Jay Little - Software Obsessionist
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A Door to Door Con Gone Wrong
Post Icon 8/13/2005 8:43:46 AM

The wife and I went through a scary yet thought provoking experience earlier this evening. This email I sent to the prepetrator's company, Chapel Sales Inc ought to explain it:

To whom it does concern,

I am writing this email in an effort to relay an experience I had with one of your representatives earlier this evening. Earlier this evening at around 7:30 PM EST, one of your representatives who identified himself as Clemson Cockfield knocked on the door of our residence. After explaining his purpose and showing us a list of magazine subscriptions, we decided that we were not interested. However Clemson had told us that he was trying to raise money to purchase the books he needed for his college education so we decided to provide him with a ten dollar donation in the form of a check. After asking for a glass of water, Clemson left the premises.

As soon as he left, my wife and I looked at each other because we knew something wasn't right here. He knocked on the door of our neighbors (after claiming he had already sold something to them) and they did not answer. This only served to raise our suspicions further. After a few minutes the wife and I decided to track him down to acquire his personal information along with a receipt. About fifteen minutes later we tracked Mr. Cockfield down and asked for a receipt. He informed us that he could not provide a receipt and that one would be sent to us later. We then asked for his name and phone number again so that we could take the information down in case there was a problem.

Upon returning to the apartment I decided to dial the number he had given us. The number connected me to a local hotel and upon inquiry I was told that nobody under the name "Clemson Cockfield" had been registered there. At this point I decided to reacquire our check by any means necessary. After making contact with the police we informed them of the situation and the officer at hand decided to cruise through the complex for awhile and see whether or not he saw the gentleman. After about 45 minutes the officer returned with Mr. Cockfield secured in the back of his cruiser. He asked us to identify him, which we did. I then asked Clemson for the check and after fumbling around for a few minutes, he produced our check.

At this point we discovered that Mr. Cockfield had overwritten the check and changed the amount from ten to one hundred dollars. The police officers later discovered that Clemson had already gone to the trouble of filling out a magazine subscription for us with a hundred dollars worth of magazine subscriptions. I decided that instead of just getting our check back, that we wanted to press charges against Mr. Cockfield in an effort to deter this type of activity from occurring in our neighborhood.

As a concerned consumer, I wanted to bring this incident to your attention and hope that you will take this seriously. While Mr. Cockfield may be sitting in the city jail this evening, there is no telling how many other people have been victimized by his activities. I would suggest that you as a company take any action required to distance yourself from an individual of this caliber including but not limited to:

  1. End your association with him. He has proved that he will do whatever it takes to make his commissions or fill his quota.

  2. Thoroughly review every subscription that Mr. Cockfield has received credit for. I have no doubt given the details of the crime that he has in fact done this before. If other people have been victimized by this individual (or others) they deserve a full refund. No questions asked.

  3. Take every complaint seriously. While we have never heard of your organization before and therefore don't have a feel for your business practices, the police officers both indicated to us that your company has reputation for hiring less than reputable individuals. I have no idea whether or not this is the case. However I would like you to consider how hard it will be to do further business with the public as time goes on unless you take the steps to deal with situations like this. The best way to do this would be by taking proactive steps to demonstrate that your organization does not condone actions such as the ones taken by Mr. Cockfield this evening.

We appreciate your time and we would appreciate a response. We have every intent of pressing charges against Mr. Cockfield whom we were informed was already on probation. My wife and I would like to strongly urge you to sever all ties with this individual in an effort to clear up any misconceptions that may have been generated here this evening. For your information we have also forwarded a copy of this report to the Better Business Bureau as well as the National Field Sales Association (both organizations that you are part of).

Sincerely,

Jay and Annette Little

What an experience. While Mr. Cockfield is definitely spending the night in a cell, I can't help but to wonder whether or not we will experience any form of retaliation. Seeing that he was on probation, this rather small charge will likely end up sending him back to whatever institution he had somehow avoided previously. We do intend to follow through and make absolutely sure that justice is done. After seeing that he had in fact modified our check (previous this we were just going to let him go), we decided to push the point from a legal standpoint.

A word to the wise: If anybody from Chapel Sales comes knocking on your door, ask them to politely leave (don't be gruff as the officers indicated they also have a reputation for vandalism when it comes to negative responses). Anybody who comes to your door offering to sell something, ought to be taken with a grain of salt especially given the wired world we live in today. Identity Theft has occured with far less information than is available on the typical check. From this point forward I think the wife and I won't be speaking much less buying anything from door to door salesmen if we can at all help it.

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