LITTLE ROCK – Consumers should be on the alert for door-to-door sales people using scare tactics to sell home alarm systems, according to a news release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
The Attorney General’s Office receives complaints against home alarm systems and monitoring services for violations of the Home Solicitations Sales Act, including high pressure sales, misrepresentations of products, failure to provide a copy of the contract and others.
“Arkansas law provides specific protections for consumers purchasing items from a door-to-door salesperson,” Rutledge said. “My office is here to protect consumers with education and awareness. At times, this requires legal action to respond to bad actors trying to take advantage of Arkansans.”
Rutledge provided these tips for consumers to help spot an unscrupulous door-to-door salesperson:
• Consumers have a right to review the contract outside the presence of the sales agent, and cancel the contract without obligation within three days of the home solicitation sale. The sales agent must provide the consumer written notice of this right to cancel along with the proposed contract.
• High-pressure tactics are rarely employed by companies whose business depends on providing quality customer service. A legitimate company will allow consumers to weigh options and will review the system details and notification procedures.
• The solicitor may suggest the existing security system needs an “upgrade,” when the salesperson actually represents a different company. This may lead a homeowner to believe the system must be “upgraded” just to remain reliable.
• The salesperson offers “free installation.” The homeowner may think it is a bargain, but many “free installation” offers are coupled with long-term, high-cost monitoring contracts. In the long run, the “free” offer may be the most expensive of all.
Arkansans who may have been victimized by these practices are encouraged to contact the Public Protection Department of the Attorney General’s Office.
Last week, Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Alert America LLC for violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Alert America sold third-party alarm monitoring services, and many of its contracts included prepaid service contracts. When Alert America closed its business, it failed to remit payments to the third party, leaving Arkansans with discontinued services they had prepaid. The Attorney General’s Office has discovered at least 67 affected Arkansans. Some consumers reported losing more than $1,000.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at 800-482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.