SAN ANTONIO - These days we're all on guard against online or cell phone scams. But there's been an increase in complaints about con-artists using an old fashioned approach: posing as door-to-door sales people.
A knock at the door recently interrupted Gretchen Kennedy while she was working from home. When she opened it, she saw two young men on her porch.
"They said that they were selling magazines and I said I wasn't interested, I declined several times", Kennedy says.
She finally caved in because they said it would help charter schools. But the magazine never arrived. When she complained, the company never responded.
“It angers me that someone would pull the fundraising card", fumed Kennedy.
Gretchen fell victim to one of the latest door-to-Door sales scams out there.
"They will normally try to pull at your heart strings, pull at your purse strings", says Carrie Hurt of the Better Business Bureau.
The number of complaints the Better Business Bureau received about door-to-door sales more than doubled in a year. From 600 in 2010, to 1300 in 2011.
And the trend is continuing so far in 2012.
Those complaints are from consumers who say they never got what they paid for and were victims of aggressive sellers using high pressure tactics.
"They will use something like, you know, using the safety of your family, Your home isn't safe", said Hurt of the BBB.
Elliott Shouse knows that tactic. Unemployed in a bad economy, he took a job selling windows door-to-door. He says he quit after the first day, because he says the sales instructor made a suggestion he didn’t like.
"Go into the kids rooms and if the windows didn't open to tell the people That their kids would die if they didn't buy these products."
What are the newest door-to-door products racking up complaints?
- Security systems
- Produce and meats
- Cleaning supplies
- Photography sales
We found the company Gretchen Kennedy paid has an "F" rating with the BBB and more than 170 complaints.
"I was angry that I was duped”, says Kennedy.
The BBB says if someone knocks on your door with a sales pitch, don't give in to pressure to make a decision immediately. If you're interested take their business card, and tell them you will call them back. That gives you some time to research their company and their product.