When buying a service or product over the phone, consumers should take the following precautions: when you are solicited over the phone, don’t be pressured into buying anything “on the spot.” And, ask for written material to be sent. If it is costly, or a “large ticket” item, ask for references. Ask how long the company has been in business, where they are calling from, and how they got your phone number. Ask about warranties and cancellation policies. Ask if a meeting can be set up with one of their representatives. And, never buy anything “sight unseen.” If the sales rep can’t answer your questions, but still insists that you buy immediately, you are probably dealing with a fraud.
If you decide to do business with a company over the phone, you should know that orders placed over the phone and paid for by check or money order through the mail are covered by the mail order rule. And telephone credit card orders are covered by the Fair Credit Billing Act.
For investment solicitations over the phone, it’s always a good idea to take notes on the sales presentation. Write down the name of the company, the sales rep, their address and phone number, and type of investment. Ask the company to send you a prospectus in the mail. Call the Business Registration Division of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to check if the investment needs to be registered in the State of Hawaii and whether the sales rep and company are registered to sell securities in the state.