Door-to-door sales is a concept that dates back centuries. Avon did it tremendously in the late 1800s to sell perfume products to women. Even before then, peddlers would come into towns on their wagons selling odds and ends.
In the year 2022, salespeople wishing to market their services or goods have many more avenues to utilize. They can advertise on television, the radio, telemarketing phone calls, postal mail, e-mail, social media, the Internet, and more. Big business and local businesses alike are reaching potential customers more than ever.
Nowadays, door-to-door sales are much less common. When a salesperson comes to a homeowner’s front door, s/he risks receiving a not-so-polite reaction. While some residents do not mind, it is unwelcome to a majority of people. Some consider it an annoyance. Some feel it is an invasion of their space. The elderly, the sick, and overnight shift workers may be woken up by the midday rings of their doorbells.
Many residents see it as a red flag when a salesperson comes to their door given the current events in society. Anybody can get a polo shirt embroidered on the internet or make a fake identification card on their computer. The person knocking at your door could be conducting a scam. We all remember the shady chimney sweeping scams around the area decades ago. They could also be a crook sizing up your house for a future burglary. They could be luring you to open your door to commit a home invasion. While some door-to-door salespeople may be legit, many are not. Some are not even salespeople at all.
Recently, some area residents were up in arms as a salesman from Aptive Environmental paid unexpected visits to their front doors. Although the person may have been legit, some reported that his tactics were extremely shady. Online reviews for the company all complain of some of the same methods. First, their salespeople allegedly ask your name. When they go to your neighbors’ houses, they allegedly use your name as being their customer who is happy with their service. Second, some salespeople are accused of becoming overly aggressive and refusing to leave your property when you decline their services. One woman claimed that she had to call her husband to step outside and make a salesman leave.
According to the Better Business Bureau, dozens of complaints were filed against Aptive Environmental just in the month of July. Overall, the BBB has received 1,711 complaints against Aptive – and growing.
One New Windsor resident reported becoming suspicious when an aggressive salesman from Aptive began asking too many questions. The salesman wanted to know the homeowner’s name, occupation, the name of the pest control service he is using, and more questions. When the homeowner refused to answer any questions, the salesman became argumentative. The homeowner told The Newburgh News that he asked the salesman if he had a town permit to conduct door-to-door sales. The salesman insisted he had a permit, but tried to pull a fast one by showing the homeowner a Connecticut parking permit. The salesman then claimed he had the permit in his truck, left to get it, and never returned. Unfortunately, the homeowner did not notify the police. New Windsor town code mandates that a salesperson must obtain a permit from the Town Clerk, otherwise it is subject to a fine and jail time.
The Town of Wilton, Connecticut revoked Aptive’s permit and banished the salespeople from their town. Police there conducted an investigation following an outpouring of complaints against the salespeople. The police chief learned that the company was not sanctioned by their state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Other local residents in the New Windsor and Newburgh areas also complained about the recent sales methods. “I hate door to door sales in the 21st century,” one resident said. A Hopewell Junction resident observed, “I almost went with them and then I had a gut feeling and changed my mind.” A Cold Spring woman reported the salesperson used fake names of neighbors and became pushy.
One customer reported purchasing mosquito services from a door-to-door Aptive salesman. When the prevention failed to work, the customer called Aptive, but was told they do not offer mosquito services. The company then allegedly refused to issue a refund.
The list of complaints about these local, door-to-door salespeople goes on and on and on. On the other hand, some customers reported using this company and being happy.
This day in age, anyone should be leery when a stranger knocks on their door. Most municipalities have laws in place requiring salespeople to first obtain a permit. This allows town officials to screen who is knocking on your door and verify that their business is legit. Learn your municipal codes. If your community requires soliciting permits, always ask the salesperson to see it before even speaking with them. If they produce a permit but it looks suspicious, it can be verified by calling the Town or City Clerk. If a salesperson does not have a permit, residents are encouraged to dismiss them and notify the local police department. This will allow the police to investigate and determine if any sort of scam is occurring. It may prevent an unsuspecting neighbor from being swindled.