Woman regrets purchase from door to door salesman

NOVATO, Calif.

Once a sales person is inside your home, it can be hard to say no. A Marin County woman gave in to a hard sales pitch, but later changed her mind. Getting all her money back was harder than she thought it would be.

Lisa Scandurra loves her new dog Bella, although the dog does shed a lot of hair. That's why Scandurra welcomed a door to door sales team one day.

"They said they were giving free rug shampoos," Scandurra said. "I said, 'Great, come on guys, come on in,' and they started shampooing the carpet."

The sales people were selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. They went into the bedroom and began to scrub. However, what began as a quick shampoo job turned into an all-day demonstration.

"I had to say, 'It's almost dinnertime, you gotta go,'" Scandurra said. "They stayed for hours and hours and hours and hours and they talked me into buying a Kirby."

Scandurra says after a day-long sales pitch, she gave in and signed this agreement. She would pay $2,300 for the vacuum cleaner and $861 in finance charges, $3,411 in all. She paid a $250 deposit and even gave the sales people her old vacuum cleaner. As soon as they left, she changed her mind.

"I thought, 'What am I thinking? Yes, there's dog hair all over but I don't need a vacuum cleaner that costs that much,'" Scandurra said.

So, Scandurra canceled right away. Under the contract, and under state law, a consumer has three business days to cancel a contract made during a door to door sales call.

She mailed in the form, called the company, gave back the Kirby and demanded a refund of her $250 deposit.

"I said, 'I'd like my check back,'" Scandurra said. "He said, 'Oh, we have to get that from the office,' so I assumed we would but I never did."

Scandurra kept calling the Kirby sales distributor, Suds Incorporated of San Jose.

"The callback never came, they refused to talk to me," Scandurra said. "I knew if I called 7 On Your Side I might get some help."

Scandurra went out and bought a new, simple vacuum cleaner and then she contacted 7 On Your Side. 7 On Your Side called the distributor and Suds owner Sean O'Reilly says it was all a mistake, that Scandurra's check was ready but never mailed. He promptly refunded her $250, plus $70 for her old vacuum cleaner.

"I wouldn't have gotten it if it hadn't been for 7 On Your Side," Scandurra said.

State law gives consumers the right to cancel many other types of transactions too, such as electrician contracts and health club memberships.

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