Salesman Targets Deaf Community

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

We answered a call from an Oklahoma couple. They are deaf and say they were scammed by a traveling vacuum salesman, who also happens to be deaf. Since launching our own investigation, we’ve learned that salesman, Darren Russell, is accused of targeting and deceiving others in deaf communities across the country.

Charles and Debbie Helm are essentially out more than $2,700 for a high-dollar Rainbow Cleaning System they can’t afford.

“We need other things worse than we need a vacuum,” Charles said.

The Helms say Russell, an out-of-town Rainbow dealer, approached them at their deaf church, followed them home, then pressured them into borrowing money to purchase the cleaning system.

“He just kept staying and staying. We felt stuck,” Charles said. “We noticed if we could cancel, it was fine. If we could get him out of here, we’d just go ahead and sign it.”

That was a big mistake.

Charles said he tried using his video phone to cancel the order the next day but Russell didn’t call him back until after the three-day cancellation window had expired.

The salesman is now refusing to refund the couple’s money.

The Helm’s daughter, Jennifer, contacted a representative from the finance company that loaned her parents the money.

“He finally says, ‘Well, it’s noted here we verified with Deborah on August 29,’ and I thought, how did you do that because she doesn’t talk on the phone,” Jennifer said.

The Helms claims she wasn’t the one the finance company called to verify her information.

They believe the salesman or someone else doctored the loan application.

The combined monthly income is forged and there’s a bogus email address and phone number.

Our investigation revealed similar complaints against Russell in Washington State, a felony conviction for unauthorized use of personal information in California, and In Hawaii, the Better Business Bureau even issued a warning against Russell for failure to obtain a license in that state.

The helms returned the rainbow cleaning system.

Their vacuum works just fine, still, there’s been no refund.

The helms must pay back the loan.

However, following our phone calls and emails, the finance company and Rainbow each had a change of heart.

They rescinded the Helm’s contract, meaning the couple won’t have to pay back the loan after all.

Darren Russell has yet to return any of our phone calls.