Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Seattle Police Department Advice On Dealing With Door-to-Door Solicitors


Door-to-door solicitors are out again knocking on doors as their peak season is now underway with the warm weather.

The Laurelhurst Blog has published many posts on suspicious solicitor ove the years.  Solictors show up in a variety of ways - some saying they are
practicing their social skills, same ones reportedly also visiting other 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.

Terri Johnson, Seattle Police North Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator, recently sent out email saying that "the complaints of bogus/suspicious solicitors continue" She said that  9-1-1 is not only for emergencies but for reporting suspicious activity. Callers will need to explain what is suspicious about the solicitor activity, in some cases the late hour and hostility not normally associated with legitimate sales.

Terri says that burglars often" seek homes they believe are unoccupied. They knock on doors first to see if anyone is home. Home sales can be a cover should someone answer. You don’t know what you could prevent by asking for a patrol car to cruise the area.

Terri recommends these these tips on how to handle solicitors most effectively and safely:

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.

Answer the door, but don’t open the door. There’s a huge difference. Since burglars seek homes where occupants are away, ignoring the knock on the door may prompt a criminal to attempt entry.

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.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I received a house call and when I questioned the mans legitimacy, he walked away screaming expletives at me. I called the police, they came out and told me they don't worry about these guys b wise they are pretty "harmless". Thx spd