sign anything or give them any personal information if you are not legitimately interested in what they are offering you.
- Don’t be afraid of interrupting them. They will try to pressure you by never letting you get a word in until you agree to comply with their demands. Speak up firmly without being inflammatory, and let them know that you do not wish for them to be at your door.
How to Pick Out Scammers
Maybe you really are interested in what this solicitor has to say. Maybe they are claiming that they are representing a familiar or reputable company. How do you know they aren’t lying and just trying to get into your house to tamper with something? Here are some precautions you can take before moving forward with the sale and providing your personal information to them.
- Call the company. Ask exactly what company they are representing and find that company’s contact information on your own. Call them to verify the identity of the person at your door. Some companies like Protect America do not employ door-to-door salesmen. Thus, anyone showing up claiming to represent us is a scammer.
- Verify identification. In many cities, solicitors are required to carry identification or even a permit with them.
- Take the information they have to offer. Write down the claims they make and take any literature or flyers they have. But don’t give any information back to them. Tell them you are legitimately interested, but you want to think about it before making a decision. Trust me, you aren’t missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime deal from a door-to-door salesperson. You can find that same deal or a better one on your own. Do some more research and see what other people have to say about it. Then, when you’re ready, you can move forward with that deal.
- Use your “Cooling Off Period.” The Federal Trade Commission established a “cooling-off” rule to protect customers from high-pressure sales tactics. The rule is that if you buy a product that costs $25 or more, you can cancel your purchase without reason or explanation within 3 days. The period ends at midnight of the third day. If you feel like you were unfairly approached and pressured, use this rule to your benefit. You can always make a similar purchase when you are better informed and more prepared.
Do you know someone who lives in a community plagued by solicitors? With the weather cooling down, there will be more and more roaming the streets. Share this article with them so that they can protect themselves from misconduct and annoyance.