The 6th concept from my book, Advocating for Yourself, is Ruse. With the numerous scammers out there, as well as unethical business who will stoop lower than a snake’s belly to hook you into a deal, it’s difficult to sort out the good from the bad. They make it difficult for reputable businesses to gain the trust of the customer.

In our neighborhood, we’ve had numerous occasions where service providers will go door to door offering things like cleaning supplies, window replacement, roofing, lawn care, just to name a few. Two examples that I discuss in the book is how we dealt with a window replacement service who wanted us to sign up for windows on the spot, and asked us to provide our personal information through a “secure” app he had on his phone. No way was that going to happen. How would I know where that information is going?

Another example I discuss is the roofing service that tried to scam my daughter and her husband. The service was going through the neighborhood promoting their roofing service by suggesting to people that they had hail damage from some recent storms. Our daughter and son-in-law told the service they would need to call their insurance adjuster to confirm if there was in fact hail damage. The salesperson insisted that they accept a quote they were offering on that day only. After examining the quote to make sure there were no hidden terms on the back, or other sheets of paper under it where a carbon signature could be easily obtained, they signed the quote. The next day, the service showed up to do their roof. My son-in-law was working from home and sent them away, stating they only accepted a quote and didn’t sign a contract for the actual work.

I discuss this in more detail in the book to show how we backed this salesperson in a corner by calling him on his bluffs. However, the quick summary of the issue is that the service insisted they had a valid contract, but offered to let them out of it, if they would pay half the amount. After much back and forth, the scammer salesperson finally realized he didn’t have a leg to stand on and “graciously” offered to let them out of their contract. Whatever, right? There was no contract, and he realized he couldn’t scam them into paying anything.

Before entering into any agreement, even if it’s just acknowledging that it’s a quote, always feel free to hand write by your signature that it is a quote only and not an agreement to do business with the provider. Make sure the salesperson initials beside it and get a copy of it, or even take a picture of it with your phone. You can record a conversation directly from your phone, so another option would be to tell the salesperson you are going to record the conversation to property capture the essence of what you are discussing. As you being to record, make sure you state, or have the salesperson state their name, the date and the purpose of the conversation. In certain states, you may need to ask the person to state you have their permission to record the call.

There are many great, reputable salespersons out there, and the few like the salesperson I discussed in this post are the ones that give salespersons a bad name. When approached by a high-pressure salesperson, don’t hesitate to challenge what they are telling you. Is the deal too good to be true? If so, it probably is not a good deal. If the salesperson is telling you they can only offer that price for one day, call them on that bluff. If they can offer it one day, they can offer it another day. Businesses run specials all the time.

 “He who profits by villainy, has perpetrated it.”  ― Iain Pears