- Complainants allege that magazine subscriptions they paid for were never delivered
- Consumers have trouble contacting the company after the sale is made
- Opportunity Sales has an F rating with the BBB for failure to respond to consumer complaints
The BBB of the Mid-South (Memphis, Tennessee) is issuing a consumer alert about Opportunity Sales, a door to door magazine sales company located in Memphis TN. The BBB has processed 12 complaints against the company this year. Opportunity Sales failed to respond to five of the complaints; another three complaints are still pending. Opportunity Sales has earned an F rating with the BBB.
Consumers from 8 states allege that Opportunity Sales used high-pressure and misleading door-to-door sales tactics to sell magazine subscriptions and books which were never delivered. In at least one instance, the company representative sold cleaning products to the elderly homeowner. Complaints also allege that the company does not return phone calls or that the phone and fax numbers provided on the receipt do not belong to Opportunity Sales.
A St. George, Utah woman told the BBB that she tried to cancel within the allowed three-day cooling off period and the phone and fax numbers on the receipt didn’t belong to the business. She paid for her subscriptions, but received no magazines.
A woman from San Carlos, CA described the salesperson as “a late 20’s hard luck case detailing her plight to get an education.” Although the consumer said she didn’t believe the pitch, she bought the magazines in December 2011 because she wanted the subscriptions. No magazines have ever arrived.
A Caldwell ID consumer said the salesman who came to her home told her each sale earned him points towards culinary school. And a Boise ID man described his salesman as “confrontational, disrupting and very aggressive.” He said, “He showed up uninvited, invaded my privacy, upset and offended me before finally leaving while continuing to verbally abuse me.”
“Because sales representatives are typically young adults, victims readily believe the potentially fictitious sales pitches and often pay several hundred dollars for the subscriptions by personal check given directly to the sales reps,” said Randy Hutchinson, BBB of the Mid-South president. “Experience tells us that customers aren’t the only victims of this scam; the young salespeople are also potentially being taken advantage of by their employers. They may be forced to work long hours, endure substandard living conditions, and have their wages withheld from them,” said Hutchinson.
BBB offers the following advice to avoid getting scammed by a door-to-door magazine sales rep:
- Be wary of high pressure sales pitches that use emotion to sell their products.
- Practice your refusal script prior to opening your door to a salesperson. Saying “I never make those decisions without consulting my husband/son/sister” may be enough to send the salesperson on to the next house.
- Always research the company with your Better Business Bureau at bbb.org - or m.bbb.org on your smart phone - before writing a check for a magazine subscription. It’s quick and easy and it’s free.
- The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business (with some exceptions).
- This rule applies to sales at the buyer's home, workplace or dormitory, or at facilities rented by the seller on a temporary or short-term basis, such as hotel or motel rooms, convention centers, fairgrounds and restaurants.
- The Cooling-Off Rule applies even when you invite the salesperson to make a presentation in your home.
- Along with a receipt, salespeople should also include a completed cancellation form that customers can send to the company to cancel the agreement.
- By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
- Failure to provide the requested refund can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission by writing to Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580
- Victims of fraudulent magazine sales can file complaints with:
- Their Better Business Bureau at bbb.org
- Local law enforcement
- Their state’s Attorney General’s office