Members of sales crew arrested and cited for various law violations
Attorney General Hardy Myers today warned Oregonians about door-to-door sales crews selling magazines and cleaning products as he announced the filing of an agreement with a Georgia company whose employees engaged in unlawful behavior such as attempting to sell illicit drugs and failing to follow the 30-second disclosure law at the doors of residents. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) filed in Marion County Circuit Court is T & B Sales, Inc. of Riverdale, Georgia. The AVC admits no violation of law.
"One of the first traveling crews of the spring season turned out to be one of the worst authorities have had to deal with in several years," Myers said. "Both civil and criminal law enforcement agencies responded to consumer complaints from all over the Willamette Valley resulting in arrests and citations."
Under the direction of their employer, youth recruited from several states and employed by T & B Sales arrived in the Willamette Valley in April selling Advanage all-purpose cleaner to residents door-to-door. The Department of Justice (DOJ) became concerned about activities of the T & B Sales employees after receiving reports from law enforcement agencies in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties about aggressive sales practices, fraud, theft and illegal drug activity. Within the first week of operation, officers arrested four crew members in Yamhill County for forging stolen checks, using false names while attempting to obtain medical care and medications at a hospital, and for selling marijuana to an undercover police officer. In addition, six citations were issued for soliciting sales without a permit.
DOJ received information from the Keizer, McMinnville, Newberg-Dundee and Salem police departments, Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, and Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team. Upon receiving a Notice of Unlawful Trade Practices from DOJ, T & B Sales employees promptly left the state.
Under the AVC, the company agrees to comply with Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act. The sales crews are required to first ask potential customers for permission to pitch the sales offer and immediately discontinue the solicitation if permission is not granted. Additionally, the company is prohibited from representing that its employees have not been convicted of a crime when, in fact, they have. T & B Sales agrees to make payments to the DOJ Consumer Protection and Education Fund totaling $2,500 by July 2008.
Consumers are reminded to be careful of door-to-door solicitations and follow these tips:
Never buy goods or services at the door unless you know with whom you are dealing. If you are interested in what is being sold, ask for printed information from which you can comparison shop at a later time.
Door-to-door salespersons must, in the first 30 seconds, provide consumers with their names, the name of the company they represent, explain the product for sale and its price, and inquire if the consumer is interested in learning about the sales offer. If the answer is "no," the seller must immediately leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, close and lock your door and call 9-1-1.
Any product sold for $25 or more must include a written contract with a three-day rescission period. Consumers have until midnight of the third business day following the sale to write the company requesting a refund. There is no requirement to disclose the reason for changing one's mind.
Consumers wanting to file a complaint against a door-to-door salesperson should call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at 503-378-4320 (Salem area only), 503-229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. DOJ is online at www.doj.state.or.us
Stephanie Soden, (503) 378-6002