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BBB offers tips for door-to-door meat sales

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Door-to-door meat sellers have begun making their rounds in area neighborhoods and the BBB has offered tips on the solicitations.

According to the BBB, multiple residents have reported being approached by salespeople selling meat products in their neighborhood and have questioned the legitimacy of the companies.

The organization said no matter what products people are selling, it's important to take steps to ensure legitimacy and safety.

See below for full release and tips from the BBB.

Roanoke, VA (March 10, 2016) – With winter in retreat and temperatures rising into the 70's, some people might already be firing up the grill. Door-to-door meat sellers are very aware of the early summer-like weather, and have begun making their rounds in area neighborhoods. BBB is offering tips on these door-to-door meat solicitations.

Multiple residents have reported being approached by salespeople selling meat products in their neighborhood with questions to BBB about the legitimacy of the companies. BBB has received several complaints in the past on the business practices and quality of meat sold from such companies. While some are legitimate, others can be dishonest and aggressive. It's not just meat being offered; spring often brings around those also offering alarm systems, magazines, home improvements and more. No matter what products they are selling, it's important to take steps to ensure legitimacy and safety.

BBB offers these tips for consumers to consider when someone knocks on the door:

For meat sales specifically

:

Calculate how much meat or seafood you're actually getting for the money. Do the math before you write the check.

Cost per pound vs. per case. Complaints to BBB have stated that customers paid much more than they normally would have paid at a grocery store (per pound) for steaks. Meat is often sold by the case. Prices are discussed by serving, not by the pound, and servings are often smaller than the norm.

Be sure you understand clearly the company's refund/return policy. Some complaints allege that consumers were promised full satisfaction. People believe this means a money-back guarantee, but many companies only promise to replace the product, and have strict requirements for how (frozen) and when (3 days) the product must be returned. Be aware that some companies will not give refunds for meat purchased by the case.

The person at your door is usually an independent contractor. If there are problems with the product, you will probably need to talk to the company itself. Make sure you have a working phone number for both the salesperson and the company's headquarters.

The product offered is represented as being USDA approved.

You should know that ALL meat sold in this country is USDA inspected. This is no indication of the quality of the meat, chicken or seafood.

Tips for all door-to-door solicitations

:

Ask for identification and license/permit. A seller should provide you with information, including a business card and proof of their solicitation permit.

High-pressure sales tactics. Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics. A trustworthy company should let you take time to think about the purchase and compare prices before buying or putting down a deposit. Some unscrupulous door-to-door sellers will put pressure on you to close the deal at that moment, and even make special offers to entice you. If you find yourself in this position, find a way to end the conversation quickly.

Time sensitive offer. Don't be pressured to take advantage of a time-sensitive offer. Take time to research your decision and do some comparison shopping.

Research the company with BBB. Visit www.bbb.org to view the company's BBB Business Review to find out more about their marketplace performance. You can download and use the BBB app to access the company's report while the person is standing at your door, or visit m.bbb.org on your mobile device.

Get transaction details in writing. Be sure you receive a contract or receipt explaining the details of your purchase and all of the terms and conditions that apply.

Consider shopping locally. Some door-to-door salespeople are from out of town and can be difficult to find when something goes wrong with the product or service.

Remember the "Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule." The Federal Trade Commission's Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases of more than $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller's permanent place of business. Along with a receipt, the salesperson should always provide a cancellation form that can be sent to the company to cancel the purchase within three days. By law, the company must give consumers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice. Within 20 days, the seller must either pick up the items left with you, or reimburse you for mailing expenses, if you agree to send back the items.

Stand strong. Do not invite unsolicited salespeople into your home. Ask for identification before you open the door. If you do allow a salesperson inside and decide during the presentation that you are not interested in making a purchase, simply ask him or her to leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, threaten to call the police, and follow through if they don't leave immediately.