Cumberland Police Chief Rick Rieper warns residents of his community and all northwestern Wisconsin residents of a possible scam involving door-to-door Kirby vacuum cleaner sales teams traveling in the area.
Rieper said the Kirby Vacuum Cleaner teams are operating without a permit, which makes their sales activity illegal.
He says the best course of action is to ignore the offer and not allow them into your home.
‘Transient merchants permit’ required
Before any door-to-door salespeople begin their calls, Cumberland and most other communities require the person or team to go to the village office and purchase a “transient merchants permit” which has a registration fee and a separate daily operator’s permit.
Many communities also require the peddlers to be bonded if they reside outside the county or if their company is headquartered outside the county.
As the card above shows, the teams are traveling throughout the 715 area code. In Cumberland, the sales team is handing out cards (see above) to gain access into homes for a product demonstration that may last several hours.
The card states the person is entered into a drawing to win $1,000 in gas or groceries, and that they also qualify for a demonstration of a cleaning method. They may also say the consumer would receive a “gift” such as a free carpet cleaning, in exchange for the consumers’ opinions.
The telemarketers may falsely imply that the defendants are not selling products, and that the demonstration would only take a limited amount of time when in fact the defendants would actually spend several hours in a consumer’s home making a sales presentation.
Lawsuits in other states
In some other states, including Arizona, lawsuits have been filed against independent field distributors who make in-home sales of Kirby for allegedly violating the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.
In Arizona, a lawsuit alleged the defendants gained access to consumers’ homes through various telemarketing and door-to-door methods, which included falsely telling consumers they were entered into a drawing to win $1,000 in groceries, and that also qualified for a demonstration of a cleaning method and the consumer would receive a “gift” such as a free carpet cleaning, in exchange for the consumers’ opinions.
The telemarketers falsely implied that the defendants’ were not selling products, and that the demonstration would only take a limited amount of time when in fact the defendants would actually spend several hours in a consumer’s home making a sales presentation.
Other violations outlined in the Arizona lawsuit include:
- Knowingly selling vacuums to consumers, including elderly consumers, who were clearly unable to use the vacuum because it is too heavy and unwieldy.
- Depriving consumers of their rights under the federal “Cooling-off Rule” and Arizona’s “Home Solicitation and Referral Sales Act,” which rights include the three-day right to cancel and the right to the return of any trade-in or payment within 10 days after cancellation.
- Falsely informing consumers aged 65 and older who attempt to cancel the sale that the consumers may only cancel the sale within three-days. Kirby Company’s “Golden Ager” policy actually allows consumers aged 65 or older to cancel the sale within one year of purchase.