ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr is warning Georgians about a scam involving door-to-door sales of pine straw or mulch. Consumers have complained about disreputable landscapers coming to their door, claiming to have left-over pine straw or mulch from a previous job and offering it to the consumer at a heavily discounted rate. After the consumer agrees to the recommended number of bales, the scammer lays down fewer bales than agreed upon and then tells the consumer he will need to lay down an additional number of bales to cover the yard at a cost of hundreds of dollars more. If the consumer refuses, the scammer tries to intimidate the consumer. Sometimes consumers give in to these scare tactics just to get the scammer to leave.
“Our office encourages consumers to be on the lookout for these types of door-to-door solicitations this Spring,” says Attorney General Carr. “If it sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam, and if you feel threatened or harassed, please call local law enforcement immediately.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division offers the following tips to help you avoid a door-to-door landscaping scam:
- Ask to see the solicitation permit issued by the City, if applicable.
- Ask to see a business card and make sure you get the name of the business and the employee.
- Ask for the business’ website and check it out.
- Check the Secretary of State’s website to see if the person has a business license.
- Check Better Business Bureau’s website (bbb.org) to see if there are any complaints against the business.
- Before someone starts the work, ask to get the terms in writing, including the scope of the job, quantity of materials and the final price.
- To be safe, say no to door-to-door solicitations and instead contact a reputable company, perhaps one that a friend or neighbor recommends.
If you are being harassed by a door-to-door salesperson, call 911.