Archive for Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Door-to-door sales on upswing in Lawrence

Door-to-door salespeople are on the upswing in Lawrence. Solicitors are out in high numbers this year, and some homeowners are getting annoyed.

October 7, 2009


Door-to-door visits to residential homes in October are typically of the spooky sort around Halloween. But John Kary, 2313 E. 27th Terrace, has been treated to recent visits by door-to-door salespeople. From selling fraudulent subscriptions to not having a city license, door-to-door salespeople are making mischief in Lawrence.

Door-to-door visits to residential homes in October are typically of the spooky sort around Halloween. But John Kary, 2313 E. 27th Terrace, has been treated to recent visits by door-to-door salespeople. From selling fraudulent subscriptions to not having a city license, door-to-door salespeople are making mischief in Lawrence.

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Have you ever purchased anything from a door-to-door salesperson other than a youth organization?

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On the street

Should door-to-door sales be outlawed?

No, I think it’s a fair practice. It can be annoying from time to time. As long as they’re not too pushy, it’s OK.

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John Kary is getting a bit frustrated by all the salespeople showing up lately on his east Lawrence doorstep.

They want to clean his gutters, clean his carpets, clean his car, sell him non-toxic eco-friendly house cleaner — and they'll pull any stunt to make a sale.

"I'm not sure what's going on, but there has been kind of a rush of door-to-door sales people that have come by my house," said Kary.

Police said there are multiple reports of Lawrence residents being hassled and annoyed by door-to-door solicitors recently, sometimes at odd hours of the night.

Spokesman Sgt. Bill Cory said van loads of young adults are being brought to town and dropped off to "work a neighborhood" for the day. After selling magazine subscriptions all day, the group's off to the next town.

Then there's the guy driving around town, knocking on people's doors and asking them to buy meat from the back of his pickup truck.

Officers say there's absolutely nothing wrong with these peddlers, as long as they obey city laws.

That's the problem, Cory said. Not all are.

Anyone selling products door-to-door must purchase a $25 solicitor's license from the city clerk's office at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. Cory said some folks are selling without one, a crime that can land violators in jail.

"The city has a right and really needs to know who’s coming and who’s going from their town, selling things door-to-door," said Cory.

When issuing a license, the city collects the person's name, information about what they're selling, sales tax number and even snaps the applicant's picture and fingerprints.

Police are also getting several calls about the salespeople being too aggressive and pushy. Cory said if they cross the line, solicitors can be arrested for crimes such as deception or disturbing the peace. If they do have a city license, it can also be revoked.

"If they are forceful, if they are rude, if they're trying to sell you one thing and then turn around and give you something else," he said. "Police can act on those."

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson has said some salespeople are scamming residents, through price gouging, phony claims and failing to deliver products.

In August, Branson said a Lawrence woman was issued a receipt by a salesperson who claimed to be raising money for a children's hospital. The transaction was fraudulent.

So far this year, the city’s sold 162 permits, compared to 146 in all of last year.


Graczyk 8 years, 7 months ago

Had one come by the house yesterday. He was smarmy.

1029 8 years, 7 months ago

I captured one of these rascals once. He was part of one of those deals where a van drops a bunch of punks into your neighborhood to go around hassling people and trying to sell them garbage (in this case, it was one of those spatulas that has a radio on the end of it). I told him I'd buy a dozen of them if he came with me to run an errand. He said he was tired of walking, had a couple of hours till the van came back, and didn't expect to sell a dozen, so he agreed to go with me. I drove that stupid kid down to Lebo and left him there. Not sure if he ever made it back or not, but I didn't see nothing in the news about him. Doubt he's out there hassling nobody no more though.

puddleglum 8 years, 7 months ago

beerguy, you are my new hero!

door-to-door sales crap should be outlawed.

Loretta Ybarra 8 years, 7 months ago

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but could this possibly be about the AT&T Uverse TV door to door salesmen who started selling in the area a couple of weeks ago????

somebodynew 8 years, 7 months ago

People - be very wary of any of these guys. I know there is a group of "magazine" salespeople here recently and they are not all good folks. Most of these deals are scams of some sort, or lock you into a long term contract that you weren't really aware of. Don't trust any of them.

TriSigmaKS 8 years, 7 months ago

It's ridiculous. I would never ever buy anything from anyone selling door to door, NO WAY. We don't even answer the door. Idiots...go away.

overthemoon 8 years, 7 months ago

Some years ago I was accosted by two young folks selling Miracle Cleaner. Avantage. The guy was so danged good, I bought some from him with the condition that he take his charismatic sales pitch and make something of his life. Thing is, it IS the best household cleaner I've ever used. I checked out the company, and they seem legit. Almost two years later, another sales force showed up...I bought it immediately as I was almost out of the stuff. This pair was weird and wanted dinner and all sorts of other 'help'. I reported them to the company and have since bought the product directly onlline.

Tex 8 years, 7 months ago

We've had two "magazine salesmen" come by our house in the past few months. Soft-hearted folks, please do not be taken in. Both of these young men lied about living in our neighborhood (one said he lived at an address of people we know, the other said he lived "over on Baker" as he pointed to Barker). It is sad, but you're not helping anyone by giving in to their pitch, you're only helping to fund a criminal enterprise.

flux 8 years, 7 months ago

It never fails, they always stop by the house during my Saturday nap, if I get one.

Michael Stanclift 8 years, 7 months ago

I had my house robbed by a group of these guys, cute girl shows up wanting to demo a vac cleaner, dumb guys said "yeah sure!" -- creepy guy comes in instead. After we boot him out we leave to eat dinner, come back and the muddy footprints from the guy from the front door are in the back part of the house and my roommates Xbox is now long gone.

Cops said the vac they were selling isn't even in business anymore, and if we'd given them any money we would have been out even more.

lelly 8 years, 7 months ago

It's your house, don't open the door.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 7 months ago

i truly hope that y'all confine this phenomena to douglas county and don't let it spread several counties over. i live in salina and can't even remember the last time i had someone knocking on my door to sell something (other than little kids fundraising). i know that they have had problems w/ door-to-door folks in the wichita area.... particularly w/ folks selling home alarm systems and roofers.

corey872 8 years, 7 months ago

I think the best thing to do is say, "Can you wait a minute - I'll be right back" then just close the door and go about your business. For additional entertainment, place bets on how long / how many additional knocks they will make before moving on.

Slackermom3 8 years, 7 months ago

Put a big German Shepherd at your door and they won't come near the house. It works every time!

Brandon Devlin 8 years, 7 months ago

Slackermom, that works great unless your German shepherd is like mine. . .and she would like nothing more than to lick someone who comes to the door. :-)

And you're absolutely spot on about the beer delivery in Germany, beerguy. Nothing like waking up to a fresh rack of Kulmbacher Kristallweizen at your door. Gut geschmecht!

Slackermom3 8 years, 7 months ago true, but they don't know that. They just look at our dog and keep walking. They don't want or care to know if he is a licker or a killer..hee hee.

Melissa Kounelaki 8 years, 7 months ago

Is a 'No Soliciting' sign legally binding, or just a courtesy reminder in Lawrence? I've looked at the city ordinance about transient sales, but nothing is mentioned about signs. I've had fewer (ie none) school/youth groups knocking on my door since I put up a sign, but yesterday some guy from an alarm or security company came by, obviously ignoring the sign.

George_Braziller 8 years, 7 months ago

I used to have a problem with the door-to-door religious wacks until I put up a small tasteful sign on my door which reads "No Solicitors or Bible Thumpers -- And Don't Leave your Literature in my Door."

That stopped 99% of them. For the few who couldn't read, all I had to do was point to the notice and they immediately left.

One woman from Victory Bible Church actually followed me into my back yard and wouldn't take no for an answer until I said I would call the police unless she left my property immediately. That got rid of her.

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