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Youth Field Sales Alert

linked from Magazine Sales Scams web search for Magazine Sales Scams

Many law enforcement agencies and the Better Business Bureau have a standard alert to consumers about dealing with people working as part of sales crews selling magazine subscriptions and other products.

Purchasing a magazine subscription from a person who comes to your door poses several risks. While there is a risk that you may not get what you paid for or you may pay too much, the more serious risk is to your personal safety.

But buying magazines from some adolescent who comes knocking on your door isn't just a bad situation for you, it's bad for the person trying to do the selling as well. These kids (frequently under age 16) have been lured by the possibility of earning money while having the chance to "see the world."

The truth is that for the long hours they work, they see very little of the money they are supposedly earning. They are instructed to make up stories about earning money for their education or saying that the money will go for some charitable cause, they can't appreciate the risk they take every time they knock on a door, and the nights spent at the cheapest motel around are most likely to be unpleasant if not unsafe.

If one of these kids comes knocking at your door, the biggest favor you can do them is to offer to call their parents for them, because they are probably sick and tired of pounding the pavement with very little reward.

Guilty Parties
Today, the majority of youth field sales involve magazine subscriptions. This business will involve a "clearing house" which handles the back office business of transmitting subscription orders to the publisher and will provide a phone number for customer service.

The clearing house defends itself by claiming that the people who do the sales and send in the completed orders are independent agents and are not employed or directed by the clearing house. But the clearing houses have made a conscious decision to do business with the people running these sales crews, if they are not in fact arranging the whole operation.

It's not clear if the hands of the publishers are completely clean either. While publishers will certainly try to distance themselves from any questionable operations, publishers know that youth field sales can boost their circulation in a way that can be much more effective than a legitimate direct mail solicitation.

Nevertheless, the clearing house knows what's really going on and is the party most directly responsible for luring young people into this activity.

Youth Field Sales Crew Legislation Youth Field Sales Advocacy and Support Web Sites

media reports

more news articles about 1999 Subscriptions Plus van crash

3/26/1999 Magazine sellers recruited
3/26/1999 Driver faces homicide charges
Iowa man, 19, with long traffic record tried to switch places with passenger
3/26/1999 Van crash kills 6 magazine sellers
3/26/1999 6 killed, 8 hurt as van full of young people crashes
3/27/1999 Driver in crash charged
3/27/1999 Teen crew's employer is charged
3/29/1999 Van crash victim was mother
Victims improve, driver still in jail
3/30/1999 Van crash victims critical
3/31/1999 Subscriptions Plus denies wrongdoing
4/1/1999 Plea made for suspect in 7 deaths
4/1/1999 Crash witness tracked down
4/2/1999 Van crash survivor arrested, held on material witness warrant in D.C.
4/3/1999 White crosses along I-90 remember crash victims
4/5/1999 Van crash victim's dad is located
4/6/1999 History of accidents in subscription sales business
4/7/1999 Witness in van crash returning to county
4/15/1999 Guilty in 7 deaths
Van driver faces sentencing on June 11
4/16/1999 Driver in fatal van crash pleads guilty
4/20/1999 Parents recall son after death
Company blamed in fatal crash
4/24/1999 Families of van crash victims retain lawyers for possible suit
4/27/1999 Families file suits in fatal van crash
4/28/1999 Van-crash suits send `wake-up call,' lawyer claims
4/28/1999 Oklahoma probe turns up problems with firm
6/4/1999 Magazine firm packed belongings of dead, and resumed sales
6/10/1999 Holmes sentencing set Friday
6/11/1999 Van Crash Driver Sentenced To 7 Years
6/11/1999 Van driver that killed 7 sentenced to 7 years
6/12/1999 Van's driver gets year for each fatality
Holmes says, `I'm sorry'
6/12/1999 Families tell court of grief
6/28/1999 YES Owner Distances Herself From Van Crash
7/2/1999 Magazine company penalized
7/23/1999 Van crash labor-law counts set
8/2/1999 Teen magazine peddlers feel victimized
9/15/1999 Seatbelts may have saved seven killed in van crash
3/14/2000 U.S. Labor Department fines magazine company for child labor violations
3/15/2000 Firm fined
Van crash case uncovers labor violations
3/15/2000 U.S. Labor Department fines magazine company
3/25/2000 Survivors, family members remember crash one year later
3/27/2000 Survivors remember crash one year later
3/30/2000 Doyle will file state charges over fatal van crash
3/31/2000 Company in van crash faces negligent homicide charges, civil lawsuit
3/31/2000 Lawsuit filed against companies involved in crash that killed teens
3/31/2000 Charges filed against owner in fatal crash
3/31/2000 Proposed law would protect teen workers
4/1/2000 `The charges here are false'
Attorney denies claims against subscription company owner
4/7/2000 Court date set in fatal van crash
4/18/2000 Man who ran company involved in fatal van crash in court
4/18/2000 Company called "sweatshop on wheels"
Businessman faces charges in van crash
5/19/2000 YES misses hearing in van crash case
6/6/2000 Magazine company found guilty of homicide in van crash deaths
6/6/2000 Subscription firm guilty
Judge orders fines, restitution to crash victims
7/11/2000 Court no show angers parents
Subscription company head said he wasn't sure if required to appear
8/8/2000 Default judgment sought against company
Magazine-selling firm accused in fatal crash
10/25/2000 Ordered to prison
Magazine employer sentenced in crash that killed seven
12/7/2000 Defendants dismissed in crash suit
1/9/2001 Judge upholds ruling in suit
1/30/2001 Parents of crash victim, insurance firm settle suit
9/4/2001 Auto dealer to pay in van crash lawsuit
9/25/2001 Van crash settlements reached
4/23/2002 Magazine sales crews continue
Three years after crash, no legislation regulates industry
6/5/2002 Location of crash lawsuit is upheld [Wayback archive]

archive search

more reports

the Clearing Houses

the trade group

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