U.S. Cities Seek Updated Ordinances for Door-to-Door Sales
How will the new changes affect door-to-door alarm sales companies?
There has been plenty of coverage about door-to-door alarm sales representatives tarnishing the electronic security industry’s name by using deceptive sales practices and taking advantage of consumers.
Some door-to-door sales reps have been accused of using aggressive tactics to make sales.
In some instances, consumers said salespeople ignored “No Soliciting” signs and refused to depart from a residence after the homeowner asked them to leave.
In other cases, sales representatives have been accused of duping elderly consumers into paying multiple alarm bills from separate companies.
And still in other incidents, some individuals are pretending to represent security alarm companies, only to case out homes for a burglary.
Understandably, consumers aren’t happy with these type of sales tactics , but neither are hard-working companies in the industry.
Even Security Sales & Integration Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine tweeted about the matter:
Who's as fed up as I am with all the negative coverage of rogue alarm firms & scams?! Let's pop this pimple on our industry's rear already!
— Scott Goldfine (@SSIEditor) July 17, 2015
But now, consumers are taking matters into their own hands and are working with local officials to change laws pertaining to door-to-door solicitors.
The city of Helena (Ala.) is seeking to revise its current door-to-door sales and soliciting ordinances with three potential changes, Shelby County Reporter reports.
The three potential changes include:
- Limiting the time of solicitation from 9 a.m. to sunset as opposed to the current sunrise to sunset timeframe.
- Making it a violation to knock on the door or ring the doorbell of a residence that has a no soliciting sign on the door.
- Requiring all solicitors to have a city-issued ID visible at all times while working as a door-to-door salesperson in the city.
Officials in Lake County, Ill., are now requiring door-to-door solicitors to register with the clerk’s office or face hefty fines, The Chicago Tribune reports.
To register, every solicitor must provide a valid government-issued photo ID with name, address, date of birth and signature. Registrants must also provide the name and address of the company they represent and a description of the product or service being sold. The certificates will automatically expire every year on Dec. 31.
Deputies will then receive a database of solicitors. If solicitors aren’t registered or ignore “no solicitor” signs, they can be charged with an ordinance violation.
If violators are prosecuted through the court system, they will be fined $250 for the first offense. A second offense doubles the cost if received within a 12-month period. A third citation would cost $750, The Chicago Tribune reports.
If the violation is handled through an administrative hearing, the fine for each offense will be no less than $115.
County officials said they received 500 complaints in 2014 about door-to-door salespeople. The hope is that the law will reduce the number of complaints and free up deputies for other duties.
In St. Petersburg, Fla., city council members approved to revamp the city’s ordinance to include stronger background checks and strengthen rules about sales representatives’ behavior. The updated ordinance took effect July 16, Tampa Bay Times reports.
Although it remains to be seen if the beefed-up ordinance will deter unethical peddlers, city council members noted that collecting information on violators will make legal redress easier and allow the city to deny permit renewals.
Meanwhile, authorities in Attleboro, Mass., are seeking to ban all door-to-door sales forever, noting that sellers might be able to talk consumers into buying products they don’t really need or something that comes with more costs than are clearly spelled out, The Sun Chronicle reports.
Currently, anyone who wants to sell products or services door-to-door has to get license from the city council and undergo fingerprinting and a background check by police.
However, councilors are not convinced that’s enough to protect vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly.
Although there’s no formal proposal on the table to ban the peddlers, it is a possibility that has been growing in the minds of several city officials.
What do you think about these potential and/or revamped ordinances? What is your firm doing to keep your sales team in line when selling security systems door-to-door? Please leave your comments below!
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!
Security Is Our Business, Too
For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.
A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!