BEWARE of HOME SOLICITATION SALES whether by phone or door to door sales.
These contractors often prey on the elderly. In fact, there seems to be a network of contractors in different aspects of work, such as, air conditioning, roofing, painting, water conditioning sales, etc. that specifically depend on phone and door-to-door sales to conduct their business. (While not all contractors who do phone sales are unscrupulous, when dealing with telephone or door-to-door solicitations, the people should exercise great caution.)
These contractors will often have a local phone number that is forwarded to an answering service. A phone call to Occupational/Contractor Licensing at 941.743.1201, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. will verify whether or not you are dealing with a local or out-of-town contractor.
Once a sale is made to a homeowner, it is believed that the contractors then pass this information onto other unscrupulous contractors who then attempt to have you purchase their services. These contractors will then return to your residence year after year in attempts to have you purchase additional services. Often, they will advise you that they will only charge you for labor and that the materials will be covered under your warranty. The cost of the labor is often as much as the original job.
These contractors will often spend a lot of time with the customer in attempts to gather personal information that can then be passed unto others. They often employ high-pressure salesmen that will not leave until a contract is signed. The high-pressure sales tactics will often include utilizing multiple sales personnel. If you ever feel pressured, advise the salesman to leave. If the salesman fails to leave or you feel threatened, contact the Sheriff's Department immediately at 941.639.2101 in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda or 941.475.9005 in Englewood.
REMEMBER you have seventy-two (72) hours to cancel a HOME SOLICITATION CONTRACT. You MUST send the contractor a letter stating that you wish to cancel the sale. This letter must be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested. Make sure you keep a copy of this letter for your records. In some cases, such as house and roof painting, the contractors will have you sign the contract and they will start work the next day. If this is the case, you are still able to use the seventy-two hour (72) cancellation clause. This division also recommends that you immediately contact the contractor by phone and advise them that you are canceling the sale and that you are sending certified mail advising the same. The contractor is required to refund any deposit.
If you have an questions or concerns contact the Charlotte County Code Compliance Division at 941.743.1201, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., except holidays.
Important Phone Numbers:
|Is a Contractor Licensed & Insured?
|Is a building permit needed or has one been issued?
| Port Charlotte or Punta Gorda
| For Emergencies dial:
To avoid most sales solicitation calls, consumers can register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). All solicitors operating in Florida, EXCEPT charitable agencies, newspapers, real estate professionals in response to a yard sign or ad, or calls regarding an existing debt or contract, are prohibited from placing calls to numbers on this list. There is an initial $10 fee and a $5 annual renewal fee.
To register, call 1.800.435.7352 or write to FDACS, Division of Consumer Services, Mayo Building, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800. FDACS is responsible for enforcement of this law, NOT your local telephone company.
...paraphrased from page 15 of the Information Pages of the November 1999 Sprint Telephone Directory.