Saturday, January 5, 2013

Who's Knocking At Your Door

In the era of overseas call centers and "voicemail hell" the door to door(D2D) salesman has reemerged. Whether a company calls it consumer direct, up and down the street(UDS), consumer interaction, its all door to door. This sales method has been used as an effective tool in workforce development as it allows teenagers, laid off older workers, and those with background issues enter/reenter the workforce. There are not for profits who train individuals to go into D2D sales careers.

Recently, there have been some post about D2D salesman who are allegedly misrepresenting themselves and companies. Specifically, ADT Security and Comcast have been mentioned. Because of the nature of D2D sales and Independent Sales Organizations(ISO's) its almost impossible to pinpoint who is responsible. So I think its time to take a hard look at who's who and what's what.

The first group that needs to be looked at is:

1. 3rd Party Energy Companies - Many of the companies (IGS, Direct Energy, Veridian, Ambit, etc) have both ISO's and direct reporting D2D salesman. The D2D salesman are independent contractors(commission)  so they might be a little more aggressive in their sales approach. Walking 8-10 blocks in the cold weather and no sales doesn't make anyone happy. ISO's hire independent contractors and some might not be well suited for this kind of work and not well trained. In the D2D situation, they should have branded clothing as well as a picture ID. The better ISO's also have their reps wear picture ID's with the company name and contact information.

Please be alert as most Chicago area residents are opting into the City of Chicago energy plan with Integrys. Integrys does not use sales reps and some 3rd party D2D reps are engaging in slamming. Slamming is they are illegally changing residents energy providers without their knowledge. Some of the providers have exit fees and tie you into contracts. Over the next couple of days, please check your utility bill and especially any senior, to ensure you or they have not been slammed.If you feel you are a victim contact the Illinois Commerce Commission(ICC). Also, you can check energy rate from various providers at Plug In Illinois.

2. Home Alarm Companies-  Whether it's ADT, Protection One, Monitronics or Viviant, etc have both ISO's and direct reporting D2D salesman. ADT does not have D2D salesman while the others have D2D salesman are independent contractors(commission)  so they might be a little more aggressive in their sales approach. ISO's hire independent contractors and some might not be well suited for this kind of work and not well trained. In the D2D situation, they should have branded clothing as well as a picture ID. The rep should introduce himself as a rep from the authorized dealer of XYZ company and not as an employee. The better ISO's also have their reps wear picture ID's with the company name and contact information.

3.Satellite Television- The companies in this category are DirecTV, Dish Network. Neither company has a direct sales staff but use ISO's.  ISO's hire independent contractors and some might not be well suited for this kind of work and not well trained. The companies allow ISO's to wear branded clothing. The better ISO's also have their reps wear picture ID's with the ISO's company name and contact information.

4. Cable TV/Internet/Telephony- The companies include WOW, Comcast, AT&T, Clear/Sprint. All these companies have both D2D sales employees and ISO's. Comcast, WOW, and AT&T require all D2D reps and ISO's to wear picture ID's. The ISO's must represent themselves as such. Currently Comcast and WOW have sales reps and equipment retention reps. You will only get a call from an equipment retention rep only if you are deliquent or disconnected service and did not return equipment(settop boxes, internet modems, etc). Clear/Sprint has ISO's.

Hopefully, this clears up any confusion and equips residents to be prepared. The first rule is always follow your gut. If you have doubts or suspicious about anyone knocking on your door ask for ID or ask them to leave the information and you will call them if interested.

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Joe Zekas R.I.P.

 Joe Zekas ran the real estate news website YoChicago . If you have been following that site and their social media channels i.e. YouTube o...