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CLOSE THE DOOR ON SALES CREWS ;
LIKE MOSQUITOES, THE SUMMERTIME PLAGUE OF DOOR-TO-DOOR SALES CREWS IS UPON US. BUT THERE ARE WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR POCKETBOOK - AND YOUR CHILDREN.

June 17, 2002
Wisconsin State Journal; Madison, Wis.; Jun 17, 2002;

Already this year, a traveling crew in Milwaukee had a member arrested for lacking a sales permit, and then for disorderly conduct. When state Department of Justice and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials investigated, they found a crew member wanted for burglary. After Milwaukee, the crew intended to head for Madison. Officials believe the crew has left the state.

First, young people and their parents should reject the recruiting pitches of traveling sales crew businesses. The ads often refer to travel, wealth and scholarships, but all too often young people end up broke, stranded or worse - the victims of assault or accident. Recruits also run the risk that they will join a crew that includes a criminal, hiding from law enforcement authorities, who will abuse or corrupt other members of the crew.

Full Text:
Copyright Wisconsin State Journal June 17, 2002


Be on guard against traveling sales crews. That advice should apply, especially at this time of year, to consumers, parents and high school and college students. Companies employing traveling crews to sell magazines and other products pop up like weeds in the spring, when they try to lure students onto their crews for the summer.

Almost all of these companies abuse their employees and cheat their customers. Wisconsin learned that lesson three years ago, when a van rolled over on Interstate 90 near Janesville, killing seven young members of a traveling sales crew. The van was driven by a 20- year-old serial traffic offender whose license was suspended. The company employing the crew was cited by state officials for 92 violations of employment and wage laws.

Already this year, a traveling crew in Milwaukee had a member arrested for lacking a sales permit, and then for disorderly conduct. When state Department of Justice and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials investigated, they found a crew member wanted for burglary. After Milwaukee, the crew intended to head for Madison. Officials believe the crew has left the state.

Every Wisconsin household can help shut these companies down. Here's how. First, young people and their parents should reject the recruiting pitches of traveling sales crew businesses. The ads often refer to travel, wealth and scholarships, but all too often young people end up broke, stranded or worse - the victims of assault or accident. Recruits also run the risk that they will join a crew that includes a criminal, hiding from law enforcement authorities, who will abuse or corrupt other members of the crew.

If you have been contacted by a recruiter, call state consumer protection officials at (800) 422-7128. They can offer information about consumer complaints against the business and the dangers of joining a crew.

Second, don't buy from a traveling sales crew. The sales pitches are almost always misrepresentations. If a salesperson shows up at your door, and you feel comfortable enough to do so, offer the phone number for Parent Watch, a nonprofit clearinghouse for information about the abuse of young people in the traveling sales crew industry. That number is (212) 666-4221.

Not only should you shut your door to traveling sales crews, you should also call the authorities to report their activity. A police officer can check whether the business has a permit in your community, if one is required, as in Madison. In addition, if the salesperson is under 18, the police can determine if the business has the proper certification for employment of minors.

The surest way to halt the reckless behavior of businesses that employ traveling sales crews is to deprive them of the employees and customers they prey upon.

Wisconsin State Journal

madison.com

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.
Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.



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