Under California law, a consumer can cancel a contract within three days if they change their mind, but... this law — this right — applies only to people who are 'induced to sign a contract by a salesperson canvassing a neighborhood,' and does not apply if the consumer made an appointment or invited the salesperson to make a sales pitch, or if you have signed the contract at their place of business. The law is quite limited. So, for the promise of a fruit basket of unknown value (or suitability for human consumption), the unsuspecting consumer makes an appointment to be pitched by an experienced salesperson, thereby giving up their Cooling-Off Period rights.
This is not illegal. It is done in various forms all the time. But I, personally, do not like this practice at all.
In my case, this notice arrived on my own front porch Feb. 10, 2010 in Encinitas, in the San Diego area. My notice was pink, but others have been reported with green paper. At its heart, it is actually an advertising ploy involving deception, which is why I list it on my scams blog — though I have no reason to believe, at this point, that it is a traditional scam designed to rip you off. It is deception, nevertheless. The deception comes in the form of the pictured pink (or blue) notice dropped on your doorstep.
In my case, I work at home, and I always hear a knock or the doorbell since my desk is in very close proximity to the front door. So, I always know when someone claims to have made an attempt when I have been home.
Second deception, the notice is designed to look like a real package attempted-delivery notice, and third, they use a pre-printed, 2-color printout using a "handwriting font" which is meant to deceive you into believing it was handwritten by the person who attempted the delivery. In reality, no one came to your door with a fruit basket. Only the notice.
And they did the same thing to every neighbor on your block.
How the scam works:
The reference number is a database code. When you call the number on the form, the operator (phone-pool monkey) answers and asks you for the reference number, which he/she enters into their computer, which brings up information from the particular advertiser that is paying them to get them new customers.
The phone monkey tells you you are to receive a free [in my case] 'fruit basket' from a [fill in the blank service] to introduce their services to people in your neighborhood.
This scam is meant to circumvent laws related to the No-Call List. They get you to call them, instead. This also, as noted, circumvents the 3-day cooling off laws, since, technically, upon making an appointment you have invited them to come to your home to make the sales pitch.
While I sympathize with companies who have a harder time getting new customers due to No-Call List Laws, and I sympathize with people who need a job so badly that they will take a job deceiving people all day on the phone, I think they should choose work that has more integrity. I personally do not use the services of any company that employs deception to gain my trust.
Here is the text of the notice for Google Searching purposes:
There is a Gift Waiting For You
We will call again
Your delivery was left at
You may call between
9 am - 7 pm
Monday thru Friday
Saturday 9 am - 3 pm
We attempted delivery
of 1 Package(s)
PCS Reference # 01040 or 44539 or A1 / Al
This as our:
_ Second Attempt
_ Final Attempt
PCS Distribution Center
San Diego, CA
These are being spotted in the San Diego area, Scripps Ranch, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Miramar, Tierrasanta, Jamacha, Spring Valley, Rolando Village, Leucadia, La Mesa, Rolando, Mt. Helix, Imperial Beach, Point Loma, Pt. Loma and lower Orange County. If you received such a notice in an area not included, please post your city in the comments so I can add it here. One commenter has added the phone number 805-680-1537 -- Thanks for all the help --David