South Charlotte

BBB warns of magazine scam

Charlotte's Better Business Bureau recently issued a homeowner advisory warning about door-to-door magazine salesmen, many of whom have been canvassing south Charlotte.

Charlotte's Better Business Bureau spokeswoman Janet Hart said the salesmen are from The Harvest Group of Frisco, Texas, an organization that sends salesmen to communities to sell magazines, often without the appropriate license.

The BBB has confirmed that each door-to-door representative needs to have a "privilege license" to solicit in Charlotte or Mecklenburg County.

The BBB has received hundreds of complaints about these solicitors, and it's rare someone receives the magazines they purchased, said Hart. The Harvest Group is not accredited with the BBB and has a BBB grade of F.

"It's what the Better Business Bureau calls a 'highly-suspect industry,'" said Hart.

The Harvest Group recently solicited Hart at her south Charlotte home.

Hart said a saleswoman came to her door with the usual pitch: "I'm trying to get my life on track. The Harvest Group is helping. Please support us by buying a magazine."

The saleswoman also said she was a Charlotte native, but when Hart pressed her about where she grew up, the saleswoman admitted she was from Cleveland and had arrived in Charlotte three days earlier.

When Hart refused to buy a magazine, the saleswoman begged her, claiming Hart's neighbors "were helping out." But Hart reviewed the woman's list and didn't recognize a single name or street.

Three days later, two salesmen with The Harvest Group knocked on Maryanne Dailey's door, claiming The Harvest Group was BBB-accredited. Dailey - the charity analyst for Charlotte's BBB - confronted them and called police.

Hart spoke with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers who said they are getting dozens of calls about the scammers.