Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Solicitors Showing Up Again And Your Rights When A Solicitor Is At Your Door

Door-to-door solicitors are out again knocking on doors. Here is one email the Laurelhurst Blog received recently:
I live on the 5000 block of 40th Ave NE near Children's Hospital and I would like  to share something in case other people have noticed it also. A young man nicely dressed in his 20s has been going around door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions claiming it's to help him launch his career.  
He claimed he's from Indiana, but previously, on another evening he came by, had claimed he was from New Orleans. I had opened the door one time previously and said no thank you.  This time my husband had opened the door by accident because we were expecting someone else.  And during these two incidences he had claimed he was from different states, which I find to be disturbing.  
He carried a laminated sheet of a list of magazines asking for an annual subscription fee of more than $40 at minimum. I am concerned that this could be a scammer, and want to bring it to the attention of other residents.
I did not notice him carrying a badge and he did not specifically state or show us he had one either.  

Solicitors show up in a variety of ways, according to reports from residents over the years that we have posted in the Laurelhurst Blog. 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.

Seattle Police regularly sends out notifications about your rights when a solicitor comes to your door. SPD advises residents to not open their doors to solicitors, but to say "No thank you" or "Not interested" through the door.

SPD also says:

Most of these solicitors are not legitimate. These solicitors are scammers and give very little, if any, of the money they collect to the charity or organization they claim to represent. If you do answer the door and the solicitor becomes angry, threatening or verbally abusive, call 911.
 SDP suggests that before opening the door, check to see that the solicitor is displaying proper identification mandatory in Seattle, showing the residential sales identification which number, seller’s photograph, along with the name of the licensee as well as the agent, and the type of product or service being sold. This must be on the outside of their clothing so it is easily viewable.

The license is only valid for the product or service specified. For questions about whether a company is properly licensed, call the City of Seattle’s Office of Revenue & Consumer Affairs 206-684-8136.

Last year there were numerous reports of very rude and confrontational magazine selling solicitors, particularly from D & T Connections, and here are just a few of the links found on-line about the serious problems with these solicitors nationwide: 
CBS News - D&T Connection Is An Accredited SubAgent, But I Still Don't Like Its Tactics
Houston Press - Magazine Crews Stabbin' Its Way Through Dallas
Lexington Police Warn Of Door to Door Magazine Sales Scam
In Laurelhurst, there have been many magazine solicitors over the summers and many complaints from residents:
Suspicious Solicitor Becomes Rude At Neighbor's Door 
More on Magazine Solicitors
Crimewatch: Magazine Solicitors
Susipcious Solicitors Near NE 45th Street
Suspicious Scam Artists
Solicitor Practicing Social Skills

Here are more  tips from the Seattle Police Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator:   

If you are displaying a "No Solicitor" sign 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.

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

1 comment:

James said...

Thank you for this post. It is also good to take a picture of the individual and any car/lic. with them, as if anyone else or yourself has any issues that evidence could be helpful to Police. It is much easier to do with camera's a part of many phones now days, but please be careful in case someone becomes hostile. Thanks all!