The Lynchburg Police Department wants to warn you of door-to-door meat selling scams.
LPD says they've had some calls concerning a white van with a broken windshield and N.C. plates claiming to be a meat vendor from various organizations like "Omaha Steaks" or a fictional company.
Police say the man goes to the door and attempts to sell a neighbor’s missed order or an extra order.
The van and the person does not have any logos and the man does not offer identification, police say.
"This is a known scam and an adaptation of the White Van Speaker Scam," LPD said in a Facebook post. "Typically the products are stolen, of inferior quality, and marked up significantly."
The Better Business Bureau says to look out for these signs when buying meat from a door-to-door salesman:
When temperatures heat up, door-to-door salesmen start making their rounds selling any number of different products and services. While many door-to-door salesmen are honest, every year around this time the BBB receives troubling complaints from consumers who purchased meat from door-to-door salesmen and were dissatisfied with the quality or even claim to have gotten food poisoning.
When considering buying meat from a door-to-door salesman, the BBB recommends that consumers remember the following:
- Do your research. Ask the salesmen for written material about the company and let them know you are going to research them first before doing business with them. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Many communities have licensing and permit requirements for food vendors and for selling door-to-door; confirm with your city or county government that the seller is in line with the law.
- Don’t fall for empty promises. The seller might claim to offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, but many complainants had no way to contact the seller if they were dissatisfied. Additionally, the seller might claim that the meat is a higher grade than it really is. Ask the seller to put in writing the grade of meat and then check it when you receive it – the packaging or meat itself should be labelled.
- Never pay with cash. When paying by check or credit card, you have some measure of protection for your money, like canceling the check or reporting it as fraud to your credit card company. If you pay with cash and are dissatisfied, you’re at the mercy of the salesman to recoup any losses.
- Know your rights. If you decide to make a purchase, ask for a dated cancellation form and a dated receipt. Note that the Federal Trade Commission Cooling-Off Rule gives you three business days to cancel the purchase. Saturday is considered a business day.
- Consumers with questions about purchasing meat can contact the USDA’S Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.
- Report the bad guys. If you feel that you were ripped off by a door-to-door salesmen, file a complaint with your BBB. Also, report any unlicensed salesmen to the appropriate city or county authorities.