Tag Archives: door-to-door solicitation

Westporter: Door-To-Door Solicitation Is “Insane”

The other day, alert — and irate — “06880” reader Trish Lawrence wrote:

It’s spring — and the door-to-door solicitors are back.

At 8:30 last night, my door bell rang. I let the young woman know I wasn’t interested in buying anything. But I had to hear her whole spiel.

She claimed that because I didn’t have a sign up, she had the right to knock on my door from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The police concurred that when a permit is given to a group, those are the hours. I called Town Hall, and was told that Westporters voted yes to this solicitation law several years ago.

Door to door

Last summer, a fellow wanted to use my phone because he was afraid the van had left without him.

I told another very pushy — no, downright surly — young woman that I was going to call the police if she didn’t leave. Her retort? “No cop is gonna tell me I can’t do my job.”

Several years ago I did donate some money to a young man. He had kicked drugs and, being a felon, found it nearly impossible to land a job. So he was trying the door-to-door thing.

I know these people need help, but I don’t think going door to door is the answer.

The police say the answer is a sign. In my neighborhood, tons of little kids stop by to pet our dogs and cats. Now I have to be the nasty old lady who puts up a “No Trespassing” sign? That’s not me.

No soliciting

Perhaps folks who voted yes live in houses with gates and security cameras. I grew up here, and I can’t imagine anyone voting for this.

My husband was home last night. If he was away on business, I would not have felt safe.

The next day, Trish followed up:

I just booted another guy off my stoop — and this time my husband is away.

The police said there is nothing they can do, and admitted they don’t have the time to vet all the people who supply for solicitation licenses.

Do people realize that once a permit is given, groups fill their vans with a dozen people and drop them off in neighborhoods like mine, where homes are close together?

It’s insane.

Yesterday, Trish wrote again:

I did some homework. Door-to-door solicitation falls under the 1st Amendment. Grievances similar to mine have reached the Supreme Court. The 1st Amendment wins every time.

1st amendment

Westport changed the hours of solicitation in April to 9 a.m to 6 p.m. The police department is not aware of this, and Town Hall told me that they can only suggest these hours.

The only answer is to put up a sign. If the solicitor chooses to dismiss it you have to ask for their permit, and take down the info to show the police. I’ll put the sign up, but no way am I going to confront these people for permit info.

The Doors In Westport

A relatively new Westporter writes:

I can’t believe Westport allows door-to-door solicitation! It is very frightening to be home alone during the day with young children, and have strangers come to the door.

I have encountered everything from a man selling food out of his truck, to Optimum sales guys who show up at the most annoying times.

This is a concern for many people. I think it is dangerous that our town allows this. Who in Town Hall would we need to petition to get this changed? Thank you!

Door to door

Living in a condo — where we don’t even get Halloween trick-or-treaters — this is a new one on me.

So I went to my go-to guy: town operations director Dewey Loselle. He replied:

We do not have an ordinance that prohibits it. However, we do have an ordinance that requires a vendor to get a permit from the town (selectman’s office) before being able to do any sort of sales/soliciting door to door.

There is a small fee. The Police Department also does a cursory background check before we approve the permit. The permit says there should be no soliciting after 6 p.m. Persons soliciting without a permit may be reported to the Police Department.

There have been questions (constitutional) as to whether religious groups need to get a permit to go door to door, so we don’t make them get permits. Also, we usually don’t require permits for not-for-profits selling fundraising tickets (like for the Rotary).

Thanks, Dewey! Now, if you can take care of those !@#$%^&*s who call every night from “Customer Service,” the (not-Westport) Police Benevolent Union, Kevin the roofing guy…

And yes, I am on the do-not-call registry.