Clinton Police warn of intimidating door to door salespeople and their scams

CLINTON, Iowa- A Clinton officer has a story and a warning for the public after a senior woman was scammed out of $10,000 plus.

In a Facebook Post, Randy Meier starts by saying:

“So I felt pretty surprised to hear a Clinton woman’s complaint of losing over $10,000 to a crew of door to door driveway pavers in December 2018. But it happened. Perhaps the milder than normal December weather motivated these particular scammers to try their scam before the real winter closed in.”

He goes on to tell the story of this poor widow.

A lady called “Karen” is an older widow, living alone. Karen’s home has a large asphalted driveway and parking pad adjacent to her garage. According to her in July a man came to her door and told her the driveway was crumbling beneath her feet.

Karen said she wasn’t interested and didn’t see the need, but the man refused to leave, pressuring Karen to agree to his proposal.

He quoted her a low price, she finally agreed, but she says it was more due to intimidation than anything else.

So the man mopped the driveway with several gallons of oil (or something looking like oil) and wanted to be paid almost three times the priced he had quoted Karen. Karen didn’t like this, but wrote a check, hoping to never see the man again.

A month later the same crew shows up again, and without permission, goes to work swabbing the driveway again.

Then they demanded even more than the first time.

The officer says Karen felt beat down and scared, so she paid again and she really hoped to never see this crew again. But she did.

In the third week of December, two other men, linked to the summertime crew, arrived with four tubes of $4 a tube caulk, and wanted to caulk a crack in her garage.

By now, Karen is pretty disgusted with this crew, and says no to the work three or four times.

They kept pressuring Karen, and quoted her a price less than $200.

Karen eventually is worn down and agrees to the verbal proposal with nothing in writing.

“The two men use up the four tubes and, in a very sloppy job, fill in the crack and demand almost $7000. And they won’t leave without a check. Karen is scared of them, and writes a check. She planned on stopping the check the next day, but underestimated this crew – they cashed the check within the hour.”

In order to help others avoid this  situation, Meier had these FAQS:

Q – What should I do when someone comes to the door wanting to sell a product or service? 
A – All solicitors and peddlers in Clinton, and anywhere in Clinton County need to obtain a peddler’s permit before going out and knocking on doors. No permit – they are illegally soliciting business, don’t even speak to them further.

Q – Do I need a written proposal from a peddler offering a service?
A – You sure do. What else will you use as a reference in the event of a dispute? 

Q – If I agree to a proposal, can I cancel?
A – Iowa law requires peddlers to give their customers a written notice informing them of their right to cancel within three business days. If the peddler is pressuring you to start the project immediately, and can’t wait three days, it’s a scam.

Q – What do I do if the peddler won’t leave until I make a decision. Call the police – immediately. You don’t need to argue or feel intimidated, get some help there on your side.

“Keep your guard up when you get visitors offering products or services door to door. These folks are much practiced in using high-pressure tactics to push worthless or vastly over-priced services. But the choice to be a victim is your own.”

“Let me know about scams, fraud, or other crookedness you run across. Most of what I learn, I learn from you. Contact me at Seniors vs. Crime, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, 563-242-9211 extension 4433, or email me at”

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