Door-to-door sales… can we ask them to be more responsible?

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's 'Door-to-door sales… can we ask them to be more responsible?' blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.
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  • WRabbitWRabbit Forumite
    84 Posts
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    It took a while with my grandmother, but she now has her stock phrase for both phone and doorstep: 'I'm sorry, but I'm not interested. Thank you'

    Again part of it was the politeness aspect, and partly the it must be better if they say it is - I think we maybe have the same Gran!

    My approach was to let her know that I'll always get the best deal for her, and I need to keep track of whats what so her changing things confuses matters. And also to point out that the people who come get comission - so by being nice and inviting them in for a cuppa when she's no intention of signing anything is actually costing them money. Although I'm sure they love chatting to her, they're not earning whilst they do.
  • ds10_2ds10_2 Forumite
    5 Posts
    As a self employed consultant, my standard reply to all callers and door to door is "my company pays for my (house, bills, broadband etc)" This is technically true ;-)

    Normally they are so suprised by the respone that they tell me it must be nice and go on their way!

    Feel free to use it!
  • 5hreek5hreek Forumite
    13 Posts
    Contact your local Neighbourhood Watch, Police or Trading Standards folks about setting up a No Cold Calling Zone.

    It's a Trading Standards sponsored, Police supported initiative to set up areas where cold calling is rejected by the residents.

    While not legally enforceable (you can't be arrested for cold calling in a NCCZ), it empowers the resident to simply say, "this is a no cold calling zone" and close the door - no arguments, explanations or discussion.

    And, by neighbours all working together, after about the 3rd person saying the same thing - the caller will get the message.

    There are street signs and window stickers to identify the zones.

    There are about 9 set up in our village, and more across the county and country, and some of them work really well (obviously it depends on how well the residents play the game versus engaging in a conversation).
  • St8_2St8_2 Forumite
    154 Posts
    This type of thing has appeared on watchdog quite a few times. I remember one company, advertising for door-to-door sales, said in their advert something along the lines of:

    "Were you the school bully? Have you always been able to get what you want from people..."

    They were quickly pressured to change their wording but it shows the type of people some companies want for their sales team!
  • anewmananewman Forumite
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    I would just put a sign on the door saying you do not buy goods or services at the door. Best option anyway is to investigate the cheapest options using sites like this, not go with someone who turns up on your doorstep claiming to be the cheapest because they say so, and their intention is only to fill their wallet by getting your details and a signature.
  • teddycoteddyco Forumite
    397 Posts
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    Why is it rude to close the door in a salesperson's face who refuses to not take NO for an answer?
    I have heard stories of people posing as salesmen to commit burglary, rape and countless
    other offenses.

    I agree with 5hreek, we need to band together in our neighborhoods and organize these NCCZ's.
    We should look out for each other to help prevent crime and loss to those who cannot defend themselves.
  • teddycoteddyco Forumite
    397 Posts
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    5hreek,
    I found the website that you described.

    http://www.doorstepcrime.com/
  • KushanKushan Forumite
    70 Posts
    Thought I'd register to throw in my 2c.

    About this time last year, I had finished Uni for the summer. Funds were running low and I desperately needed a job. I found a few ads for something that seemed promising. Very little information was actually given, it was something like "Like working outdoors? Want to earn up to £500 a week?".
    Not even knowing what the job was, I applied out of desperation.
    As it turns out, it was a door to door sales company. They did other things as well (such as those booths for Sky you see in shopping centres), but door to door was their main focus.
    From the moment I walked into their building for the interview, I immediately got a bad vibe. Literally everything about the company was designed in order to make their "employees" sell more. I say "employees" because they aren't even paid - they work on commission only. For every "sign up" they get, they would get £30 or something.
    Their day would start off with a team meeting, where they would cheer and jump up and down like loons, all to keep them positive, confident, etc. They receive special training in order to put pressure on people without actually getting caught. They are literally taught every trick in the book, even little things such as asking them 3 questions to which the answer will most certainly be yes (Something simple like "nice day, isn't it?) so that, psychologically, they're in a better mood and more likely to say yes a 4th or 5th time.
    But the thing that got me was how arrogant and self-centred these people were. They didn't talk about their job as if it was a way of paying the bills, they literally described it as "a way to improve myself and make a !!!!load of cash at the same time!".
    These people genuinely thought that learning to be very manipulative and pushy was an improvement to their character. To be honest, it wouldn't have taken much to improve on their character, I suppose.
    So the "interview" went well and they invited me out on a day with them, to see how they worked. This basically meant following one of them around, smiling and keeping quiet the whole time.
    I watched this one guy practically beg people to sign up to npower, while inbetween doors tell me just how many women he's !!!!ed while working for this company. Every week he slept with a new woman, just because he could, because he could apply. And it wasn't just this one person, they were all like that.
    Then, what really got to me was one door we knocked at. I remember looking at my watch, it was 15:45 (or thereabouts) just as we knocked. An old woman opened the door, I can't remember her exact age but she was born some time in the early 1920's, so she was at least in her 80's. Now I'm not up to spec on the law, but I'm pretty sure there are regulations to say that these people can't talk to people over 65 without someone else present.
    Regardless, we were there for OVER AN HOUR, it was nearly 17:00 when we finally left...with a sign up.
    This was the key for me and why I politely declined their offer of a job at the end of the day. That and they told me I'd be with them until 8pm, when I didn't actually get back to their OFFICE until after 10. And that was normal.

    A few weeks later, a "friend" of mine ended up applying for the same job. He took it. It very nearly broke him and his fiance up. He was always coming back stupidly late (11 and 12 at night, only to leave for work at 9 or 10 the next morning), 6 days a week.What's more, he revealed that his work colleagues thought little of him for actually HAVING a fianc! instead of sleeping with a new woman every single week.
    To put it bluntly, the kinds of people this company hires are complete pricks. And if they're not, they'll soon brainwash them to be, just to make money.

    Oh and the company in question was the "Cobra" group. I've since met many people who have at one point worked for them and they've all confirmed everything I've said here. It's also why they don't work for them any more.

    Quite simply, you can't ask them to be more responsible, they don't care, they just want to make money out of people and they'll do anything to do it. Rules? They don't abide by them now, they will do everything they can to get around them and avoid them if it means getting an extra sale.
  • mgfarleymgfarley Forumite
    6 Posts
    I also spent a wonderful trial day with the Cobra Group (Is it just me or does the name sound like an organisation run by an evil criminal mastermind with a secret base hidden inside a volcano?)

    At the time I was fresh out of uni and trying every even vaguely suitable job ad in the paper. I saw one for a sales position... It didn't mention the company name but it said there were 'graduate management opportunities', so I thought i'd give it a go. I called and was invited to an interview and trial day (without even having to complete an application form or send in a CV).

    Then i noticed another ad in the same paper which was also for a sales position; I figured it was for a different company (the phone number was completely different). Alarm bells started to ring when i called the number and got through to the same company as before (even the same receptionist). I think a company has to be desperate for staff (and have a fairly awful reputation) if it has to withhold its name and use fake phone numbers in its own adverts!

    The bad feeling got worse within a couple of minutes of the 'interview' starting. The manager ran through a fixed list of questions and gave me prompts if i hesitated for even a second. It was obvious it was all just a formality to allow me to go out with the sales team.

    The people who took me out weren't all that bad (maybe a litle brash but nowhere near as bad as Kushan's experience). However i couldn't shake the feeling that the team leader I was shadowing would receive a commission for each person she could persuade to join the company (When i asked her about the job, her answers sounded just a bit too scripted to be real)

    After 8 hours walking round and round the same suburb (we were assigned a 'patch' and weren't allowed to deviate at all) i had just about lost the will to live. The thought of doing this 6 days a week (with 'team building' down the pub most Sundays) was too much to handle.

    Needless to say, like Kushan, I didn't go back for another day. It didn't help that at the end of my first day i calculated that with the time spent travelling to our assigned sales area, if i met all my targets i'd still be earning less than minimum wage.
  • anewmananewman Forumite
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    Kushan and Mgfarley - good to hear some almost insider points of views. Don't suppose that hour talking to the 80 year old lady involved 30 minutes upstairs while you sat downstairs? I mean, this guy doesn't sound picky :rotfl:
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