Consumers review their Kirby experience

Sales people for the Kirby Vacuum Company, who sell their product door to door, have generated a lot of complaints over the years for high-pressure sales tactics. But in some cases, consumers might not have been dealing with a representative of that company.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says a 48-year old man, Gary Harvey, posed as a licensed distributor of Kirby Vacuums under the business name HARVCO and sold his product door-to-door, in particular to elderly residents living in age-restricted communities in Las Vegas.

Harvey was arrested and faces nine charges, including five counts of felony burglary, one count of obtaining money by false pretenses from a person over the age of 60, one count of financial exploitation of an older person, one count of transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of a trade or business, and one count of deceptive trade practice.

Targeting the elderly

“Our office takes seriously any allegations of fraud against consumers in the Silver State,” said Masto. “Particularly disturbing is that the defendant targeted elderly residents of Nevada.”

Kirby, meanwhile, appeared relieved the complaints about door-to-door vacuum sales are about someone else for a change.

“I am thankful to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office for its diligence in helping stop Harvey, who was posing as a Kirby sales representative and had been operating a similar scheme in other states,” said Halle Sminchak, the Manager of Customer and Public Relations and Business Compliance for The Kirby Company.

The complaint alleges that, between November 3, 2011 and December 28, 2011, Harvey sold his product to five different Las Vegas residents, all over the age of 65. Harvey allegedly represented to all five victims that the vacuums they were buying were new, at prices ranging from $400 to $1,220.

Not what they thought it was

Upon buying the vacuums, all five victims said they noted that the vacuum was not new, or did not even function properly. When they attempted to contact Harvey for a refund of their money, the victims were unable to reach Harvey though they made repeated attempts. In total, Harvey obtained $4,016 from the five victims.

The incident reinforces the point that it's never a good idea to make a purchase from someone selling door to door. Despite what you are told, you have no way of knowing who they really are and what it is they are selling.

State attorneys general routinely caution homeowners against hiring contractors who knock on their doors and offer a good deal because they just happen to be doing work in the neighborhood.

If you need a new vacuum cleaner or alarm system, research your options online. You'll probably be happier than if you buy from the first person who knocks on your door.

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