Dec 9, 2013 12:00 PM by Matthew Schwartz
Tucson--Jerry Slagle had a bad feeling about what happened recently in his home on Tucson's northwest side. A woman who appeared to be 18 or 19 years old showed up, selling magazines.
Slagle told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "She was convincing that she was doing this for college tuition, which I know is really tough to get into college and I'd really like to help."
Slagle, a 62-year old retired construction company owner, ordered 26 issues of "Nascar Illustrated" and gave the woman $27.50 in cash. He was given an invoice stating he had 10 days to pay the rest of the subscription cost, $25.00.
Slagle said, "She was all nice and easygoing before the money changed hands. After the money changed hands, she just wanted to get going. She gave me one piece of paper, one invoice, that's it, no return envelope and she said, 'God bless' when she left, and that was it."
The invoice came from a company called "Independent Contractor's Service," with an address in Delray Beach, Fl. The News 4 Tucson Investigators researched the company, and the reviews are not good.
In addition to dozens of complaints online, the firm has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB says it's received 82 complaints about Independent Contractor's Service over the past three years.
Nick LaFleur of the BBB of Southern Arizona told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "We've had a lot of complaints that were sent to the BBB in Florida, where the consumers alleged that there's usually a college-age student came to their house, gave an emotional plea about money and then a lot of times people would report not being able to get in contact with the company after they left to try to get a refund in the three day cooling-off period."
Independent Contractor's Service did not return calls from the News 4 Tucson Investigators.
The BBB says before you order a magazine from a door-to-door salesperson, you should do the following:
-Ask where they're from. It's usually better to deal with a local company.
-Get the terms and conditions in writing.
-Ask for information about the company the seller is working for, then check out the firm with the BBB, and call any phone numbers the company lists.
-Consider subscribing directly from the publisher. Given the amount of fraudulent activity in the door-to-door magazine sales business, it may make more sense.
Jerry Slagle says he's learned a lesson from this: "I would look into it (the company) more before the money changes hands."
Slagle says he's not going to pay the remaining $25 to complete his magazine order, because the thinks the subscription won't start even if he does pay. There are many good fund-raisers that college kids are dong by selling magazines and other products door to door. But again, you should always research the company before paying up.
Remember, if you have a story you'd like us to investigate, please email us at Investigators@kvoa.com, or call our tipline, (520) 955-4444.