February 10, 2009

Phone Scams Target Farmers, Gardeners and Homeowners

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Phone scammers are again targeting farmers, gardeners and homeowners in Missouri offering high-quality pesticide products below retail prices. The Missouri Department of Agriculture is warning consumers that these prices are sometimes too good to be true.

“One of Gov. Jay Nixon’s most successful programs has been the No-Call List - reducing unwanted telemarketing calls to Missourians. Telemarketing schemes can be tempting for Missouri’s farmers and consumers especially during hard economic times. We want to remind consumers that many products offered by these scammers often aren’t as effective as promised at the time of purchase,” said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. “The Department of Agriculture has recently received complaint calls from Missouri consumers making us aware of this scam. We recommend you be cautious of making any financial commitments to salespeople over the phone.”

The Department of Agriculture receives complaint calls each year about telephone solicitors who offer products at bargain prices. If a consumer is tempted to purchase a pesticide from an over-the-phone salesperson, the Department of Agriculture suggests the following tips: ask for the product’s EPA registration number, request a list of the product’s active ingredients with their percentages, ask if the product is ready to use or requires dilution, compare the product to a similar product from a local retailer and request the company’s name, address and phone number and a copy of the product’s label.

For more information or to register a complaint regarding a chemical sales call, contact the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Pesticide Control at (573) 751-5504 or John.Brunnert@mda.mo.gov.