Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Suspicious Solicitors Reported Near 45th Avenue NE And NE 50th Street, Helpful Tips From SPD On Dealing With Solicitors

It seems as if a variety of solicitors are again visiting homes with the peak season for solicitors approaching as the weather starts to warm up.

We have done many posts on suspicious solicitors,  some saying they are practicing their social skills, and have reportedly also visited nearby neighborhoods, others claiming to sell magazine subscriptions, and another person saying he is a janitor at whatever business is nearest the home he is visiting and saying he needs money as he is locked out.

This week we received this email from a Blog reader:
First of all, thank you so much for your service of maintaining the Laurelhurst Blog, I find it very useful and informative.  
I wanted to report a weird incident on Monday, May 7th.  Two solicitors, one male and one female stopped by my house together and said they were finishing some school communication project.  My husband told me that the girl was pregnant but I didn't notice that.   
I didn't really let them finish because I didn't believe them, but they said something about introducing themselves to the neighbors.  I highly doubt any school or parent would ask their kids to go door to door for such a reason, so I was pretty rude and closed the door right away.  I happened to run an errand shortly after that, and I noticed them wandering around the neighborhood and they were sitting on the bench in the Sun park for a while.   
I was also visited by a weird kid who was reported on this blog about six months who said he was homeschooled and his mom asked him to introduce himself to the neighbors.  I'm curious what they're doing...casing our houses? 

Terri Johnson, Seattle Police North Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator, gives these tips on how to handle solicitors  most effectively and safely with the salespersons as we move into the peak time of door-to-door sales:

Homeowners may consider posting a "No Solicitor" sign indicating “No agents,” “No peddlers,” or “No Solicitors.” In Seattle, it is unlawful for any residential seller to attempt to gain admittance for the purpose of selling at any residence displaying one of these signs.

Before opening your door look for proper identification. In Seattle, all door-to-door sellers must display the residential sales identification which includes the seller’s photograph on their outer clothing, along with the name of the licensee as well as the agent, and the type of product or service being sold. The license is only valid for the product or service specified. If you have any questions about whether a company is properly licensed, call the City of Seattle’s Office of Revenue & Consumer Affairs 206-684-8136.

Acknowledge the knock since ignoring it may lead to an attempted burglary. It is preferable to speak to strangers through your door.

Each residential seller is required to immediately upon contacting the prospective buyer, disclose their name, company and the product or service represented.
If requested to do so, the seller must leave the premises immediately. If the individual does not leave, or if an attempt to gain access is ade by asking to use the bathroom, the phone or get a drink of water, refuse the request and ask the individual to leave. If you feel intimidated, pressured, or threatened at any time, call 911.

It is safer not to allow the salesperson into your home.

Don't pay immediately or give the salesperson cash or a check, as it may be pocketed and you will never receive the product ordered. Instead, find out from the seller how you can order directly from he company or receive the bill upon receipt of the product/service. If the salesperson is concerned about losing their commission for the sale, offer to provide their name when placing your order.

In Seattle, if you make a purchase, the salesperson must tell you of your right to cancel the order and the contract must include a statement regarding the right to cancel as well as a notice informing the buyer of their right to cancel the order any time prior to midnight of the third business day after the date of the transaction. A completed Notice of Canelllation (in duplicate) must be provided to the purchaser at the time they purchase from the seller. You do not need to provide a reason for canceling the order.

For each sale of ten dollars or more, the seller must provide a receipt or contract to the purchaser. Do not leave any blanks on your contract. Be sure the contract or receipt is dated and that it states the terms of the transaction, the amount of payment made and the name and address of the residential seller.

Never be afraid to say “NO!” to high pressure tactics and end your conversation with the salesperson.

Avoid making an immediate purchase in order to receive a “free gift.”

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information or questions, Terri can be reached at 206-684-7711.

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