BY BLAIR LOONEY Contributing columnist
Editor's note: Action Line is a weekly column from the Better Business Bureau answering consumers' questions and concerns about money and business issues.
Dear Action Line,
I just received my second copy of Better Homes and Gardens magazine today. I did not order this magazine and do not want magazines. I take no magazines because they add paper that needs to be disposed of. How do I stop this unwanted mail?
I can certainly understand your dilemma. I'm sure you are wondering how it came to land in your mailbox and now you are probably wondering if you are going to receive a bill.
Magazine sales generally come in two forms, a door-to-door salesperson or through a telemarketing company. If the solicitor comes to your door:
Ask to see the solicitor's license and identification. Door-to-door salespersons are required by law to have a solicitor's license in the city that they are soliciting in.
Ask the solicitor for the name, address, and telephone number of the company they are soliciting for.
We recommend that you check out the company with the BBB first. Don't be pressured by a salesperson who won't allow you to check the company or the offer.
If you decide to buy from them, never pay a door-to-door solicitor with cash. Always pay by check and never make the check out to the solicitor, but to the company itself.
If you buy from a door-to-door salesperson in your home, and the purchase is more than $25, you're protected under the FTC's "cooling-off" rule. The rule gives you three days to cancel your order and receive a full refund. The seller must tell you that you have a right to cancel, and give you a summary of your cancellation rights and two copies of the cancellation form. Ask to see the required cancellation notice before you agree to buy. If the salesperson doesn't have it, do not place an order; the company is breaking the law.
If the solicitation comes by phone, and you are not interested in the offer, simply hang up. If you are interested, tell the caller you will call him back after you have checked the company with the BBB. If you are still interested after checking, ask to receive a written copy of the sales agreement before you orally agree to anything.
If you did not order the magazine, simply write or call the magazine company to let them know that you did not order the magazine and do not want to continue to receive it. You can usually find contact information inside the magazine.
-- Blair Looney is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 1601 H St., Suite 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or firstname.lastname@example.org. These are her opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian.