The rain had just started to fall when Boise resident John Miller answers the doorbell.
On his porch are two young men. They tell him they are working hard this summer to win a trip to Italy, the grand prize in the magazine sales promotion in Treasure Valley that started this past week.
“I asked them for their licenses,” he recalls. “Everything appeared to be in order.”
Then the sales pitch began. Immediately the one young man identified as Anderson, says a portion of the subscription helps pay for magazines that are being sent overseas to the soldiers.
“I’m very supportive of the armed forces,” Miller says. “I’ll just about anything to help them out. “
After about half an hour, and $118, he had subscribed.
Miller is not alone in falling for the door-to-door sales pitches as troops hit the Boise Bench area during the Memorial Day holiday. The company promoting the magazine drive, BNK Productions of Phoenix, Ariz., has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau due to the large number of complaints filed for lack of service and the company’s failure to respond. In addition, BBB does not have complete background information on BNK Productions.
“It was 50 years ago that I was taken for a little money,” Miller says. “I feel bad that I was taken this time.”
He says the young men wanted cash, but he knew better than that. Recent complainants to BBB allege the door-to-door representatives ask consumers to pay as much in cash as possible. Also, when they take personal checks, they immediately cash them at the check-cashing store.
BBB complaints allege BNK Productions sells magazines and books door to door to residents for an initial fee alleged to be $58 to $121, depending on the number of magazines or books ordered.
Past complainants allege the representatives for this company say they are "troubled youths" trying to get their life back on track. After people order the merchandise and pay, the company sends them a letter saying shipment was not made. When residents do not receive the merchandise and ask for a refund from the company, they either are told they will receive a refund and do not, or are unable to reach the company at all.
The company currently provides a P.O. Box address as the only way to contact them, and does not publish a phone number for this business. BNK Productions currently is not responding to BBB complaints.
Here are some tips on how to deal with door-to-door magazine sales:
· If you don’t feel comfortable, do not open the door to strangers. Instead, say through the door that you are not interested, and ask them to leave.
· Do not give money to door-to-door solicitors, unless you know you are giving to local kids for local causes.
· If you feel threatened by any door-to-door sales representative, call 911 or your local police department.
· Check businesses out with the BBB before making a purchase.
· If you have ordered magazines or other products from a door-to-door salesperson, but have not received them, you can file a complaint with the BBB or local law enforcement. For more information or to file a complaint against a magazine door-to-door company; go to the BBB website or call 208-342-4649.