Self-defence

No laws can stamp out all abuse. The really determined fraudster or con-man will always survive. You can't expect total protection from sharp practices, so you should adopt a few self-defence techniques when the salesperson calls:

- if you're not interested, say so at once and close the door or hang up the phone

- if you are interested in the product in general terms but doubt your ability to resist the sales spiel, ask the salesperson to give or send you some literature and their business card so that you can get in touch when you've had time to consider the pro>- if you're interested and want to know more, invite the salesperson in or agree to meet. But try to remember that this is someone who is basically after your money, not a friend you've invited round. Many people feel that someone in the living-room alway>- bear in mind that salespeople are trained to be socially adept. If you remind yourself that a lot of what they say and how they behave has been carefully rehearsed, you won't feel so bad if you decline to do business

- even if the products are genuinely the best on the market, bear in mind that it doesn't make them good value for money if you don't actually need them, you have them already, or you can't afford them

- remember that if you are persuaded to agree to a deal, you have a cooling-off period, in most cases, during which you can change your mind.


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Selling By Telephone

This type of investment selling is also restricted to life insurance, unit trusts and many types of personal pension. Loans can also be sold in this way.

A loan salesperson needs your written permission to visit your home they can't just phone you up and arrange to meet. So, perversely, you may find a cold phone call being used to persuade you to take out a loan there and then over the phone. But the deal can't be completed this way. You'll have to sign a properly drawn up agreement. The salesperson may invite you to their premises to sign - and if you do, you'll then be bound by the agreement.... see: Selling By Telephone


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