Another door-to-door alert: Read the fine print

Not related to our earlier report, so we’re running this one separately. Magazine sellers are apparently back at it – and one Lincoln Park-area resident says the story two of them told him tonight turned out to be bogus – though the fine print, when he looked very closely at the receipt, didn’t lie – Read on for his description of the two and the story they told:

One is a Caucasian, trim, late teens, and wearing University of Washington jacket and cap. The other is African American, trim, but wearing casual clothes with no identifying symbols. They introduced themselves as teammates on the UW baseball team, which won their season and are selling magazine subscriptions to be able to go to the playoffs in Hawaii. The Caucasian introduced himself, and showed photo ID, as Matt Tekach, 6’1″, 160 pounds, as the son of the woman who lives around the corner and walks her golden retriever down this block in the morning. Ironically, there is a woman I’ve seen walking a golden retriever on our block in the morning, but I don’t know her name, so his story rang true.

They are glib and earnest and charming, and are selling magazine subs for $44 per sub. When I pointed out that the magazines could be ordered for about $15/year, they said that the team gets 80% of the money as a donation and the rest goes to pay for the magazine, which could be donated to children’s hospital if I didn’t want to receive it. I offered just to give the $32 to the team itself, and he said “but I need the full amount to get the points for the team to win the trip to Hawaii.” He assured me that I’d be getting a receipt and that it was tax deductible.

I gave him cash, to avoid a magazine company having my checking account information, and he did give me a receipt. As I was in the middle of dinner, I put the receipt aside, not reading it til later.

After dinner, it hit me that April 28 is kind of early for the UW team to have finished its season, and checked the UW website. Sure enough, there’s another full month of games! Getting a queasy feeling, I scoured the list of players. There is no Matt Tekach on the team. I Googled “Matt Tekach,” and up came this link/story from as far back as 2005:

[editor’s note – the original version of that story is here]:

They’re still using the same name. and the same “my mom’s the one who walks the golden retriever” story! Only then did I look at the receipt, which says in red type that the company is “not in any way related to a non-profit or charitable organization, donation, sponsorship or scholastical program of any kind. In fact it is for a profit enterprise.”

The resident says that organization is Periodical and Publication Connection, Inc. Meantime, city rules for door-to-door solicitors can be read here.

12 Replies to "Another door-to-door alert: Read the fine print"

  • Michael April 29, 2009 (12:06 am)

    I would have pretty much shut the guy out the second he said “WIN the trip” – since when does a collegiate athletic department send only the top door-to-door earners to play in a tournament?

  • Farmersfriend April 29, 2009 (7:13 am)

    They are hoping you just give them cash. They also hope to interrupt your dinner. I am sorry that happened to you.

  • Bonnie April 29, 2009 (7:42 am)

    I worry about older people being taken in by scammers like this. I worry about my FIL because he was going to go pick up his new car last week that he was told he won (in the mail). He had his checkbook all ready!

  • AHM April 29, 2009 (8:49 am)

    There were two African American women in the Arbor Heights neighborhood last night going door-to-door. As usual, I don’t open the door for anyone (unless I know who’s there, ie: repair person I called, etc) so I am not sure what they wanted. They were persistent in knocking though when they heard us inside. They looked “clean cut” but that doesn’t mean much these days when it comes to doing something tricky.

  • Andy April 29, 2009 (9:12 am)

    He came to my door last night. It seemed very suspicious because he didn’t look athletic at all. I could tell he really wasn’t interested in selling magazines and just wanted money.

  • swimcat April 29, 2009 (10:33 am)

    a D1 sports team doesn’t do fundraising like this. Money for travel comes from either the UW, Pac-10 or NCAA. They’re lucky they didn’t ring my door; I’d have a TON of questions for them since I’m a former NCAA athlete! Sorry you got scammed- their story sounds legit enough when you’re busy cooking dinner and worried about other things. Thanks for the warning too.

  • Brentut5 April 29, 2009 (11:43 am)

    There was a news story on TV (either King5 or Kiro7) that talked about these guys. The athletic director at UW categorically stated that no athletic team for the UW goes door to door. That story was about a group going around in Ballard. Guess it’s moved over here.

  • MM April 29, 2009 (1:06 pm)

    This guy came to my house too in Arbor Heights last night. He was actually seems aggressive and frustrated. If he shows up again I will be letting the dogs out and calling the cops.

  • KateMcA April 29, 2009 (4:08 pm)

    Ehh… time to polish up the “no soliciting” sign at the McA household.

  • AHM April 29, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    McA – I took ours down…guess it’s time for a new one!

  • H April 29, 2009 (5:19 pm)

    Dumb question – I hear about and see these signs a lot now. What good does a “no soliciting” sign do? If someone’s trying to scam you out of money, are they going to be deterred by the sign? Does the sign provide some sort of legal protection i.e. solicitors who approach a residence with a “no soliciting” sign can be prosecuted?

  • Dave April 29, 2009 (8:46 pm)

    We had a knucklehead patrol our street last night with this scam in Westwood. I knew he was up to something the minute he rounded the corner, and he crossed the street as soon as he saw me glaring at him from my driveway. My neighbor said he pulled the same baseball line – but while taking a drag from a cig. Mo-ron.

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