Beware of Door-to-Door Magazine Sales Scams

By Better Business Bureau

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Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that deceptive door-to-door magazine sales crews are hitting the pavement and looking to earn a quick buck.

Many magazine publishing companies employ crews of high school and college-age people who are trying to earn money over the summer. These crews are sent to communities to knock on doors and sell magazine subscriptions. While there are many legitimate door-to-door magazine sellers and companies, it is important to be aware that there are also scammers on the prowl.

Door-to-door magazine crews often claim in their sales pitch that they live in or near your neighbourhood and that by purchasing a magazine subscription through them, you will a) help them to get their lives back on track, b) raise money on behalf of a charity, c) raise money to pay for school or d) fund a school trip.

In many instances, these claims are true, but in the case where a scammer is at work, the sales representative may be working to dupe you out of hundreds of dollars in fake magazine subscriptions, usually paid for via a personal cheque written directly to the sales rep.

In reports recently received by the BBB, customers allege that door-to-door magazine sales reps took their cheque for an annual subscription, but that their magazines never arrived. Other victims allege that the sales rep used high pressure or misrepresentative sales tactics and that “students” lied about living in the neighbourhood or attending the nearby school.
Customers aren’t the only victims of this scam. Unscrupulous employers have been known to dupe young salespeople into fraudulently misrepresenting themselves and the subscription sales package. In some cases, young sales crews have been forced to work long hours, endure substandard living conditions and had their wages withheld.

BBB offers the following tips to avoid being scammed by a door-to-door magazine sales rep:

* If someone arrives at your door offering you a magazine subscription ask him or her questions like: Where are you from? Who do you work for? How are you paid? How did you get involved with the magazine company? Use common sense and listen to your gut instinct.

* Don’t fall victim to high-pressure sales tactics. If you are interested in a subscription, but need some time to decide, ask the sales representative to return later. Do some comparison-shopping and research first to see if the subscription offer is legitimate and of any real value.

* Always research the magazine publishing company with your Better Business Bureau ( before filling out a cheque for a magazine subscription.

* Never write a cheque directly to a sales rep. 

* Get a copy of the subscription order and a receipt. Make sure there is contact information for the company included.

* Know your cancellation rights. In direct (door-to-door) sales over $50, you have a 10-day right to cancel. If you decide to cancel, mail a notice of cancellation to the supplier within 10 days by registered mail. This 10-day “cooling off period” does not apply to purchases or service contracts concluded at a place of business.

Victims of fraudulent magazine sales can file a complaint with their Better Business Bureau.


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Showing 1 to 2 of 2 comments.

Well i also had a college kid come to my house about a year ago and i paid for a magazine for 24.95 by check. I never received it. And if you call the number on your copy it is a recording and they will call you back. FYI they don't call you back and you will never see that magazine. So most likely those burn unit children never received their magazines either. Top Sales is a scam please do not fall for it.

Posted by Kiyomi Perez | May 25, 2010 Report Violation

Have you ever heard of a company called Top Sales. A young girl came to my door and said she was earning money for her school books for the next year. I gave her a check for 24.95 and I really couldn;'t afford to do that, but she used such high pressure tactics. Is there any way I can get out of this and do you know if they are scam artists. I am 65 and my niece said that I just got scammed.

Posted by Marie Fager | September 10, 2009 Report Violation

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