Winnipeg police investigating door-to-door sales, inspection complaints

Police believe an out-of-town company is knocking on doors in Winnipeg. File / Global News

The Winnipeg Police Service is looking into reports of suspicious salespeople making the rounds in the city.

Since April 11, police have received complaints from people saying a group of men knocked on their door wanting to conduct an in-home inspection and offering plumbing and filtration products and services.

READ MORE: Door-to-door sales ban takes effect in Ontario

Const. Tammy Skrabek said Thursday the police service has received calls at every single district office across Winnipeg. She said there were eight incidents that they knew of but expects there were many more that were not reported.

Skrabek said they are investigating to determine whether or not the door-to-door campaign is legitimate.

“We’re not yet convinced that it is a scam,” she said. “We have a good hunch that it is an actual company from out of town that is misrepresenting themselves.”

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The City of Winnipeg said they are not currently conducting any neighbourhood inspections. Information about known testing schemes is available on the city website.

Skrabek suggested even if the company is above-board, there are better options for area residents than one from outside the province.

“There are plenty of local companies who would be able to offer similar services,” she said.

READ MORE: Over $95M lost because of scams in 2017: Better Business Bureau

Police issued a reminder about what homeowners should look for in deciding whether or not to open their doors. In particular, they said, employees of a company should have valid ID.

Skrabek said when in doubt, just don’t answer the door.

Here is a list of suggestions from WPS:

  • Only allow pre-scheduled service providers into your home.
  • Always ask to see identification before answering any questions. All legitimate salespersons will have clearly visible identification and will produce it when asked.
  • If a person requests to enter your residence and is unable to provide proper identification, or makes you feel uncomfortable or uncertain, do not allow that person to enter your residence.
  • Don’t feel obligated to invite people you don’t know into your home even if they provide a form of identification, speak to them through your front door.
  • Never give personal information to anyone not invited to your home or show them any documents with information about you or your accounts. If there are forms to be filled out, take them to be read at your own leisure. You can return them at a later date.
  • If they’re trying to sell you something new, and you are unsure or comfortable, just tell them “no” at your doorstep. If a salesperson continues to pressure you after you’ve asked them to leave (whether they’re inside or outside your home), call the police.
  • If they claim to be sent by an existing utility company, leave the person outside and call that company to confirm they have employees in the area. If you are unsure about the company, search them on the internet.
  • Always take time to consider what is being offered and advise you will be in contact after considering it. Reputable businesses will avoid high-pressure sales tactics. You don’t have to decide right on the spot. Reputable canvassers will provide contact information for you to follow up and make appointments at a future date.
  • If you’re just not sure — say no thanks and close the door.
  • Report all suspicious activity to police.

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