Kirby Vacuums Faces Legal Action In Connecticut For Illegal Sales Techniques

November 8, 2010
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Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. has completed his investigation into Kirby Vacuum high pressure sales techniques in this state and has asked the state Attorney General to take legal action.

“The Department of Consumer Protection is seeking a legal remedy and resolution that gives consumers adequate protection from the unfair sales practices of The Kirby Company and its affiliates, as alleged in consumer complaints in the past two years,” Farrell said.

“We allege that the Kirby and Scott Fetzer Companies, along with their distributors in Connecticut, have engaged in aggressive, high pressure and even unethical sales tactics, including in-home sales calls where sales representatives refuse to leave consumers’ homes, phone calls to consumers in violation of the state’s Telemarketing Act, selling used vacuum cleaners as new, targeting and preying on older residents. We also have numerous claims of consumers’ carpets that have been damaged during a sales call. We believe it’s time for a clean sweep of their business policies and practices,” he said.

As a consumer columnist I also have received many complaints from consumers targeted by Kirby salesmen, especially seniors. Some Kirby salesmen have also complained that they were taken advantage of by the franchise owners who promised them unrealistic compensation.

One complaint that I received was from an elderly Torrington woman who was sold one of the 25 pound vacuums despite the fact she could not move it up the stairs.

Farrell is also targeting United Consumer Financial Services, a national sales finance company specializing in consumer retail installment sales contracts owned by the Scott Fetzer Company, allegedly failed to ensure that Kirby dealers and representatives complied with laws pertaining to home solicitation sales contracts, including giving customers notice of the three-day right to cancel their purchase contract, and returning the consumer’s copy of the original contract upon cancellation.

Farrell is asking the Attorney General’s Office to file a civil action against The Kirby Company, the Scott Fetzer Company, United Consumer Financial Services, and the following Connecticut distributors of Kirby products in order to protect consumers from the unfair, threatening and abusive business tactics alleged by consumers in their complaints.

• JMG Distribution, Inc., in Waterbury area

• RFR Enterprises, LLC, in Naugatuck area

• GP Industries of Norwich, Inc., in Taftville area

• SZ Enterprises, in Orange area

• K&M Distribution, in Rocky Hill area

• Golden Circle Distribution, Inc., in Southington area

• South Shore Distributing, in Rocky Hill area

Blumenthal’s office provided the following statement later today.

“We are continuing to review these deeply disturbing allegations to determine what legal action is warranted.”

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18 Responses to Kirby Vacuums Faces Legal Action In Connecticut For Illegal Sales Techniques

  1. Ben on November 8, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Wow! They have been around for many years.
    I remember throwing one sales guy out over 20 years ago.
    He asked “Are you always this rude or just to the Kiby Vacuum Salesman?”
    It took over 20 years to catch up to them?

  2. Mary on November 8, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    About time some legal action was taken against Kirby Vacuum……real annoying and consistently harassing people.
    I, too, reported them about six years ago — nothing was ever done about my complaint. They even LIED to me — gave the high political position of a person in my town who SUPPOSEDLY referred them to me. I called that political person direct and was told there was never any contact between Kirby and that person — therefore, the police got involved … but no arrest or follow through.
    Thanks to whomever finally made this happen.

  3. Katie on November 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    After more than 5 HOURS of being nice to a Kirby guy last year, his boss came to my house and dumped dirt on my floor and told me that I was a dirty person who didn’t care about my health if I didn’t buy a vacuum! Then he called his girlfriend to chat…while he was still at my house. I told him to leave immediately. The poor kid salesman who was with him and who had been trying to leave (they wouldn’t pick him up) I let stay in the warmth of my house until the van pulled up to get them at 11:30 pm!!!! I watched my back for weeks thinking the boss guy would come back….Thanks for whoever is trying to change their practices!!!

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  5. Glenn on November 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    It’s about time they caught up with them. They came to my house about ten years ago, and I couldn’t get them out for hours. I finally picked up the phone, and told them I was dialing the police, and they decided to leave. I wouldn’t buy anything from them!

  6. Jill Roy on November 19, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I was told after I had the job, that I had to work 7 days in a row to start . I started on monday and had to work through the week and weekend and again through the next week. Training started on monday, If you quit within the first 2 days you got paid nothing. I was traveling almost 30 miles to get there and 30 miles home. Having no money, I couldn’t afford this. I quit the second day, so now I get nothing. Not sure if this is legal.

    • Chelsea on March 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      It is legal, you are a INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR and make commission only OR a base pay as long as you do the amount required for the base pay.

  7. Edwin on June 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Its always seems to amaze me how foolish some folk are! Kirby doesnt scam anyone. Everyone whos hired signs a contract that states that if u do 15 presentations a week You’ll get paid $500 dollars. I dont feel bad for those who didnt sell anything and decided to quit, because they didnt fulfill their contract requirements!You knew what u were getting into when u signed the contract because its pretty simple, so if u decided to sign and to stick around then thats your fault. I still work for kirby. I hire and train the new recruits and they know the first day of training exactly how everything works! Its designed that way to weed out anyone who wouldnt be interested in the job. So please stop lying because we keep all the contracts and packages that state these clear requirements. I thought it was a scam at first too, but after working hard and doing what i was taught to do i make about $1200 a week and thats no scam! I also agree that some of the idiots that sell kirbys do make the company look bad by their dumb sales tactics, but if i ever caught them doing that stuff theyd be fired on the spot! Remember these guys are independent contractors so talk about them specifically, not the company at large.

    • Lisa on June 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Kirby is still taking advantage of employees who sign this employment contract. First, there are young kids (starting age 18) who come in looking for a job and have no “life” experience to warn them about sleezebags like GOLDEN CIRCLE DISTRIBUTORS in SOUTHINGTON, CT. After 2 full days of training, and another 7 days of sales, the employee received NO compensation. This happened because the employer did not schedule enough demonstrations towards the end of the week allowing the employee to fulfill the required 15 demos. The employee received a full page of 25 references, plus references from other demonstrations. You are telling me they weren’t able to schedule additional demonstrations because people weren’t available? No way! How convenient for the employer (GOLDEN CIRCLE DISTRIBUTORS in SOUTHINGTON, CT) to suddenly not have enough scheduled. Unbelievable! I will be telling anyone and everyone I know about their sleezy tactics, and I will be filing a complaint with the Department of Labor. It is one thing to sign a contract that says you have a quota to fill when the appointments are in your own hands, but when the company has control over the appointments that’s another ball of wax. This is only the beginning! All hell is breaking loose now!

  8. Christina on January 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I’m sorry but you are WRONG. They are still scam ming people and they get good money because they are good at scamming people. I worked for kurby about a year ago. I made all my goals, worked very hard. I put most my time into that stupid organization even went to all there top meeting. Had my 15 appointments the second week sold three kurbys in one week. My dumb as did that for two months doing everything expected and sold the exspected ammount. Never even got paid a dime not even for orientation. Also they tried making me do things and say things to people that were illegal and just plan wrong. They tried making me go out after 9’3 at night they told me to lie and say the product was never used and they said if I knew that the person had a lot of money rolling in to charge them twice the amount as if it weren’t already expensive. They told me to target elderly people and they lie about a stupid contest. It’s all bull. They go after people dumb enough to work hard n not get paid then. Then when you realize yOu’ve been scammed they disappear on your ass.

  9. Christina on January 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Oh and I signed one of those stupid contracts.

  10. Ericka on February 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

    This kirby shit is a HUGE scam!! I worked for them for about 2 weeks an what they made me say to people were complete LIES!!! I had to quit the job was a f…. joke! Am its very true they made us target the elderly….KIRBY COMPANY should be shut down forever….THEY ARE A COMPLETE JOKE!!

  11. KC on March 21, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I am disgusted. Tomorrow I pesonally will call the atty general. I am looking for the girls that recently worked in the “enfield office”,”RTS Distributors”,etc..I have child support to pay. With the economy tumbeling I am desperate. The judge gave me until april 3rd to have full time employment. This came along on craigslist. I was given an Apt the next day. Was concerned when the guy on the end seemed to sales like. Got concerned again when he gave me the address. It was in a tiny plaza in the heart of the worst section of town. Literally 500 ft from the local section 8 housing. buisness have no sustainability there except alcohol and pawn. Next day when i arrived Enfield PD was present already.Two boys with a Sentria vacuum and a cop,the boys seemed around 18-20 and of low income background. I filled out an app the “managers” were young, dressed well, but seemed sleezy. Their demenor was beyond un buisness like. smoking,language, treating the office more like a frat house. The room was large with disgusting carpet one desk and phone. a small office with cheap leather off of the main, and another room with colord drawn 8×10 pics on the wall. Once finished fillling the app out the “managers” were no where to be seen. so i peaked around the room with colorings on the wall. it was more like a break room. mini fridge, microwave, bread, soda, two tables one with a phone. On the wall was many papers colored in highlighters. Sell Sell, make appointment scripts, potential caller objections, a bell to ring telling them they’ve won. thats when I realize it was designed for cold calling vacuums.. the ad said customer service rep..Mgr1 finally appeared after his smoke break and di the interview. Language got worse, offered two positions, selling at the appointments, or appointment setter. I figured i would give it a shot cause the judge demanded i have a full time job in a month. I take the appointment setter job and the Mgr1 says he has to have his supervisor approve my background check and he’ll call my later that evening. Seemed to soon to get a true background check back. He called at 8pm and said i start tomorrow morning for training at 11am. Next morning I show up and the room is buzzing with 6 guys way overly excited to introduce themselves to me and scream with excitement that they are going to make me a success! I’m given a script to review, a large list of names,addresses,and phone numbers. The explination, i cold call 100 people the first hour. of those 100 i should reach 30 people, of those 30 i should book 10 appointments. i have several gimmicks, like they were randomly chosen, someone filld out a green card at the Big E, make an appointment for a chance to win 1,000$ in gas or groceries. hot leads. our door reps lie to the appointment holder getting 20 names and numbers of friends and family to earn 1 raffle at gas or groceries or 40 names and numbers for 5 raffles. I call those leads saying their friend loved our carpet cleaning and could pick one person to recieve the same free cleaning deal and they chose YOU! As i sat there all alone in that little office i looked through the desk to find that many other girls were there before me… but i know this place has only been here since around December. where are they? I dont like how i am made to mislead the people im calling. i notice they are mostly elderly.. to many high fives going around i feel they are trying to convince me of their legitimacy. in the main room there are 2 boys filling out apps. i find they are there for training. they are so young.many many applicants come in. i never see them again. after seller orientations i never see the sellers again.the Mgrs dont know that if i hold the phone to my ear and dont dial i can somewhat make out what they are saying on their office phone. hundreds of calls asking people to come in for interviews. 2 days later i still havent filled out any W2 paperwork, I ask about pay and there is no real answer, schedule, tells me when i work again just before i leave, if he says hell call me, he forgets i have to call him. Its just crazy. I now know after reading the overwhelming amount info on the net all negative that i have unknowingly allowed myself to be pulled into scamming people. When i go back to court this judge is NOT going to believe me when i say i have a full time job but the mgr hasnt gotten around to giving me full time hours or that i havent gotten paid (because i have a gut feeling i wont)i am 2 weeks from going back to court and these people stole precious time from me. as a result a will probably go to jail. instead of cold calling i could have continued my job hunt and be starting at a legitimate job. i relaxed and stopped because i thought i had a job. one i may have not liked but would have kept me out of jail. I was wrong

  12. Ty on March 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    After several months of being laid off, I thought this was my way back into the working world. I knew something was wrong during the orientation as soon as they started talking about all expense paid vacations, winning free prizes like an iPhone, Laptop, PS3 etc. I just knew things weren’t right. I called the “Manager” that night and said it wasn’t going to work for me. I hope the other 19 people realize this too. :(

  13. Mo on March 26, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I had two male Kirby sales reps knock on my door on a rainy day and said that they were a floor cleaning company giving free cleaning services to get their name out there in the valley area. They said that they were new in the area and were trying to get their name established. I kept insisting that I wasn’t interested while my dog was barking non-stop at them. This apparently didn’t deter them. I finally agreed to allow them into my home to clean only ONE floor in my house. What am I, an idiot? Apparently so. They said they’d be back in 10 minutes because the truck with all of the cleaning supplies was down the street with some of their other sales reps. Next thing you know, the two reps brought back with them a Kirby and another sales rep (female..) They did their “show” with the Kirby and were so insistent that I purchase this vacuum. I am currently unemployed and that didn’t phase them. I ended up calling my mother who lives in another state to ask her to pay for this Kirby piece of crap. The female rep also kept throwing in my face that this last sale of the day to me would get her the cruise to some island and it would be her honeymoon that she hasn’t been on since her wedding day. Boo hoo! I was so duped and I curse the Kirby associates and their products!!!

  14. Mary Young on February 20, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    A sale person from Kirby called me and inform me that I had won a free a free carpet cleaning for any two rooms, so of course I invited them to my home. two male salemen came by and inform me that I had to watch the demonstration. I inform them I had a kirby and did not need a need one. I also inform them that they needed to leave because I was leaving for Florida. During the process he was not able to get all his belonging together and ask to leave it there. He ask me to sign this consent form, since the items was in my home. I did and he left. To make a long story short, I enter into a contract to purchase the vaccum, I cancel it once I had realized what happen, but I had to call united consumer finance because Kirby rep. would not answer the phone. The two men came back to get there vaccum and they ask me if I could I ask my parents to purchase it because he really needed the sale for his family and his job was at stake, because kirby had never had anybody cancel a sale. I told him I would ask my parents and if they didn’t want it I would call him the next day. I did so he didn’t answer. I left message on the voicemail in regards to picking up the product. I contacted UCFS and they said kirby never cancel the sale. I have phone records indicating how many times I call them and provided to UCFS and they believe me but Kirby denied the cancelation and said I could had been calling at 10pm to tell the sale person he did a great representation that some BULL SH**. anyway now i’m paying for another vaccuum that I don’t need. These people are a ripoff and I hope to never see another kirby person or product. I hope they go out of business. If you are trying to get a classaction law suit please include me.

  15. Saida on October 5, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I purchased a Kirby years ago and I did get a used Kirby. I was told that they could not give me the box. It was the vacuum that they used in the demo in my house. It seemed very odd that they wouldn’t provide me with the box and after reading about Kirby facing legal charges I now know why; the Kirby I purchased was used in other homes to demonstrate the product.

  16. Heidi on December 20, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I currently work for Kirby & i am a appointment maker..I’ve read all of the comments & would just like to add a few things..i make the calls & i hear just about everything..u have to have very thick skin to do the job i do..somedays i get cussed out 10 times & it’s because of dumb sales reps! The Kirby vacuum is really a good product..it can literally last a lifetime..i spoke to one very nice lady who had a 75 year old Kirby passed down from her Mom that still worked!! I believe in the product…the problem is untrained sales reps going into homes & making a bad name for the company..I’m giving u a view from the inside..i totally understand people’s frustrations because i get frustrated when i hear these stories…i do have to say the company i work for has been good to me & we are trying to change that way things have been…people just remember when a tele calls u with a invite for a demo..don’t bite there heads off they are just doing a very hard job

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