Resident shares concerns about water softener scam


An area local is becoming increasingly annoyed by dishonest business practices, citing a recent water softener sales pitch that left him anything but sold. 

“It starts off with a call that they’re surveying water quality, then you will get a call saying you won a gift certificate for participating,” said the concerned resident. “They need to deliver it, and it goes on. The red flags started to pop up like no business card, no product details…and to get huge discounts and gifts, you must sign today.”

Sales is a difficult business, one that was once regarded almost as an artform. In psychology studies, students are taught some of the most common sales techniques to demonstrate how psychological trickery is actually used in day-to-day life. Terms such as “foot in the door” and “door in the face” have their roots in door-to-door sales practices, but are now regarded as “persuasion techniques” in the teaching of certain schools of psychology. 

One important question that consumers can ask themselves when faced with pushy salespeople is “why the need for trickery?” We don’t need sales people to convince us to buy groceries or clothes. There is no need for pushy tactics when someone is in the market for a new car or a truck or boat. We don’t require someone to convince us or swindle us into buying or renting a home. People are perfectly capable of purchasing things when they need things. The introduction of trickery makes it almost too obvious that the product or service being sold is not needed or of little value. 

Well over a decade ago, I was briefly employed as a door-to-door salesperson selling security systems. It was a reputable company, but there was still nothing even remotely sensible about expecting homeowners to commit to a big life decision and a 3 month contract after having their dinner unexpectedly interrupted by an unwelcome stranger. People simply don’t buy things spontaneously over the phone or at the door anymore. We are smarter as consumers. 

The next time you get one of those cards in your mailbox, or a call on your phone about “water solutions” (or air duct cleaning, or car detailing) that seems to be overly pushy and rife with “trickery”, don’t forget to ask “why?” If this was really something you wanted or needed after all, would they really need to convince you to buy it? The prevention of scams begins with a well-informed consumer, armed with common sense. 


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