Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

FOLLOW US
Magnolia Voice header image 2
 

With spring-like weather comes solicitors

March 6th, 2014 · 12 Comments

Ahh, it seems like spring is in the air. The cherry blossoms are blooming, the crocus are sprouting and the doorbells are ringing. It is solicitor season in Magnolia.

As we reported last year around this time, we once again are being visited by unwanted guests that seem to be less-than kind when rebuked.  Here’s just a sampling of what fellow Magnolians have been reporting this week:

Well here’s an alert to be aware that they are coming around again. I have yet to encounter them myself but my neighbor had a crummy encounter with them tonight with an aggressive salesperson at her door. They ended up calling the police non-emergency line and it turns out someone else called about a man with the same description for being hostile. This is Viewmont area.
I live around the Magnolia village.  About 10 mins ago, 2 african american women knocked on the door. I didn’t open the door but I talked to them through the glass.  They asked if I would vote for them.
I told them I’m on a call so I don’t have time, one of them flat out said “You’re lying”.  I don’t think I will get that kind of response if they were really asking for votes.
They were also dressed very urban, not professional or presentable.  They’re going around the neighborhood, knocking on doors.
…Around 4 I think.  Never opened the door – but they actually tore our No Solicitors sign above our  doorbell right off of our house…  Two girls – saw them walking away but didn’t notice the sign thing until this morning.
There have been many more sightings and reports of magazine sellers and door knockers.  SPD shared some helpful tips (originally posted here):

This is the peak time of year for door-to-door sales, including those using traveling sales crews.  There are many legitimate companies in this industry with professionally trained salespeople, selling between the hours of 8:00am and 9:00pm, and a long history of law-abiding customer service.  There are, however, less reputable companies in this business willing to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals who trust people knocking at their door.  Sometimes residents forget to practice good personal safety.

Seattle Police officers respond to calls from citizens concerned about door-to-door salespeople.  The results have ranged from the officers checking identification and sending the seller to the City of Seattle Revenue & Consumer Affairs office for their business license, to arrests of individuals posing as residential sellers, but wanted on warrants. There have also been arrests for aggressive behavior, threats made against the resident, burglaries, and assaults.

Homeowners may consider posting a 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.

With these facts in mind, what should you do when a person knocks at your door?

BEFORE OPENING YOUR DOOR: LOOK FOR PROPER IDENTIFICATION.  Acknowledge the knock since ignoring it may lead to an attempted burglary.  It is preferable to speak to strangers through your door.  In Seattle, all door-to-door sellers must display the residential sales identification which includes the seller’s photograph on their outer clothing.  The residential sales agent’s license has the name of the licensee as well as the agent.  It shall be endorsed with 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 at 206-684-8136.

DISCLOSURE REQUIRED:  Each residential seller shall, immediately upon contacting the prospective buyer, disclose their name, company and the product or service represented.  If requested to do so, they shall leave the premises immediately.  If the individual does not leave, or if an attempt to gain access is made 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.

USE GOOD JUDGEMENT: It is safer not to allow the salesperson into your home.  You are encouraged to avoid paying immediately.  Do not 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 the 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.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: 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.  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.  It must also include 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 Cancellation (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 your order.

DO NOT GIVE IN TO HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS:  Never be afraid to say “NO!”  If a salesperson in your home tries to pressure you into buying their product, terminate your conversation with them.  Take the time to contact the company directly if you still have interest in the product or service.  Avoid making an immediate purchase in order to receive a “free gift.”  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When should you call 911? If an unlicensed sales person shows up at your residence, call 911 and report it.  Calling as soon as possible with a good description,  direction the suspicious person is traveling, and address will all help officers locate the suspect(s).

And, as a general reminder, it’s not just the non-licensed solicitors that are targeting our neighborhood. Car prowls and break-ins are still occurring with too-regular frequency. For any suspicious activities or people, SPD advises calling 911 as soon as possible.

Here are the key items of information that help SPD when you call 911:

  • Good description of the person
  • Location – street name, number or hundred block, or address
  • Direction of travel
  • Identifying features and/or items: race, gender, height, weight, age, clothing, and any distinguishing features. Are they carrying a backpack? What color is it?

Remember to report all crimes and suspicious activity to SPD by calling 911 or the non-emergency number (206.625.5011).

Tags: Uncategorized

  • s

    “dressed very urban” haha that cracked me up. why don’t you just call it like you see it and say they were dressed like thugs.
    as soon as people stop giving money to these solicitors, they will stop coming back. i’m not intimidated by them and always tell them to get the hell off my property.

    • SeattleStudent

      I agree that the writer was trying to be euphemistic. Only in pearl-clutching Magnolia would someone talk about someone’s not being “presentable”. Who cares if you don’t like what they were wearing; their behavior is the issue.

      • ericsmith

        I post this same response every single year. My property is completely permeable except that I have locked gates at the entrances (2) on the concrete paths. If people want to leave things, they leave fliers, etc on my driveway. . Not one solicitor has ever come in in 3 years of seeing this story repeated again and again on Magnolia Voice. The don’t go around the locked wooden door, though they could. No unwanted solicitors. Think about doing it. If I needed 911 they would just walk around the locked door. Putting my real name up is to invite the lewd crowd again, but so be it.

        • Zoe

          Not so for me. They have come through my backyard gate. The entire yard is fenced.

          • ericsmith

            How did they come through a locked gate? Mine isn’t closed, it is locked. It is also 6-7 feet high, so you cannot look over it either. No one has walked over the hedges/etc to get in.

          • whocares?

            Ericsmith,
            Glad that works for you…but I am not about to create a fortress with fences and hedges…it is simple enough to ignore solicitors. I just don’t answer…I’m on a busy street, and if I am home in my office they can see me, and I just wave them off.

  • wendellw

    Had one drop by just last night. Fairly well dressed actually. Seemed pretty nice until I said no. He didn’t say anything but his expression sure changed.

  • GIJ

    these folks came dropped by our house last week in the evening. My wife answered the door thinking it was a neighbor. When she told them we were not interested they got extremely aggressive with her, not taking no for an answer. They had no identification they would show. They also kept showing us checks they claimed were from our neighbors that had given to them. They kept making comments like “dont tell us you dont have any money. look at your neighbor john, he wrote us this check right here.” or “you live in Magnolia, you have money to give”. extremely pushy and not at all legitimate sales tactics. they were trying to intimidate her into giving them a check. This went on for more than 10 minutes before she finally got them to leave. I was in the shower while all this happened and called the police (non-emergency line) after the fact. About 30 minutes later we left the house and drove by a house about 1/4 mile a way and saw someone on the doorstep writing them a check. Not sure WHY anyone would give these folks any money when they are clearly not legitimate. Only keeps them coming back. As the SPD statement above says, if they dont have the propped ID visible, they dont belong at your door.

    • http://www.ravenoak.net/ kaonevar

      See, they shouldn’t have been able to do that. 30 minutes later–the cops should have already dealt with them. And Seattle PD wonders why people don’t bother to report this stuff. *sigh*

  • B. Scott

    In my youth I had a friend who made a lot of money selling expensive sets of pots and pans door-to-door. I went along with him once to see how he managed to earn so much money. As we approached one door, I pointed to the No Solicitors sign clearly posted, He responded that those were put up by people who had no sales resistance. And sure enough, he made a sale to the woman who answered the door.

  • NHWatchman

    Alert: Sat 10:10 am – black male about 6 feet tall, wearing hat with fake yellow “city light” vest casing neighborhood at 37th and Bertona. No city light truck, no tools, just wandering around hiding behind an “official” vest. Saw the same trick last summer and one week later…robbery on same block where I saw another “yellow vest”.

    • http://www.ravenoak.net/ kaonevar

      Did you report it?