Guard against product pushers

Someone catches you by surprise and gets you to buy something you didn’t want. You say OK and then immediately regret your decision.

Maybe you get the unwanted product even if you don’t agree. By the time you realize you’re paying for it, you’re too late to cancel.

Insurance is one of those products that is pushed heavily, especially as an add-on to another sale. See the complaints below about unwanted travel health insurance for a cruise and unwanted medical insurance for furniture financing.

Alarm systems are a product pushed by door to door sellers, who make people feel they have to get rid of their hard-wired systems and buy a wireless system. This is now arousing consumer alarms.

Door to door sales recently led to the shooting of a mentally challenged man by Ontario Provincial Police. He had gotten into a fight with an aggressive salesman of water heaters, resulting in the call to police.

For consumers, the best strategy is to send salespeople away when they come to your door. And, of course, to check every document you get to make sure you aren’t being charged for unauthorized and unsolicited goods and services.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

11 thoughts on “Guard against product pushers”

  1. Looks like you are my last hope to solve this strange funneling of funds from my SEARS account to the Credit Protection Plan for $379.03 (without having any business with them).

    See my letter which was sent to

    My name is MI, Canadian citizen since 2000 and a proud homeowner since December 2007.

    Last year, I did some improvements to my house, replacing windows, a job well done by SEARS Home Improvement.
    Because the bill was very high, around $11,000 (24 month equal payment, no interest), I set up a monthly payment plan (using internet banking) in order to avoid late fees. My first payment started on April 7, 2008.

    Without my approval, I got charged by CPP (division of Sears Credit Protection Plan, 80 Tiverton Court, Suite 500, Markham, ON) with a sum of max $135.29/month for the period of May to July 2008.

    I remember that someone from CPP called me at home and asked if I needed protection. I said clearly “NO”, because I have a very good job and excellent life insurance with Teachers Life.

    From Apr. 22 to May 23, I was away for vacation in Europe (my home country). I discovered this scam only in September.
    I called them and I got a refund for August.

    The rest of the sum, which was withdrawn for 3 months, they didnt want te refund. They said it was my fault that I didn’t check the bill because all my payments went directly from my account through internet banking in SEARS account, but not in CPP one.

    Finally looks that is my fault, because I didn’t watch carefully my pocket(” account”). In their opinion, CPP was an innocent victim.

    Please I need your help to get back my money ($379.03), because I consider this action a clear “SCAM”(Internet).

  2. JW – had the same issue with MBNA. I opened my statement today and wondered how my balance increased so much with no purchases…

    Anyhoo, I saw the $150 travel insurance charge which I certainly didn’t agree to. I get travel insurance through both my work and my husband’s. I’ll be calling MBNA tomorrow..

    I am glad I have just about cleared my balance with them!!

  3. I went shopping at the local mall, with my 16 year old daughter. We were approached by guys at a booth selling dead sea salt products. I had tried their fingernail systems before and wanted to purchase the 2 kits for the price of 1.

    At the end of that purchase, which I paid for with my debit card, we attempted to leave. At this time, the 2 salesmen split us up, taking my daughter to another booth.

    The salesman took my bags, my purse, even my cellphone, and proceeded to tell me about another item that was $160, which he said I had to buy. I told him several times that I needed to go, please give me my items and purse back, but he persisted with his aggressive sales approach.

    I told him this was useless and I did not have the money. He lowered the price 3 times. I continued to tell him that I did not have the money and I did not care to buy the product. He continued to insist how badly I needed to buy it.

    Then he said, “you can leave with your belongings and your daughter, just give me a pre-dated cheque.”

    I continued to argue with him and he said I cannot let you leave without this product. After haggling with him for over 30 minutes, attempting to leave, reaching for my purse/phone/bag of items purchased,the salesman stepped in and blocked me from my belongings. I wrote the cheque, grabbed my items and said, “now bring my daughter back,” because at this point they had led her out of my sight.

    He started with another item, so I turned and walked in the direction that the other man had walked off with my daughter. I found her and left the mall.

    When I got home. I found that when he went to put the pressured item into my bag, not only was it not placed in my bag, but he had removed one of the “buy one, get one free” fingernail kits that I had originally purchased. I knew this could not be legal.

    I called my bank immediately and placed a stop payment on the cheque I was harassed into writing. The company is Libra Inc.

    Well, now I have been contacted by a collection agency stating that Libra is entitled to payment. What do I need to do from here?

    I feel like I was held hostage and had to pay ransom to be released. Are there no charges that I can file?

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