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Shampoo sales scheme targets elderly

Date Posted: 2002-12-07

Okinawa Prefecture Consumer Center warns that there has been several cases of unscrupulous door-to-door salesmen selling shampoo at ¥15,000 per bottle. The same shampoo can be found in any supermarket for about ¥600.

Officials at the center say that the salesmen target elderly people. They call the door and then say that the special shampoo is guaranteed to make the users hair shiny and turn a graying head to black again. They claim that the shampoo contains a special newly developed formula that will restore the customer’s youthful look.

According to the Consumer Center, salesmen using similar scheme made rounds in Okinawa three years ago. The salesmen always present a business card, but both the name of the salesman and the company are fakes.

One victim, a 81-year-old woman said that he bought a bottle for ¥15,000 as the man was very convincing. “There was this middle-aged nicely dressed man who introduced himself and said that the shampoo is a specially made formula for elderly people, and I bought it,” the woman said. However, when she went to take a shower to test her new shampoo, she was shocked to find that she already had exactly the same kind of shampoo that she ad bought a few days earlier from a local supermarket for ¥600.

The woman’s family then contacted the Prefecture Consumer Center whose investigators found that there had been several senior citizens who had been defrauded in a similar manner. “If it turns out that there is a large number of seniors who are victims of the same scam we will take the case to the police and courts,” an official at the center said. But he also warned that people should not buy anything from strangers.

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