Don’t do business with travelling salesmen

Summertime is on its way, and so are the travelling salesmen and shady contractors.

Summertime is on its way, and so are the travelling salesmen and shady contractors.

This is a problem that, in my opinion, isn’t talked about as much as it should be. I’ve been dealing with these kinds of people throughout my 24 years in journalism and I take pride in shining a light on them every chance I get.

One of the first encounters I had was in 1996 in Fort Macleod, where a senior citizen in town was ripped off by a telemarketer. I know, that’s not a traveling salesman, but same situation as far as I’m concerned. The salesman from Quebec talked this 80 year old lady into buying over $20,000 worth of office supplies.

Another encounter I had was with a vacuum salesman in Fort Macleod. He was a door-to-door type from Calgary, wandering around town harassing everyday working class people. One of these local folks phoned me when I worked at the Macleod Gazette and told me the salesman was bothering his family every night, dumping dust and dirt on their living room floor and then vacuuming it up. He obviously regretted letting the salesman in, and wanted some help getting rid of him. I agreed. Actually, all it took was myself being in the living room the night this salesman showed up. He left and wasn’t heard from again.

Another breed of crook that bothers me is the traveler or shady contractor. These people engage in a variety of work ranging from painting, house repairs and roofing to “asphalt sealant,” which in some cases proves to be nothing more than hot water with black dye in it.

Travelers and shady contractors often claim their prices are much lower than local contractors, and they claim the work is as good as, or better, than the locals. Don’t you believe either one of those claims.

Firstly, if the contractor performs subpar work, how are you going to find this guy to claim warranty? Does he even honour a warranty? It’s not unknown for some of these travelers to flee to the U.S. or Australia so their victims can’t find them and that’s not an exaggeration.

As described above with the “asphalt sealant,” some of these travelers and shady contractors charge good money for poor or downright illegal work. Some of these people may even damage your property and leave you worse off than before they entered the picture.

Then there is the true crook: the one who takes your deposit and immediately disappears. You bet it happens, and it happens every year. The government, police and organizations like the Better Business Bureau get complaints about contractors who take money and never finish the work. Some of them never even start the work.

But there is another reason readers should be wary of travelers and shady contractors, and it doesn’t necessarily involved lies or incompetent work. It has to do with community.

The local contractors in the County of Wetaskiwin and Leduc County are every bit as skilled as any travelling contractor you will meet. More importantly, these local contractors buy business licenses and pay taxes and thus support the community. They support the community in other ways, too. The owners of these local companies belong to service clubs, play at local golf courses, coach sports teams, volunteer on committees and have kids who attend the same schools your kids attend.

Please don’t reward travelers and shady contractors by giving them business. There are plenty of good local contractors who support the community, take pride in their work and who will do quality work for you.

Stu Salkeld is the new editor of The Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.

 

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Most Read