100 thousand yen for a laundry pole!? - Surge in troubles over traveling sales again -
There has been a surge in inquiries and complaints received by local consumer centers across Japan concerning sales of laundry poles and other goods 1 about 6 times in FY2014 compared to 6 years before. Inquiries and complaints concerning traveling sales 2 traveling around by a car and exhibiting laundry poles and other goods accounted for about 90% of the above, or 7.5 times as many as 6 years before (See the diagram).
In July 2007, NCAC provided information on troubles over purchase of laundry poles through travelling sales etc. to alert consumers with a view to preventing the occurrence of similar problems and holding back the expansion of the existing problems 3. In the next fiscal year 2008, the number of inquiries and complaints concerning laundry sales largely decreased. After that, however, the number increased again among women in various generations, in particular elderly people. They reported "I was charged a high price and I paid it".
It is not easy for elderly people and women to replace old laundry poles and clothes drying frames with new ones, so it is convenient for them to buy these goods through travelling distributors who sell in front of a house. Some distributors, however, announce cheap price and suddenly solicit consumers to buy expensive goods and force them to pay for them. Therefore, NCAC introduces cases of such unscrupulous businesses and alerts consumers to prevent the occurrence of similar problems and hold back the expansion of the existing problems.
- 1 Inquiries and complaints concerning sales of laundry poles and other goods are mostly associated with laundry poles and clothes drying frames.
- 2 In this briefing paper, traveling sales and others refer to "door-to-door sales" and "other non-store type sales" (sales at a stall, travelling sales, and other sales in similar styles).
- 3 NCAC released an article titled "Be careful with problems caused by purchases of laundry poles through traveling sales" on July 5, 2007.
Diagram: Transition of the number of inquiries/complaints related to laundry poles, etc.
(data registered through July 21, 2015)
FY2005: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 577, and 529 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2006: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 646, and 588 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2007: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 539, and 487 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2008: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 88, and 62 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2009: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 205, and 174 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2010: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 201, and 174 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2011: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 272, and 234 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2012: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 343, and 295 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2013: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 501, and 447 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2014: Inquiries/complaints amounted to 524, and 465 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
FY2015: Inquiries/complaints registered through July 21 amounted to 133, and 108 cases of them were through traveling sales and others.
Sample cases of inquiries and complaints
- Although I did not choose any good, the distributor charged me a high price after cutting a laundry pole on his own and did not give me a receipt.
- The distributor told me that it is not possible to return the good after cutting it, so I paid for it reluctantly. I cannot accept the consequence.
- The distributor was announcing 1,000 yen for two laundry poles, but the actual price was 40 thousand yen for one laundry pole. I withdrew the money at a convenience store and paid it.
- I was charged a price far higher than the price initially told by the distributor. I was urged to pay it immediately
- Although I did not choose any good, the distributor charged me a high price and accompanied me to go to a bank. The receipt was false.
Problems highlighted by the sampling of inquiries and complaints
- There are cases whereby a distributor announces "1000 yen for two laundry poles" to attract customers and afterwards sells a more costly product without telling its actual price and charge a high price.
- A distributor does not give a written contract and does not explain cooling-off system.
- A distributor makes a customer feel obliged to purchase a laundry pole by cutting it to adjust the length and applying coercive pressure. If the customer doesn't have enough money at home, the distributor might take him/her to a bank.
- It is often impossible to negotiate with such a distributor because their address is unaccounted for.
Advice for Consumer
- Clearly confirm the sales price. If you cannot accept it, never pay money.
- If it is difficult to refuse the purchase, ask for help from people around you or call 110.
- You may be able to exercise cooling-off right. Consult your local consumer center.