The South Dakota Department of Revenue is warning people to use common sense when hiring a transient vendor to do home repair this summer.

Many of these salespeople run a legitimate business, but many are scam artists as well. According to the Department of Revenue, this is the time of year, out of town workers sweep across South Dakota to peddle products and services.

You may see vendors selling fruit, seafood, meat packages, paintings, magazine subscriptions, rugs, T-shirts, sunglasses, household cleaners, furniture, stuffed animals, and asphalting and roofing services.

Asking the right questions when approached by those vendors can help you avoid making a purchase you may regret:

  • Get price quotes in advance, in writing.
  • *Ask for a list of local references. Then check them.
  • Ask for proof of general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
  • DO NOT pay in full before work is completed to your satisfaction. Make sure the vendor has paid the local suppliers or you could be charged for the unpaid supplies and materials.
  • Get something in writing with the company’s name, address and phone number. Double check the address to make sure it is legitimate and not made up or the address of a local hotel.
  • Ask to see their current South Dakota tax license.  State law requires everyone selling products or services to have a current South Dakota sales or contractors’ excise tax license. You may verify that the license is valid by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-800-829-9188 and ask for the Business Tax Division.

All sellers must provide you with a contract or receipt at the time of sale showing the date, merchant’s name and address, and a statement informing you of your right to cancel the contract within three days.  After proper cancellation, the seller has 10 days to refund your money.

If you have doubts about the vendor or think you may have been the victim of a scam, call your local police department or county sheriff’s office immediately. Be prepared to give as much information as you can about the vendor, including the name of the company and salesperson; company address and telephone number; and make, model and license number (if possible) of the vehicle the vendor was driving.  Without tips from the public, law enforcement officials may not be able to catch illegal vendors before they move on to the next community.

Always remember, if the price is too good to be true, then it may be a scam.