Door-to-door hustlers will skedaddle when confronted with a camera
Leave it to Star readers to come up with the best cure for getting rid of hot water tank hustlers who show up at the front door.
My colleague Ellen Roseman, who’s been advocating for retail consumers a lot longer than I’ve been the Fixer, reported today that the province is working on new rules to prevent door-to-door scamming.
The legislation allows consumers a 20-day cooling off period after signing a water heater rental contract at the front door, in response to a deluge of complaints from people who didn’t know what they were getting into.
It’s hard to believe that people are still falling for the well-rehearsed lines of front door salesmen, but a lot of dummies are easily taken in and need government protection.
A guy showed up at my door about a month ago and started into a song-and-dance about energy efficiency. He had a clipboard and an ID card dangling from his neck, which he insisted on showing me, as testament to his legitimacy.
It was immediately apparent that he was not cut out for the hustle. He repeatedly fumbled his lines and looked embarrassed.
I felt sorry for the guy and decided not to toy with him, which I sometimes do with a more polished operator.
“Look buddy, I’m not interested. Move along and don’t waste your time,” I told him.
He looked relieved.
Most people are not blessed with my air of menace, but some have more imagination than me when it comes to creative ways to say no.
Among the reader comments posted to Roseman’s story on thestar.com was a suggestion that stood out as a great way to send a door-to-door salesman packing.
“You all have a smartphone, right? When there is a knock at your door, you answer and hold up your phone with the video on, and politely say, ‘I am letting you know I am recording this conversation for my protection.
Please look into the camera, state your name and the name of the company you are representing and show your ID.
“Nine times out of 10, that person will be making moves off your property as quick as possible. If it’s a fun conversation, tell them it is also going on YouTube.”
Now that’s a brilliant idea.