Got a permit?: Door-to-door salespeople need to stop by Stayton PD first

July, 2015 Posted in News

By Mary Owen

Next time you open the door to find a salesman trying to sell you the “latest and greatest” gidget, ask to see his permit.

Anyone peddling wares door-to-door in Stayton will now require obtaining a permit from the city. Those brazen enough to think they don’t need one could be fined.

Stayton Police Chief Rich Sebens said the city has required a solicitor’s permit for years. It is required for businesses who sell door-to-door.

However, he emphasized, the permit isn’t required for religious organizations, school children or youth groups doing legitimate fundraising.

“In other words, kids selling cookie dough for school fundraising, local youth sports teams selling beef jerky or candy bars, and churches going door-to-door inviting people to their church event are exempt,” Sebens said.

The cost for a permit is $150 per business and one employee, and $25 for each additional employee. For example, a business with eight people selling widgets door-to-door would pay $175 for seven employees and $150 for the business and one employee for a total of $325.

To assure a solicitor is legitimate, look for the photo ID permit that he or she must wear around the neck, Sebens said.

“We encourage people to call when they encounter someone going door-to-door without a Stayton permit,” he said. “A violation of this is a $500 fine.”

Applicants undergo a limited background check by the police to make sure they have not been convicted recently for crimes such as fraud, theft, sex crimes and “stranger” misconduct, Sebens said.

“The city does not guarantee the person who receives the permit will not commit a crime while going door-to-door, but we check to see if they have a history of criminal activity or not,” he said.

“A process in place draws legitimate groups, and helps keep crimes from happening.”

Sebens said people can be denied a permit if they have been convicted of crimes such as theft, identity theft and fraud. The city also does not verify the quality of the product or service being sold, he warned.

“The permit only shows that the person took the proper steps to be allowed to go door-to-door in Stayton,” he said.

“A lot of times people come into town from elsewhere by the vanload. Some will be really pushy. Sometimes the person receives the product, sometimes not.”

Sebens said solicitors sometimes claim they have a permit that they fail to produce, or they show a carbon copy of a license that is not valid.

That’s why residents need to show a little skepticism or simply say “no thank you.”

“The other trick they do is say, ‘My boss has the permit, and he is on the other side of town,’” he added. “They often hide when they see us coming. Once we even had a salesperson die inside a house while pitching his product, and we finally caught the van driver by using an unmarked car. The boss asked if he needed to pick up the man. To top it all off, it was the guy’s birthday!”

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