Police called over “aggressive” door to door sales

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A Quad City family is urging people to beware of what they call "aggressive" door-to-door sales people canvassing some local neighborhoods now that the weather is heating up.

"They're relentless in their sales pitch," said Marcia Allen. "Once they're in, they're not leaving."

Allen's mom, Margaret Baker, answered the door one day and was asked by a young woman if she wanted her carpet cleaned for free. Before she knew it, three men were inside the home trying to sell her a $2,000 vacuum, and they wouldn't take no for an answer.

They stayed for three hours, even after being asked twice to leave.

"After quite a while, I said, 'You should pack your things up and leave.' I asked them twice. He just kept right on," Margaret Baker said.

"It was like she was being held hostage. She wanted them to leave and they don't leave. It's elder abuse," said Chris Baker, another daughter.

Police were called, but the men had already left in a van.

When they were talking about cleaning the carpet.  My interpretation was, they came to take her to the cleaners," said Allen.

One of the men even went into the 87-year-old woman's bedroom and started vacuuming her mattress. She told him to get out.

"That's what upset us the most. For us to think these men were in our mom's house with her by herself makes us very angry," said Chris Baker, another daughter.  "She wanted them to leave."

"I suspect they target elderly people; they're so intimidated, they don't know what else to do. It's like 'I'll sign the contract, just get out of my house!'" Allen said.


  • TF

    This was completely illegal. I doubt she invited them in, so by them barging in, that’s a crime of its own. But to go into parts of the house? Wow, I’d of told them to get out or be shot.

  • nm

    I used to do this for a living and thats all standard for the Kirby sales training generally they are left and live in another area so once they are in your house they stay until the manager comes to pick them up and they always vacuum the mattresses and are told on average that they will here no I dont want that an average of 3 times

    • rhianna

      Wow. I can’t believe what I’m reading. We own a Kirby, yeah over priced but we love it and we had one girl in her own car who cleaned my entire carpet in one room never once invited herself anywhere else. Its how tout choose to run your business honestly. I wish they would try this on me. Lol

  • Jeanette Potts

    This happened to my 90 year old mom. He said he didn’t have a car or phone to call for a ride. He went into the front office of the house and commented on her computer. He disappeared into the bedroom without asking and took the sheets off the bed and told her to come see what he vacuumed up. Never showed a license to sell in our area. WOULD NOT LEAVE.

  • TIM

    Would be nice if you gace where this story is at. I know they were in Louisa county a week ago and had the police called several times for refusing to leave. Even leaving the vacuum in the house and sitting out in the van.

  • mandirigma44

    These dang Kirby sales people! I remember a about 8 years ago these frigging shysters stopping at my in-law’s house and just hanging out for a couple hours, give a sales pitch about a chance for him to win a trip if he gets a certain number of sales…then later tell us that was a lie and then go into another “pitch” which was just another lie. Then also look at any way to decieve you, for example our dingbat sales crook noticed a Bible on an end table and started in on how much he gets involved in church and then 5 minutes later his “accomplice” shows up with a cross necklace on over his button up shirt and tie (obviously a prop from their bag of tricks and lie tactics) Kirby should be ashamed of their reps!
    I was 5 seconds away from physically grabbing those clowns by their belt loops and ejecting them through the front door!

  • paula

    I worked with Kirby and this is the stuff they do all the time I was once in a house with no carpet I had to vacuum a couch and the owner was in. Different room I called my boss and told him they weren’t interested and he said keep vacuuming I called two times because I was so uncomfortable with being in this home finally the owner had to leave but I had to wait for the car to pick me up. They do not take no for an answer I hated working for them they nit only lie to residents but to the people working for kirby as well.

  • jessica

    This happened to me last year. As I was home alone with my 3 small kids and husband was out of town working. I asked them to leave a few times they didn’t get the hint. After being at my home for several hours I walked in the back room to call my husband ..I was in tears….they wouldn’t take no for an answer….. I felt like I was getting bullied to sign that paper. I never signed it! I will never answer my door to someone like that again. Poor lady ..I know what you went through. This should be illegal!

  • th

    This has happened to us the kirby people came in and started tearing the house apart vacuuming the couch and moving the whole house around and than putting their dirty “cartridges” all thru the house refusing to leave because they didn’t have a ride! It was like they were making a huge mess discussing the dirt on the cartridges just to PROLONG the time they were there!! I think there some be some type of legal action taken against kirby as this is happening to many people… This was a couple years ago that this happened and just recently again I want to say about 3 weeks ago we had a woman knocking at the door of my mothers house and she straight up told her we do not want you in here this time and she was begging to come in even after being told no saying things like ARE YOU SURE? WE WONT STAY LONG? LET US JUST VACUUM A ROOM AND WE WILL LEAVE?! please! ….. After my mother told her no about 10 times she left ….. This is all getting out of hand!!!

  • KKIA

    I wish Kirby would realize that their vacuums can pretty much sell themselves! Kirbys are awesome vacuums, but their sales tactics need to be improved!! I bought one, loved it, then I messed up the belt and couldn’t figure out how to put it back on! Of course their home office wouldn’t return my phone calls… So another Kirby guy came the other day and I set the vacuum on the porch and said Fix this!! He was actually pretty nice, but why do they always have to wait for their manager to come pick them up??

    • Carrie McMillan-Tarleton

      That’s part of the “pitch”! They “can’t” leave if their manager drops them off! That’s EXACTLY what happened to me!!! However, I find it quite convenient that at the same time I start to get overly upset, they pull into the driveway to “calm” the situation, which immediately raised my suspicion and upset me more. I told the “supervisor” that I wasn’t stupid, and his intimidation tactics weren’t going to work with me and when he started to argue I told him to shut his mouth and get out of my house which STILL didn’t get them out of my house! I completely agree that what they do should be considered Illegal!

  • Red74

    Sounds just like “Kirby”! Ugh! What a bunch of crooks! I figured them out back in 2001!!! Trying to sell a $300 vacuum system for $1,000-$2,000!!?? Are you kidding me?? Relentless sales tactics that should be “illegal” in my mind! And fake customer contests!!?? Seriously? And reading through all of the other comments on here just made me sick to my stomach! They should be ashamed of themselves! I will be sure to put up a “No Kirby Salesperson” sign at my Mom’s so I don’t have to worry about something like this happening to her! Change your ways Kirby! :(

  • TIM

    Lets start a coalition to ban Kirby salesmen from our counties!! How do you do that? I’m sure Chris Minor would help us out.

  • Carrie McMillan-Tarleton

    Last summer I had the exact same thing happen in Abingdon Illinois. A woman comes to the door, claims shes just started this new job, has to vacuum 3 times before she could go home. She said “i will vacuum this chair cushion, 5 minutes, in and out”. I felt terribly sorry for her and told her, ok 5 minutes. She walked out the the van, in comes 2 men and another woman and the original woman gets in the van and leaves. I asked repeatedly for them to leave. I told them I wasn’t interested multiple times. I threatened to call the police but to do so I had to leave the room and I was afraid to do that! I finally lost my temper and began screaming at them to get the &%^$ out of my house! I since then have added a “No soliciting” sign on my door ($1.99 at Menard’s) and thankfully haven’t been bothered by any type of door to door sales people since then, however, these people need to be stopped!!! There is a BIG difference between an “aggressive sales pitch” and out right refusal to leave the home once they are in it!

  • Concerned moline resident.

    Everyone having problems like this should call the BBB. That’s what they are all about. Call the police to have the sales people removed, then file report with police, call the BBB.

  • Dav-Iowa

    I tried the Kirby thing and they are horrible!!!! I only worked with them for 1 day and was stuck north of Cedar Rapids for over 3 hours even though I had an emergency phone call from my sitter about my child and no one from the office would come pick me up. There was no heat in our van, 2 of the people that were supposed to be “leaders” lit a joint in the van. I had to go home and shower before I picked up my child because I reeked of the joint. Then they tried not paying me for my “training”. Needless to say I will never own a Kirby just because of these horrible sales tactics!!!

    • Dav-Iowa

      let me be clear that I showered before picking up my child because I didn’t want her smelling that while already being sick. :-)

  • Jay

    I worked for D. Fiscus enterprises in Moline, IL. He has girls cold call people to tell them they’ve won a one room carpet shampooing, and they schedule appointments. He leaves the sales up to the people, never sends in the pushy managers.
    I then worked for QCK (QC Kirby Company) and they are the ones that do the pushy sales tactic written about here. This is a terrible way to sca… sell their vacuums to people.
    Here’s an insider secret:
    The complete Kirby system costs the dealer company $350.00 – When they show up at your door, ask them which company they work with, ask to speak to the proprietor & tell him that you know people that buy them for $350 and you won’t pay a dime over $400.00
    You get a great vacuum, they get a sale, and the owner makes enough profit, but not enough to pay the pushy salesman at your door.
    Pro-tip #2 Buy a Dyson. Better performing, lighter weight & same length of warranty, no sales people, just the ones at the store you’re buying from.

  • Lisa Quist

    So I am wondering if those of us who have been “pressured” into signing and buying can get out of our contracts without reprecussion. Keeping in mind that when you buy a kirby, you relinquish your current vaccum cleaner to them, no matter what, they take it as a “down payment”. I have always been impressed with the Kirby system but they have always been out of my price range and I only agreed to buy one after having the sales people and manager in my home for over 4 hours, they stayed so long and I said no so many times that by the time I agree they had reduced the price down to 1200.00 plus intrest with no payment due for 30 days. Like I said, I do like the Kirby cleaning system, but I also do regret taking on the payment now and realize that I was tired of them being there and felt pressured to finally say yes….I mean seriously, no was not working. It was so bad that we ate dinner out around them. I did not call the police because I do have some understanding of how Kirby sales operates, but still this is out of hand at this point. This story and all of these comments are my very same story, the dropping off, the manager coming in, the not having a phone, all of it exactly the same. Maybe, just maybe there are measures that can be taken at this point. Like give them back their merchandise but make them replace our relinquished vaccum cleaners. Any suggestions?

  • Jaybird

    You are NOT required to let anyone inside your home except for the law with a warrent or the law with resonable suspicion. Nothing in life is free……I repeat, NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE. Do not let salespeople or the police for that matter inside your home. If you are afraid to answer the door then answer from the closest window if possible. For heavens sake just yell with the door CLOSED that you “don’t want any and go away”. Do not wait to call the police if you require their “services”. Put up a NO SOLICITATION sign and consider buying and taking a class with a handgun and protect yourself and your family.

  • Rest of the story

    I see once again that the entire story wasn’t told.

    It says nothing about Ms Baker giving the man a hug when he left. Sounds like her daughters don’t visit their mother very often, and like to blow things out of proportion.

    Yes, Kirby does cold calling (a van pulls up in the neighborhood, people go out to sell), just like they have since they first started.in 1914.

    Yes, they cost more. Yes, they are better than Dysons and others (IMHO). They just plain work, and are used by millions of homes and businesses everywhere.

    To the fools suggesting shooting them, you better aim good, since you are looking at charges once you draw that gun.

    Here is a thought, if you don’t want to buy a vacuum, and don’t want a hard sell, just say NO, and don’t let people in. The people do know the meaning of the word, and have always been nice and polite. I’ve seen the “infamous van” and people in and around my neighborhood several times, and the sales people are great. With local plates and local people working here.

    • lisacerar70

      A hug from a nervous elderly woman who was relieved to have these weirdos out of her home after 3 hours of asking they leave is hardly anything to redeem your Kirby company, dishonest sales pitch or intimidating tactics. I’m a woman with children & with a husband who travels for work; I’m also a registered gun owner with (since you mentioned it) very good aim. If this gang of deaf, dishonest, home invading sales people refuse to leave my home after I demand this from them 3 times, well then I will likely begin to fear for my safety and the safety of my children. I will then go to my special lockbox and retrieve hopefully what turns out to be their sudden willingness to leave my home. Kirby better change their tactics. After seeing this article and reading these comments especially yours, I will NEVER buy a Kirby. Ever. .

      • Rest of the story

        Except for the fact, you never spoke with the woman, or the person trying to sell the product now, were you? No, you were not.

        People like you shouldn’t be allowed handguns, as you just demonstrated your mental instability. If you had shot this person, they and the company would have owned your house. You are not in fear for your life or your safety. At any time, a call could be made to the police.

        I look forward to seeing your name on WQAD’s site, as well as the local papers, where you are charged with assault with a deadly weapon, Lisa. Please tell me how someone selling you a vacuum cleaner makes you fear for your life.

        Lisa, you don’t invite strangers into your house and then pull a gun on them, as you claim you can do. You give other gun owners of sound mind a bad name. Please get some professional help.


        To Sandy – if it’s a check, you simply stop payment. If it’s a credit card, you call them up and dispute the charges. Pretty simple. Buyer’s remorse.

    • Sandy

      If they are such a great company why do they steal from old people. My grandma got one and we returned it 24 hours after she got it and did the paper work they told us to do and she never got her money back.

  • Donna Kelly

    I know how this is a couple of months ago they came to my door i had company over with 8 kids in the house they asked to do the carpet i said no so then they kept talking and asked about the couch I gave in but when they came in they started the carpet cleaning instead of the couch once they finally got to the couch and us complaining all day they still didnt get the hint so then when the guy had me fill out a form i wrote the number down and then stepped outside and called the number and it took them 10-20min to pack up to leave. ive told them to never come back i cant afford it and i was putting no solicitate or no trustpassing and they said they could still do it.

  • Jason

    Kirby sales. I worked for Kirby for a while when I was 18 and still live with regrets today for the things I did to people living on a fixed income. 22 years later, I think about those people and feel pity and shame. This report is not a joke and should be taken seriously!

  • Sandy

    My grandma had this happen to her in moline and they took 2000 dollars from her and when I found out I took the vacuum back to them and she never did get her money back from Kirby.

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