Aggressive door-to-door salespeople hit Longview

2010-05-20T19:00:00Z Aggressive door-to-door salespeople hit LongviewBy Leslie Slape / The Daily News Longview Daily News
May 20, 2010 7:00 pm  • 

Complaints about "extremely aggressive" young salespeople from T & B Sales, a Georgia company, have been pouring in to Longview police this week.

No laws have been broken, but citizens say they're concerned because the salespeople don't take no for an answer.

One Longview woman told police that a salesman greeted her with "Hey beautiful" when she answered the door Wednesday, then tried to walk right in. She slammed the door.

The man left in a white van before police arrived, but patrol officers have spoken with some of the other salespeople. Details were unavailable.

"Their sales approach is extremely aggressive," said Barry J. Morrill of Longview, who said they've come to his home three times, including twice this week. "They appear to have been coached."

Diane Benefiel of Longview said a young woman came to her door Tuesday and again on Wednesday.

"The second day she wore a blue wig, but I still recognized her," Benefiel said. "I said, ‘You're the one who was here yesterday' and she said, ‘No, I'm not, I'm prettier than her.' "

They were hawking some type of cleaning product, according to Morrill and Benefiel, who didn't buy anything.

"Oh, heavens no," Benefiel said. "It's probably vinegar and water."

According to the T & B Web site, the "Advanage [sic] Wonder Cleaner" is a "nontoxic, biodegradeable, all-purpose concentrated cleaner" made with unspecified ingredients.

The Better Business Bureau has given an "F" rating to the Georgia-based company due to the high number of complaints about sales practices, billing, customer service, products and refunds. Most of the complaints have been resolved, according to the bureau's website.

The company, which is owned and operated by Timothy Burgess, sells general merchandise and magazines and recruits young adults from around the country as traveling salespeople who work on commission.

"Give us an opportunity to teach you how to become that all-American, great-looking, great-talking, great-walking salesperson," reads the pitch on the Web site.

Earlier this month the Milwaukie, Ore., Police Department took a flood of reports about aggressive sales tactics after a team of 30 T&B salespeople arrived in town.

The Daily News made several attempts to call Burgess on Thursday but received a busy signal each time.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(45) Comments

  1. kelsomomto3
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    kelsomomto3 - May 20, 2010 7:38 pm
    They are in Kelso too. Just had one at my door. He wasnt quite as aggressive as the stories in this article though. Appreciate this story being in the paper, definitely helped me be prepared! Thanks!
  2. Euphonium
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    Euphonium - May 20, 2010 8:11 pm
    A knock on the door or a ringing bell IS NOT A COMMAND. It is a request & if you don't know who's there, you are not obligated to open the door. Same applies when the 'phone rings when you have "Caller ID". Should the person be agressive at knocking, call the police and report the situation. Whatever, don't open the door!
  3. Tortoise
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    Tortoise - May 20, 2010 8:45 pm
    One of their guys stopped by my house a little while back. He was hawking this stuff as all natural and safe for kids, he went so far as to pull the spray nozzle out and drink some in front of me. It was revolting. He also made some reference to, "It's safe around your kids, unlike Michael Jackson." I said, "Uh, he's dead." They wanted $148 for a four pack of quart bottles. The salesman said to me, "Most people don't want to buy a four pack, so I always say, 'Be a sport, buy a quart.'" No thanks
  4. loved_by_the_king
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    loved_by_the_king - May 20, 2010 8:49 pm
    they were at my house on 38th last night at about 830pm...the young guy was very nice but very persistent...we said NO of course...who can afford $40 for a bottle of cleaner??? lol... I dont think these kids mean any harm...but good to be aware...
  5. LongviewFam
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    LongviewFam - May 20, 2010 9:05 pm
    I saw them heading up Cascade Way area yesterday and the day before. One gal had a blue spray bottle tucked into her pants pocket, so I figured they were hawking something. Doesn't bother me as long as they are polite. Appreciate the article though and will know what to look for. Thanks, TDN.
  6. cheney119
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    cheney119 - May 20, 2010 9:07 pm
    If I have to tell you to get off my porch twice, you had better be running or you will wish you had been running. That is just about as clear as I make it.
  7. petunia
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    petunia - May 20, 2010 9:12 pm
    I keep a container of pepper spray by my front door. Just try to shove your way into my house.
  8. Cleavage of the Buttocks
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    Cleavage of the Buttocks - May 21, 2010 12:09 am
    It's like spam email...if people didn't buy, you wouldn't have to deal with this kind of sales effort.
  9. pangborn
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    pangborn - May 21, 2010 12:35 am
    We had one today. He wanted me to help him win a contest. I said. "No." He said. "Sorry I don't speak Mexican." I said firmly. "Go away." He laughed and left. We didn't call the police. I figured by the time the police arrived the salesman would have been long gone.
  10. jerm
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    jerm - May 21, 2010 12:57 am
    These people, and the other businesses like them are everywhere and have been at this for years. Back when I was a kid in the 80s they came to our house and asked if the "King or Queen of the Castle was home" I said no, and the guy insisted he come in and wash the brass front of our fireplace doors.
    Also they sometimes"drink" the product to show how safe it was.
    I didn't let him in.
    15 years later at my apartment in portland, these clowns show up again. Same shtick almost word for word. I didn'
  11. Tortoise
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    Tortoise - May 21, 2010 2:55 am
    jerm: that is great. I forgot that little detail. He asked me, "You the king of the castle?" After I rejected his sales pitch, he gave me some sob story about how some guy had let a dog loose on him earlier. I was less than sympathetic.
  12. Aconserve
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    Aconserve - May 21, 2010 5:34 am
    I had these guys out in Lexington come to my door. I bought a quart of the stuff and it works really well, but I got him down to $15 for the one bottle.
  13. abc123
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    abc123 - May 21, 2010 6:34 am
    They came to my door but when my teenager said I was busy, the lady just said she'd come back later. Thankfully she hasn't. My neighbor bought some from her though, said she paid $40 for the bottle.
  14. 2nd revolution
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    2nd revolution - May 21, 2010 7:30 am
    I always ask them if they can read and of of course they say yes. So I simply grab the mossburg pistol grip 12 gauge with my left hand and show it to them and they always jog back to their rig,,oh yeah, the big clearly visable sign at the entrance to my property says " Tresspassers and thieves will be shot"
  15. ciaobella
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    ciaobella - May 21, 2010 8:28 am
    Thank you for reporting this. I do not like door to door selling because unfortunately you cannot trust what the result of it could be. Pretty scary.
  16. GR8 Ant
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    GR8 Ant - May 21, 2010 9:04 am
    they wanted me to write a check, even though I said I didn't have any money. IDIOTS!!
  17. citizen pote
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    citizen pote - May 21, 2010 9:06 am
    The kid Tortise described is the same from my house in Lexington over a week ago. Even the same sampling from the bottle. I was a little irritated by the encounter, but he moved on. I have since purchased and display a NO SOLICITING placard. Hoping it works.
  18. tsathe23
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    tsathe23 - May 21, 2010 9:20 am
    I wish I wouldve seen this yesterday. Yes they were in Kelso, and yes I was a sucker who got a bottle, however, I made sure she didnt come near my door (I was already outside) and I had some extra cash so I figured what the heck. Yes it is expensive, however it DID do a lot of stain removal so worth a shot, it had a website and a telephone number so I figured I could always call them if there was a problem. If I wasnt already outside, then I wouldnt even answer the door.
  19. beachbum
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    beachbum - May 21, 2010 10:18 am
    Gee, this is why I have a locked gate and three 60lb dogs in my yard!
  20. MamaM
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    MamaM - May 21, 2010 11:07 am
    One came to my door a couple days ago. He started off really sarcastic and was going on about how Robin Williams did this before he got famous. Long story short, he was hawking magazines, I said I didn't have money. He wanted me to write a check (I don't carry checks), then he asked me to make out with him. I said, "I'm good thanks", and he proceeded to obnoxiously flirt. For a minute or so I was actually afraid of what was about to happen. Luckily he got the hint and left.
  21. concernedparent
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    concernedparent - May 21, 2010 11:18 am
    These same people, or at least very similar type of salespeople came to my house last spring. They were also selling some cleaning product and the guy tried to woo me by saying how beautiful I was and such. He then gave me the old speach about how safe it was and sprayed it in his mouth to prove it. He then used some to shine up a shoe, even though any bottle of vinegar could have done just the same and would have been safe to drink as well. They were very corny and aggressivly persistant.
  22. concernedparent
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    concernedparent - May 21, 2010 11:18 am
    After telling them no several times and how we were barely surviving on one income, ready to lose our house etc etc they finally left.
  23. concernedparent
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    concernedparent - May 21, 2010 11:21 am
    I also encountered a lady who walked up to me outside of Fred Meyers. She walked up to me and asked me where I got my purse and I thought she was just someone coming out of the store until she started asking me if I wore parfume. I told her I was not interested because I was already approached by someone with the same speach in the Splitz parking lot a few nights back. I then went in and reported it to the store and people BEWARE!! These people steal the parfume from stores then try to resell
  24. concernedparent
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    concernedparent - May 21, 2010 11:26 am
    They try to resell the parfume or goods for drug money! On my way back out of the store I was then approached by another lady who compimented me on my shirt (which happened to be the uggliest gardening shirt I owned). Anyway, people BEWARE! these people are scammers who are reselling you fake or stolen goods! If anyone apprehends you in a parking lot out of the blue and starts trying to spark up a conversation or compliment you get away immediatly & tell the owners of the business or police!
  25. CowlitzRes
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    CowlitzRes - May 21, 2010 11:43 am
    Just because the door bell rings, doesn't mean you have to answer it. I don't answer my door "ever" to strangers. They won't sucker me into anything.
  26. duckguy
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    duckguy - May 21, 2010 2:35 pm
    Yep, they hit my neighborhood a week ago. I was outside washing my truck and he walked up the driveway and pulled the spray head off the bottle and put some in his mouth, then proceeded to pull out a rag and get ready to spray some on the chrome on my truck. That was right after I had told him I wasn't interested. I told him not to do that and he said "just wait till you see how good it works". I mentioned something about removing the bottle from his backside if he did it and he quickly left
  27. kitten
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    kitten - May 21, 2010 6:23 pm
    Repeat after me "Excuse me, you are trespassing, please leave before I am forced to make a citizen's arrest".
  28. badfish
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    badfish - May 21, 2010 6:46 pm
    We had one show up to our door after dark. She said, "Don't shoot, I'm not here to rob you." Huh?
    She then asked to come in so she could show us how the product worked on the carpet. We said no thanks and basically just shut the door on here as she stood there dumbfounded.
  29. Steph-G
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    Steph-G - May 21, 2010 8:15 pm
    They are Running around my neighborhood right now near the lake. One gal caught me outside but before she could say anything but "hey" I said "I don't need anything I'm broke" she laughed and that was that but then she caught me neighbors outside too! Now there is a second one coming up the street haha
  30. jerm
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    jerm - May 21, 2010 10:48 pm
    A lot of these "companies" are like modern day Fagin of Oliver Twist.
    They literally scour the shelters and street kids and ghettos and "recruit" teens to fly out to a seminar, learn the trade and then go in groups across the country.
    They stay in hotels and do weird little "classes" and then get dropped off in neighborhoods and canvas the area. They are known for their aggression and often many have committed assault and theft or attempts on home owners. Numerous stories on them.
  31. jerm
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    jerm - May 21, 2010 10:50 pm
    It is a form of indentured servitude. Many will be told "we will fly you out to work and you just pay us back a percentage" but any time they mess up, or don't make quota, they "owe more" and have to work it off.
    They are instructed to make up trips, scenarios, rewards etc... anything to manipulate a sale. If they ever do try and quit, often they are stranded in the city they were sent to sell in and many end up back on the streets.
  32. somebodysmother
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    somebodysmother - May 21, 2010 11:29 pm
    I bought some of this product a few years ago. Love it!!!
  33. somebodysmother
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    somebodysmother - May 21, 2010 11:30 pm
    Oh and I made the salesman carry in all my groceries. HA!!!
  34. frankenzombie
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    frankenzombie - May 22, 2010 8:05 am
    This is why I don't answer the door. Even if my blinds are wide open and they see me sitting on my couch. They can knock for an hour and I really don't care. If I don't know you, then you're not going to get me to open the door.
  35. Blueeyes
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    Blueeyes - May 22, 2010 9:11 am
    We had 2 show up at our door last night, they used the phrase, are you the king of the castle. My husband asked them if they are the one's that the new's and police are talking about, and they laughed, he asked them where they are from, one said Tampa, FL and the other from Paridise, CA, he than said BYE and shut the door, they left, good for them. We never buy anything from people that come to our door, it's usually a scam.
  36. J A Long
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    J A Long - May 22, 2010 9:51 am
    I wish we had an ordinance requiring any door to door business or fundraiser to have a permit first, then we could do background checks on the companys and each agent, who would have to carry a temporary permit, and limit the duration of any operation for say, 5 business days. This would be a good way to at least try to limit and monitor this kind of thing, help protect the public, and raise revenue for the city as well. Not having this is like leaving our front door wide open!
  37. dManeMan
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    dManeMan - May 22, 2010 11:27 am
    I take it the owner of the company didn't read the local economic report before setting up shop here.
  38. Land3456
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    Land3456 - May 23, 2010 9:02 am
    We had a salesman come to our door in Gresham last night on my girl's 5th birthday party. The man was dancing on our covered porch. My wife first ignored him. He wouldn't leave. I opened the door and told him it was my daughter's birthday. He said "where's the balloons" and argued with me. I told him to leave my property. He accused me of being racist, and said he would come back with a group and, "I would get it that night". I called the police. He was arrested and placed in jail. Be Safe!
  39. phoenix182
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    phoenix182 - May 23, 2010 12:16 pm
    People don't tend to hard sell me, but perhaps it's because I'm fairly intimidating looking and open carry when I answer the door. I imagine that if they did try it my pulling out the OC and giving it a shake while I inform them they're trespassed would weaken their resolve a touch.
  40. starkfeplumfit
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    starkfeplumfit - May 23, 2010 4:07 pm
    Somebody needs to print this page and give it to them when they knock. Maybe if they realized how many psychos would love to shoot them for fun they would back off.
  41. atheism is Freedom
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    atheism is Freedom - May 24, 2010 1:17 am
    J A Long its people like you that talk first think later. So your saying the girl scouts should have to get permits to sell cookies now. Then you would be complaining about government control.
  42. Kelsogal22
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    Kelsogal22 - May 24, 2010 9:22 am
    I have had one on Thursday and another on Friday. They both cut through my yard (I live on a corner) to get to my front door rather than use my driveway. The first one who came was very very aggressive, would not take no for an answer, unfortunately I was outside when he came and finally just got in my car and drove off. The other that cut through my yard was met by my lab who barked and then the young man actually jumped onto the hood of my car. My husband told him to leave.
  43. longviewguy
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    longviewguy - May 24, 2010 12:00 pm
    yeah i had one guy come to my door who wouldnt give me a chance to say no thanks he just talked over me then after i told him i wasnt interested he asked me if i had any weed pretty sure thats illegal to do right?
  44. CastleRockMom
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    CastleRockMom - May 26, 2010 1:27 pm
    2nd Revolution....They would be met with the same "Welcome" at our home!! Try coming to CR and see how many barrels meet them at the door =)

  45. mcghee
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    mcghee - June 15, 2010 11:14 am
    These people are in Gig Harbor now too. They came to my door and the girl was very pushy. She started cleaning everything and worked her way right inside the door. Then she barged in and went and started cleaning stuff in the kitchen. Next thing I knew her "brother" was at the front door looking in. I became very uncomfortable and told her I wasn't going to buy the Advanage Wonder Cleaner. After she left I had a horrible feeling that my house had just been cased. I called the cops to report it.
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