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Think I'm being scammed somehow by bloody, arsehole Avon

(69 Posts)
PirateJelly Tue 08-Oct-13 13:57:26

Apologies in advance if this is long but don't want to drip feed. I also appreciate that maybe I should post this in Legal but I'm wondering if I've done something wrong stupid here.

Back in June an Avon Rep/leader knocked on my door asking me if I'd be interested in becoming an Avon Rep. I had heard of Avon and had bought things through my mums rep a few times so let her in. I also was no longer working having suffered a breakdown some months prior so was interested in the possibility of earning a bit of pocket money.

As soon as she sat down I felt very pressurised, without asking my permission she phoned another leader who got brought round in a very posh car and the first leader let her in, all while I just sat there feeling like a guest in my own home.

She told me that her original rep for the area had let her down and that I would have half the small estate I lived on to canvass and that another experienced rep did the other half. She handed me a small flyer about becoming an Avon rep which she told me to keep and then launched into such a hard sell that I began to feel panicy. I explained that I was off work suffering a break down and that I was experiencing panic attacks. She told me doing Avon would be excellent for my confidence and from my round I should easily earn £150 p/m. I got a note pad and pen out as tbh I had absolutely no idea how Avon worked and wanted more information.

Maybe I'm stupid but I honestly thought Avon worked a bit like a paper round. I deliver the books, pick up the orders, the orders would then come ready, I deliver them and get the money and then hand it to the boss once a month or so. I know for a fact I said this to her and asked if that's how it worked, to which she replied "yes pretty much". Herself and the other rep were in my home for almost an hour, taking phone calls, doing other stuff while I basically sat there feeling very akward. They both gave me the hard sell, spending most the time going on about extra gifts I could earn if I sold so much without ever going into detail of how being an Avon Rep worked. I asked on at least 5 occassions could she please explain exactly how it worked and was repeatable brushed away and eventually told " Uh you are a worrier arent you, your worrying about nothing, it's really very simple" Without ever giving me an explanation.

She then brought in a massive bundle of Avon books from the car and told me I must get the books out thy afternoon (it was already about 3pm) I again told he I'm not sure about this please can I think about it? To which she told me to just deliver the book today and shed come back and speak to me later in the week to answer my questions. She was extremely insistent and said firmly "you will get those books out won't you, don't let me down".

She briefly explained the pay scale for how much you sold but went into basically no detail about what it involved. At one point the 2nd lady could see I was looking very unhappy and uncomfortable and said to the other lady " I don't think she's keen Sue, maybe we should see someone else" but the leader replied "nonsense she's worrying over nothing". They left menwitg 50 books and order forms and this small flyer she handed me at the beginning, promising to return in a few days to answer any questions. I am 99% sure I signed nothing,I know for a fact I nerve signed any lengthy or detailed paperwork as I have been stung in the past and would always take time to go over it. The other lady did take a photo of my driving licnence on her phone though.

Anyway I delivered the books as asked, picked them back up and delivered again. Whilst on my round I got chatting to an ex Avon worker who warned me that it wasn't worth it, I would make a pittance and that it was a waste of time. I collected the order which totaled £90 meaning I had reached the target for earning something (about £7 I think) The leader who signed me up promised to come back on the Friday but never showed. I decided I couldn't be bothered with the hassle of it tbh and told her i didn't want to do it anymore and could she please pick up the orders. Although she led me to believe she would deliver the orders herself she told a delivery van was on it's way and she couldn't stop it.

Once the delivery arrived i opended the box to find lots of paperwork. It was very clear I had entered into some kind of credit agreement (without my knowledge) and tbh in my mental state was very scary. It detailed that I had effectively bought the orders on credit not the customers and that i was responsible for returns and paying the customers back even 6 months later if they weren't satisfied. This was not what I believed I was getting involved in

I treys ringing the leader many times but she never answered so I sent her a long txt message explaining that I never knowingly agrees to a credit agreement, had not given permission for one, had repeatably asked for how it worked to be explained without answer and that she had led me to believe I had time to think about
it. I told her I wanted out immediately.

3 of the 7 orders has been friends. While I was waiting for her to reply they turned up and asked for their orders. I explained the situation and thy I was sending the lot back, but they pleaded withe to let them have their orders. I thought fine, when she comes for delivery she can take their payments but I'm selling more. Eventually the Leader replied saying she was sorry I was upset and that she would arrange to pick up all the stuff the following week and close my Internet account (another thing I had no idea i had angry. She then made some excuse about being away for 2 weeks but would come on a certain date. She told me she had closed my account and to ignore anything further from Avon.

The next day new catalogues, bags and order forms arrived with a bill for them. Another important thing is she told me there would be no finacial outlay on my part and gave me no literature explaining it. By now I was sick of the whole thing and just glad unwashed out of it. I took the Avon books in and put them away. The date the leader said she would pick everything up came with no sign of her, I called several times but no answer.

The next day a car pulls up and a smartly dressed women I had not met before comes to my door. She explained she was from Avon and had come to pick up the unused catalogues and stuff. I gave her all the crap they had given me including the undelivered customer orders which i had resealed in their box. I explained to her that the money from the 3 orders I had collected was in there in an envelope and that it should all tally up. She thanked me and left.

Over the next few months I received a few letters which were clearly from Avon but never opened them and threw them straight away (as I was instructed to do) I had no further contact from the Leader so assumed all was dealt with thank god.

Today i open a unmarked letter and it is from some debt collection agency - door step division. Telling me that if i do not pay £90 within 7 days an enforcement officer will visit my home and they are looking to take court action! It also states my credit record will now be damaged. I mean seriously what the actual fuck?

HOW the hell can I have entered into a fucking credit agreement without my knowlege or permission? I know I never signed any documents! I gave basic details and at the most I may have signed a small card confirming my I.D but I am 1000% sure I never entered into any credit agreement or contract of any kind angry

Please help me. I know I was stupid in hindsight and should of just sent her packing, but i seriously feel like I have been scammed here. My mental health is still quite poor and since being signed off work I have fallen behind with a few bills so I'm already stressed over debt, but I just don't get how the he'll this can be allowed to happen?

I am so sorry it's so long, thank you for reading x

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 08-Oct-13 14:08:47

There are very strict rules about Credit Agreements, the form they should take and the information you should receive before entering into one.

Go and see the Citizens Advice Bureau. If they are trying to say you have entered into a Consumer Credit Act agreement but they haven't complied with the the requirements of the Act then they are on very shakey ground.

You need proper advice and the CAB should be able to help.

Madamedearest Tue 08-Oct-13 14:10:21

What a nightmare !! Sorry, I have no advice as I'm not sure either how Avon works. Am shocked at the tactics and that now you have debt collectors on your back. Hope someone knowledgeable comes along to help you. I've done Bodyshop in the past but it appears to be a different format to Avon - they don't sell on credit. Hope this is sorted out for you, the Avon ladies should have backed off seeing you were in a vulnerable state

ooerrmissus Tue 08-Oct-13 14:10:39

that sounds extremely dodgy to me. If I were you I would contact Avon in writing and tell them what you have just put here. Ask them to provide written evidence that you signed a credit agreement, or contract. How long after the first visit did you call to say you didn't want to do it?
You might also try your local Citizen's Advice.
Also sorry but never ever ever throw away mail without opening it first.

HTH

saulaboutme Tue 08-Oct-13 14:11:26

I'm so sorry to hear you've had such a hard time. It sounds like you had a sales leader to recruit you and given the pressure she put you under you gave it a go.
They've seriously let you down with lack of support and guidance which is disgraceful. They go door to door to recruit representatives and I think get carried away and can't support everyone they recruit. I presume they get high commision and perks.
My BFF is an Avon lady and it works out really well for her but she has to be ultra, ultras organised. And has alot of loyal customers.
I would say speak to the debt collection people and explain what happened. Fwiw I think the money from the orders should have been paid to Avon and not the woman who came to your door, she's probably bagged it. Oherwise speak to Avon or get legal advice.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Tue 08-Oct-13 14:14:34

It does sound like this woman has pulled a fast one on you - I did Ann Summers when I was a student and they were similar in the "hard sell, push push push" line - it is really hard to actually make much money unless you have the hide of a rhino and are very determined and pushy, and willing to really go for it 24.7 confused
I'd repost this in legal, and go see the Citizen's Advice people, or if you have a local law centre or a local solicitor who will give you a short consultation appointment to see if you have a case (if you know what I mean, it's usually about 15 mins and free iirc but I can't think of the proper word)
Once you know exactly where you stand, and what this woman has done, you can decide how to deal with her -have you tried to actually phone their head office and see if you can get it sorted out? I wonder if someone has helped themself to the money or the orders somewhere along the line from you back to Avon and is leaving you to take the blame?
You need proper advice though lovey, and do try not to let it get to you and upset you (easier said than done I know)

mamaslatts Tue 08-Oct-13 14:14:53

i have never done avon but think they trade on reputation a lot. I would contact head office in the first instance both by telephone and in writing. It sounds like the rep who came to you may have been getting you to do her donkey work - you deliver and have 'half' the estate whilst an 'experienced rep'has the other half. did she know you at all and that you were vulnerable? just wondering why she knocked on your door out of the blue, didn't think recruitment worked that way.

Latara Tue 08-Oct-13 14:18:19

Yes try the CAB.

When I was very ill with MH problems I became vulnerable to door-to-door people like the JWs, I stupidly gave them my name and it took a lot to get rid of them.
It's difficult when you have poor MH to cope with these things.

Does your local CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) know of a local Advocacy Service for Mentally ill people? If so it's worth contacting them for help too. (If you're not known to the CMHT then you can get their number from your GP).

pajamapants1 Tue 08-Oct-13 14:24:32

I'm sorry you've had to deal with this, not all companies are the same! I can't believe you'd only have got £7 from that, that's appalling! Ring the Avon head office and get it sorted out. Have you got the proof that you text saying you didn't want to do it? Xx

LazyMonkeyButler Tue 08-Oct-13 14:28:43

Did you sign anything at all when the women were in your house?

If so, that was probably the credit agreement.

However, if you paid for the items you had sold & returned the rest then your account balance should be £0 now.

I did Avon for a while a couple of years back. I can't see how you can make much money selling door to door TBH. I would think that the only way selling Avon could work for you is if you already work somewhere where there a lot of women who like Avon, and you casually take your books in and leave them in the staffroom or on your desk for perusal confused. Door to door is a lot of work for incredibly small return.

You are self-employed whilst doing Avon though, so yes - you buy the items from Avon and then sell them on, rather than your customers buying from Avon.

Do you have an e-mail address for the CEO at Avon? I wonder if we could find one for you? If so, I would recommend e-mailing them what you have posted here.

wifey6 Tue 08-Oct-13 14:28:56

Sounds awful OP. I am an Avon rep & made it clear to my Avon Leader that I was only taking friends/family orders as I have 2 small children. Although she tried to push - I was adamant of this & set my own account up online.
I would say the letter/bill you received was for the goods/orders you took. If you did not call Avon to get these returned/credited to your account (which you obviously weren't told to do) then they see it as you have had the products & not paid.
I would call Avon directly, explain the situation & that the lady has the products & money to cover what's owing (there may be a late fee). Therefore once they have received the items & money - it should credit your account & be sorted. However, please call them directly & tell them everything. It sounds like nothing was explained to you & you were mislead completely. What pushy, awful ladies you have had to deal with.

Shallistopnow Tue 08-Oct-13 14:29:57

Definitely don't pay the £90 & don't worry about the credit file damage - its usually bollocks. I had similar letters from a gym I cancelled membership of. Do see the CAB and as a previous poster said, contact Avon HQ. Don't contact the debt collectors.

notundermyfoof Tue 08-Oct-13 14:38:50

Bloody avon is a big con! The way it works is that you take the order from the customer then go online to order it all from Avon through your seller account. They then send the things out to you with an invoice which you are responsible for paying. You deliver it to the customers and the money you take from them is yours, the more you sell the cheaper the cost to you while the customers pay the same so you should make a little bit over what you pay out but then you have to pay for the books and cover any losses yourself (non paying customers etc). I did it for 3 months and made a grand total of £6.80! Totally not worth the hassle. The leaders make a commission on what you sell so they have an incentive to sign people up. It sounds like shes pocketed your money to me, I would get some legal advice.

loopylou6 Tue 08-Oct-13 15:19:10

contact them on their Facebook page, they wont like the bad publicity and will hopefully back off quicker

londonrach Tue 08-Oct-13 15:38:10

Contact cab, head office of avon, post on their fb or twitter. Im shocked re avon....

CiderBomb Tue 08-Oct-13 16:12:17

I'm an Avon rep and to be honest I'm considering giving it up. They are very pushy, I work part time and was looking for something extra to supplement my income, saw an advert for Avon reps on the internet and applied. I'm not kidding, within about ten minutes of me filling my details in they were on the phone to me and a "leader" then came to my house to sign me up that afternoon!

Ive only ever made a profit once, and that was last Christmas. Even then it was only something silly like £20, despite selling £100 worth of products! People just don't want it all the time and you of course have to pay for your own brochures meaning that unless you make a profit you end up out of pocket yourself.

One time no one wanted anything from me, so I just sent for some brochures to keep my account active (I was told to do this by my leader). I stupidly forgot to pay for them (my fault entirely) and within days I received a very threatening letter from them saying they would proceed with legal action unless I immediatelypaid the hefty sum of about £5.00 that I owed them! I did it straight away, but Christ I was like a day late paying it yet from the tone of the latter you'd swear I owed them thousands over a period of months!

Last month no one wanted anything again and this time I didn't bother ordering any brochures at all after the last hoo ha. I thought sod it if they close my account, I don't earn from it anyway. Then suddenly a box is delivered to my home containing some cosmetics that I hadn't ordered. I phoned Avon and was told that they'd sent me this stuff to keep my account open, and I could always return it if I couldn't sell it on, but that I'd had to cover the costs until I returned it to them! I think they have got you all ways and I am annoyed about this, they are not getting a penny from me until have managed to sell it.

It sounds like they will do anything to to keep you as a rep. Oh and their products are not that good. I had a nasty allergic reaction their sun cream during the heat wave. I came out in hives and nearly itched myself raw!

TheCrackFox Tue 08-Oct-13 16:19:15

Wow, it all sounds pretty grim being an Avon rep.

gaggiagirl Tue 08-Oct-13 16:40:48

the Avon leaders use the hard sell don't they? 3 times this year I have had Avon reps driving along side me as I'm out walking with DD trying to sign me up. Its very intimidating and if it happens again I won't hesitate to call 101. For all I know they could be anyone, and their opening line of 'do you live in this street?' creeps me out. Bastards. Can you tweet this thread to Avon at all?.

MDK Tue 08-Oct-13 16:42:56

Tweet Avon the link to this thread and watch the brown stuff explode at their HQ.

KatoPotato Tue 08-Oct-13 16:45:55

I was going to suggest tweeting this link, I don't mind doing it.

I've also been kerb crawled by the Avon ladies. They are bizarre!!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 08-Oct-13 16:53:00

So is it like a pyramid scheme. Do you extra perks and bonuses for recruiting fresh meat?

HoneyDragon Tue 08-Oct-13 17:01:24

The real money in Avon is in recruiting. It's not Avon that have pulled a fast one its the rep.

The set up is legit ...they are meant to advise you of the credit check etc.

She has basically stolen the goods from you, delivered them and pocket the cash.

She should have paid your balance (she'd be able to) or given you the money to cover it.

I think you have a VERY strong case for fraud.

HoneyDragon Tue 08-Oct-13 17:02:53

I'm happy to help with any questions too smile, as will lots of other reps on here.

Avon really are a massive pita, and the set up does allow desperate people to be exploited.

ReginaldBlinker Tue 08-Oct-13 17:17:11

Contact Avon Corporate. The actions of this rep are illegal, and (I would hope) they would take a situation like this very seriously.

Ghostsgowoooh Tue 08-Oct-13 17:18:08

Avon are awful and yy to being kerb crawled by the Avon reps. I found that very off putting and a bit intimidating. One wouldnt let me go and kept following me down the street. We also have had the area reps coming to the door.

I have done Avon once. Never again. Too much hassle for so little profit

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