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Police Department

Posted on: March 16, 2021

Door to Door Sales

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With nice weather approaching, we will begin seeing an increase in door-to-door sales.

In Watertown, anyone who engages in selling property by going place to place or house to house and carries with them the property for delivery at the time of sale needs to obtain a peddlers’ license at the Watertown Police Department. 

Many people want to be nice and not shut the door on unknown salespeople. Pushy salespeople may try to use your good manners against you to talk their way into your home. It is not rude or impolite to firmly tell salespeople that you are not interested and then shut the door. 

Door-to-door salespeople may try to talk their way inside your home by misrepresenting their identity or the nature of their business. It is never a good idea to let strangers in your home. Some aggressive salespeople may simply refuse to leave your home until you buy their product. It is much easier—and safer—to say “no” on the doorstep rather than try to get the salespeople to leave your home once inside. 

The State of South Dakota Division of Consumer Protection offers the following advice relating to door to door sales: 

Door-to-door salespeople can put a lot of pressure on consumers, sometimes catching people off guard and tricking them into buying items they don't need. When buying from a door-to-door salesperson, make sure to get prices and warranties in writing. Also, be sure to read contracts before signing them. Do not sign any documents that have not been fully completed. 

Asking the right questions when approached by those vendors can help you avoid making a purchase you may regret. Remember to:

  • Get a price quote, in advance, in writing. 
  • Ask if they have a permanent address and phone number.
  • Get a list of local references and CHECK THEM before making a decision.
  • Be careful about paying for work in advance.
  • Get something in writing with the company's name, address & phone number.
  • Ask to see their current South Dakota tax license. They MUST have one to do business in our state!
  • Ask the salesperson about the product warranties, guarantees, etc.
  • Find out if they have workman's compensation and general liability insurance.
    • If they don't, YOU could be liable for accidents that occur on your property!
  • Make sure you're completely satisfied with the work before paying the bill, and
    • Don't pay more for the job than originally quoted unless you've given written approval for the additional work or cost.
  • We recommend that all payments be made out to the company, and not in the name of the salesperson or associate.

All sellers must provide you with a contract or receipt at the time of sale showing the date, merchant's name and address, and a statement informing you of your right to cancel the contract within three (3) days. You have three (3) days to cancel purchases made in your home or place other than the place of business of the seller.

This law does not cover purchases under $25.00, items purchased at home parties, or purchases that began in the seller's place of business. The seller must inform you of your Three Day Right To Cancel and supply you a duplicate Notice of Cancellation. The seller is also prohibited by South Dakota Law from putting any language on the contract/receipt that nullifies the Three Day Right to Cancel.

To cancel your purchase, you must mail one copy of the Notice of Cancellation and a copy of your receipt to the business, before midnight of the third business day after the sale. We recommend that the Notice of Cancellation be sent by Certified Mail. 

If you cancel, the seller must cancel and return any papers you signed within ten (10) days. The seller must refund all of your money and tell you whether any product left with you will be picked up. The seller must also return any trade-in. After proper cancellation, the seller has ten (10) days to refund your money! 

Have doubts about the vendor or think you may have been scammed? Contact the Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986 or by email at consumerhelp@state.sd.us. You can also contact your local police department or county sheriff's office. Be prepared to give as much information as you can about the vendor, including the name of the company and salesperson; company address and telephone number; and make, model and license number (if possible) of the vehicle the vendor was driving. Without tips from the public, law enforcement officials may not be able to catch illegal vendors before they move on to the next community. 

For more information on transient vendors, contact the SD Department of Revenue at 1-800-829-9188 and Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986. 

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