Phony security system salesmen raising an alarm

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Staff | July 22, 2014

MADISON – Consumers are complaining about door-to-door security system sales agents talking their way into a number of Janesville and Milwaukee homes, according to reports from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The salespersons claim that the consumers' current provider is going out of business or that they need to provide a required equipment upgrade. The DATCP is warning homeowners to be on the lookout for these door-to-door operations and to avoid allowing these individuals into your home.

“If someone comes to your door claiming they represent your current home security company, call the company to confirm that before handing over money or signing a contract,” said Sandy Chalmers, Administrator of Trade and Consumer Protection.

During the spring and summer months, home security or alarm companies hire traveling sales agents to go door-to-door. In some cases, the sales agents use high-pressure or deceptive sales pitches to get potential customers to buy expensive systems they don't need.

To protect yourself from being ripped off by a door-to-door sales agent, remember the following tips:

• It's easier and safer to say 'no' to someone standing on your doorstep than it is to try to get someone to leave once they're inside.

• Most municipalities require door-to-door sales agents to have permits. Ask to see the permit and a photo ID.

• Look out for high pressure pitches and scare tactics, particularly if they mention “limited time offers” and claim that you need to act right away.

• Wisconsin law requires door-to-door sales agents to state their name, the company they represent and the goods or services that they are looking to sell before they start their sales pitch.

To help protect yourself and your neighbors, report any suspicious activity to the police. Provide a vehicle make, model and license plate number if you can.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at, send an e-mail to or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

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