Door-to-door sellers: What you need to know

For the first time in a while, we’ve received a flurry of e-mails in the past few days with reports of/concerns about door-to-door sellers. You might not be aware of city law, so here’s a recap:

*Hours for door-to-door (residential) selling are limited to 8 am-9 pm.

*The seller’s employer has to be licensed and the seller (agent) has to have ID that shows the license and the agent’s name. Regarding the ID, “All licensees and agents shall conspicuously display on their outer clothing their residential sales license or residential sales agent licenses when selling.” Ask to see it before you even listen to a pitch. And beyond the ID: “Each residential seller or agent shall, immediately upon contacting the prospective buyer, disclose to the prospective buyer his/her name, company, and the product or service represented.”

*If you have a “no soliciting” sign by your door, it’s illegal for sellers to ignore it. If you don’t, you still have no obligation to listen to a pitch – city law includes the stipulation that “If requested to do so, (the agent) shall leave the premises immediately.”

You can read the rules in their entirety by going here..

A big exception – if someone is just asking you to donate to a charity (not describing a “sale” of something as a “donation”), they don’t have to be licensed. Also: The types of selling that don’t require licenses under Seattle law are “newspapers, or fresh or perishable food items.”

P.S. If you do buy something door-to-door – be aware of cancellation rights.

26 Replies to "Door-to-door sellers: What you need to know"

  • Fiz September 11, 2016 (4:42 pm)

    The young woman who ignored our No Solicitors sign and refused to leave insisted that she wasn’t selling, that she was “earning points”.     If I hadn’t mistaken her profile for someone else the door would have remained closed.    Am wiser now.

  • Double Dub Resident September 11, 2016 (5:09 pm)

    I have a no  soliciting sign  and still get someone every once in a while. Unfortunately in this day and age I don’t trust anyone soliciting anything and shut down any attempts at a pitch whether supposed  sales,  charity,  or religion. 

    There’s no way I’m giving a stranger cash,  a check with my routing and account number on it, or my credit card number. 

    As for charity or religious people coming to my door who claim they aren’t soliciting,  technically the dictionary says :

    ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone

  • Chris September 11, 2016 (5:40 pm)

    There were a couple of men selling magazine subscriptions in neighborhood yesterday.   Neighbor told me that they talked to him as he was outside.   He saw them go up on our porch and we did hear the doorbell..,just did not go answer.   We have a “no soliciting” sign also though it seems it is ignored.   Last time we had this going on here, it was found out men were casing the neighborhood.   Then they got caught by a neighbor’s camera as they were casing their house.   They called the police & the one that was caught had warrants out for arrest.   The ones that are looking for trouble make it hard on the ones that are not.   

  • Double Dub Resident September 11, 2016 (6:57 pm)

    Chris,  what neighborhood is that? 

  • Jim September 11, 2016 (7:04 pm)

    5 CenturyLink visits in the last 3 weeks. Nicely dressed with branded windbreakers.  no ID showing and when they leave they go to the edge of the property and write something down. Wish we had a no visit list like the do not call thing.  

  • Pops September 11, 2016 (7:09 pm)

    I’ve been dealing with magazine subscription sellers since the early 1990s. I guess people open their doors and buy or they would keep soliciting. I wish people would stop opening their doors. Seems like that would put a stop to it but there is the chance the knock is to see if someone is home before a robbery so it’s best to make it known someone is home.

  • Pixie September 11, 2016 (7:55 pm)

    Personally, the hours allowed for solicitations are ridiculous. I refuse to answer my door before 9a.m.  and after 7p.m. unless I am expecting someone. 

  • Tim September 11, 2016 (8:41 pm)

    I had a couple of young boys/men come by a few nights ago and I ran them off then a few minutes later another guy showed up and asked if a young lady had come by. I told no but 2 guys and he yelled those idiots” and ran off. I wish I had a trap door under the porch….

    I’m in Seaview below the Junction on 48th.

  • Trickycoolj September 11, 2016 (8:48 pm)

    Last time I got hit up it was when they knew we were sitting ducks, like a Thursday night football game night or something. They know everyone’s home to watch the game so they come try to hit you up. One of the reasons I finally plunked down some cash on a video doorbell. 

  • Chris September 11, 2016 (9:11 pm)

    North Admiral.   

  • Sheldon September 11, 2016 (9:52 pm)

    when I had a problem with an aggressive door visitor last year, I learned that no soliciting only applies to those selling right then at your doorstep. The ‘no knock’ sign is what you need to keep away the appointment setters, signature takers and others who can technically ignore no solicitation signs in King county.

  • Genesee Hill Resident September 12, 2016 (1:37 am)

    A young woman came to our door the other day selling magazines for points. She would not say what group she was affiliated with, would not take subtle no thank you’s for an answer and gave a quite rude commentary on her way out. 

  • By the book September 12, 2016 (5:02 am)

    How about a sign that reads…”If you’re not expected your knock won’t be answered.”

    That’s been my practice for years. 

  • TheKing September 12, 2016 (11:56 am)

    I act like I don’t speak English, pull my pockets out of my pants like I’m broke and laugh at them. They usually leave and I don’t even open the door 

  • Mat September 12, 2016 (1:31 pm)

    I’ve definitely gotten 2-3 CenturyLink door-to-door salesman over the past few months and they ignored an eye level ‘No solicitors’ sign which I pointed out to them. I didn’t know it was illegal, so thanks for the heads up WSB. 

    I continue to see the CL polo shirt folks go door to door in general in West Seattle, probably because I specifically get annoyed about people selling door to door since it so often to me feels like a hard sell. In fact, in the case of the CL folks, I coaxed more info out of one of them and they don’t actually work for CL, they’re contracted and their pricing is only available through them that day (or course, because they need to build that sense of urgency). So definitely buyer beware even if you’re ok with this type of sales. 

  • WSince86 September 12, 2016 (1:58 pm)

    Must have been the same young woman as FIZ and GHR that came to our door around 7:30 Thursday. Claimed to know some of our neighbors, knew their names, said they had thought I might be interested in her points scheme. 

    I wasn’t!  She was not very happy as I wished her well and shut the door

    49th between Andover and Charleston.  

    • junction_gal September 13, 2016 (12:46 pm)

      She name dropped one of my neighbors as well. We had a visit from them around 12:20ish today. Something about a trip to Costa Rica?

  • WS5 September 12, 2016 (2:24 pm)

    My daughter told the meat sellers that our house is full of vegans that shut him down quick.

    But I bet he will come back again :( 

  • Your Ad Here September 12, 2016 (3:47 pm)

    Same block wsince86, just had CL come by for the umpteenth time and ignore our no solicitors sign.

  • Mickymse September 12, 2016 (4:28 pm)

    As we head into the fall and a big Presidential election year… just don’t forget that people may be coming to your door with information on candidates, ballot measures (minimum wage, light rail, etc.), and more. Speaking for myself, when I go door-to-door with such information I always identify myself immediately, and if the person says I’m busy, I offer material for reading and am happy to move on. 

  • Andy September 13, 2016 (4:53 am)

    I, too, have been bothered a lot lately by Century Link. Their representatives keep coming to my door trying to get me to bundle their services. Century Link is my telephone provider, but I use Comcast for TV and internet. Have any of you been getting a lot of phone calls in which the caller just hangs up? I got all over the last Century Link guy, telling him that I think it is Century Link checking their phone connections, since every time I get one of these calls there is a Century Link truck nearby in the neighborhood. If it were not for my old copper wire land line that I’ve had for many, many years, and which Comcast doesn’t support, I’d drop Century Link’s telephone service in a heartbeat! They have become a big pain in the rear. Oh, and by the way, I have a No Solicitors sign on my door.

  • Fiz September 13, 2016 (7:16 am)

    As she departed the first “points earner” insisted that I not “give points” to anyone else which made me think there would be another one.   Sure enough, a different seller showed up yesterday, knocked repeatedly, hung around the block, finally sauntered off.

    We are near 45th and Edmunds.  

  • Sandy September 13, 2016 (12:36 pm)

    Super annoyed with CenturyLink. More annoying than Comcast!

  • KM September 13, 2016 (12:56 pm)

    I had someone come to my door today for the “National Leadership Conference”, without a badge. I answered the door, politely told them I wasn’t interested, and that was it. They could have been legit or not, but it was a pretty simple interaction.

  • Marty September 14, 2016 (8:30 am)

    It is time to outlaw door-to-door sales. Do any of you actually want to be bothered by sales people? More bad than good comes from this. Time to admit that the days of Ozzie and Harriet are over and make this practice illegal.

  • Courtney September 15, 2016 (8:37 pm)

    Just had a couple of young men (maybe teenagers?) come to our door about the “National Leadership Conference” as well. The politely left when I told them they could leave literature, but that we never give money out of the door. FYI, this is in Queen Anne. 

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