Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Said, "No, Thank You"

If you were to search “door-to-door sales” on the internet you would find an unbelievable number of websites and links targeting young adults and creating grand pictures of adventure, travels and wonderful job opportunities. On the other hand, if you were to add one word to that search and make it “door-to-door sales scams”, you would find an entirely different collection of websites. These sites document case after case and story after story of undelivered product or worse, what could be considered a modern day type of indenture servitude.

On 3/28/2012 we received a call for service and made contact with two young adults who described just this type of scene. Officers were dispatched to a local hotel where interviews with involved parties revealed the scam. Police learned this group of individuals would go door to door claiming to be from the neighborhood or area and trying to raise money for travel expenses for a local sports team. To earn money they were selling magazine subscriptions or books, but donations without any purchases were solicited as well. If they were unable to solicit donations or sell any subscriptions, they would promise to wash windows, cut grass, or other household type chores to earn money. The problem is, they aren’t local and they aren’t representing a sports team trying to make it to a tournament. These “sales trainers” will often recruit young adults with the promise of paying their expenses. If the youths decide to leave the group early, there’s no ride home and they can be stranded thousands of miles from home.

Once upon a time the image of a door-to-door sales person might have resembled a business man in a shirt and tie carrying a brief case or bag of samples. Today, more often than not, it’s a young adult trying to “raise money” for a group. Either way, Overland Park Municipal code outlines what a door-to-door solicitor can and can’t do in OPMC 5.64.020. Here are a few of the regulations:

- If you post a “No Solicitors” or “No Trespassers” sign, they can’t attempt to contact you for the purpose of soliciting.

- They can’t attempt contact prior to 10:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. local time, on any day.

- If you ask them to leave the premises, they must do so immediately.

- They can’t make more than one solicitation call to the same premises for any similar goods or contributions within any consecutive fourteen (14) day period.

- If requested, they must provide you with a written receipt for any purchase exceeding $5.00 cash.

- They must truthfully disclose the details of what they are selling or soliciting and they cannot misrepresent the purpose of their call.

If you have contact with someone who you believe is violating the ordinance concerning door-to-door sales, contact police dispatch at 913-895-6300.