Watch out for door-to-door magazine sales


I received an email last week from Christina, who had her money taken by a door-to-door salesman, pitching magazines at inflated prices. The salesperson pretended to be a recently-returned Iraq veteran trying to get make a living, which was enough to disarm Christina. It is now many weeks later and the company has their money, but they have no magazine and the door-to-door sales company won't respond to any inquires about the status of the order.

If you happen to get caught up in a door-to-door sales pitch like Christina did and like my wife and I did a year ago, there are a few steps you can take to try and get your money back. But time is of the essence.

In Ohio where both Christina and I live, there is a three-day cooling off period where you can cancel the order. These sales companies don't make it easy, so keep track of all of your records and follow the directions completely. I took the added step of putting a stop payment on the check despite the company's threat of using a collection agency to come after anyone who dared take this action.

If it is too late to stop your check payment, there are a few more things you can try, but frankly your chances of recouping your cash are slim. You can try to use the Better Business Bureau to get your money back from the company (track down the BBB closest to the company's headquarters.) Another step would be to find a fax or direct line for the headquarters and send in your request for cancellation and a refund. Finally if you want to feel particularly vindicated, you can sue in Small Claims court to recover the money that was taken. In Ohio you can sue for up to three times the amount of the original damages, and since the company must have a lawyer represent it, you'll likely get a quick settlement out of court.

I hope you can learn from our mistakes, buying magazines from door to door salespeople is a bad idea. You're better off going to the publisher's website to get the best deal or support a family member's kid selling them through school. Door to door magazine sales are rife with high prices, scams and long delays in receiving magazines, save your money and avoid these traveling liars!