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July 30, 2004
Consumer Alert: Fraudulent Vacuum Salesman Hits Auburn Area

SEATTLE -- Senior citizens in the Auburn area of King County should be on the lookout for a fraudulent vacuum cleaner salesman who goes door to door offering either free cans of soup or a canned ham in exchange for a vacuum cleaner demonstration.

Authorities have received at least five recent complaints from seniors in an Auburn-area mobile home park who say they were financially exploited by a man claiming to work for a vacuum cleaner company. Police and the Attorney General’s Office are investigating a possible connection between the scam and a similar vacuum cleaner sales operation in the Spokane area in 2001.

According to victims, the vacuum cleaner salesman uses the free-food offer to be invited into homes and then uses high-pressure sales tactics to persuade seniors to buy vacuum cleaners for $2,000 or more. The vacuum cleaners are worth no more than a few hundred dollars.

Within days, the salesman returns to the senior’s home and seeks to “borrow” large sums of money. So far, he has conned seniors into giving him anywhere from $5,000 to $42,000 in loans.

Anyone who has been contacted by such a salesman should contact Auburn Police Detective Michelle Vojer at 253-931-4014 or the Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Center at 1-800-551-4636. Consumer complaints can also be filed online at


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