DOOR-TO-DOOR ALERT: Local nonprofit warns of fraudulent solicitor

It’s door-to-door-soliciting season, A few notes have arrived in the WSB inbox, and we were making plans for the periodic “here are the city laws” reminder, when this suddenly made things more urgent. From Lily Mabbott with the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County:

We have had a couple people contact our organization because at least one man (there may be more than one) is posing as a door-to-door magazine salesman claiming to collect donations for Boys & Girls Clubs. He is not affiliated with our organization and magazine sales is not a way that we fundraise.

The caller I spoke with lives in the Fairmount Park area, zip code 98126. She described the person as late 20s/early 30s tall black man who was well dressed and has a well-groomed beard, carrying a clipboard.

Now, the rules. First, note that they don’t apply to those seeking charity solicitations – legitimate ones, anyway. Otherwise, from the Seattle Municipal Code:

*Door-to-door (residential) selling is allowed between 8 am-9 pm.

*The entity for whom the seller is working has to have a license, and the seller (agent) must have ID showing the license and the agent’s name: “All licensees and agents shall conspicuously display on their outer clothing their residential sales license or residential sales agent licenses when selling.” If you choose to open the door, ask to see it immediately: “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.”

*Solicitors are required to honor a “no soliciting” sign if you have one. Whether you do or don’t, they’re also required to honor this part of the code: “If requested to do so, (the agent) shall leave the premises immediately.”

Read the full set of rules by going here.. And note the city says they don’t apply to sellers of “newspapers, or fresh or perishable food items.”

20 Replies to "DOOR-TO-DOOR ALERT: Local nonprofit warns of fraudulent solicitor"

  • G Hansen May 8, 2018 (11:49 am)

    We had 2 young African/American girls come last Friday afternoon wanting to sell magazines for the Boys and Girls Club too.  We didn’t buy any.

  • Jim P. May 8, 2018 (11:57 am)

    Simplest solution is to never buy anything from or donate to someone who knocks on your door claiming anything unless you invited them to do so.

    Same for the “charity” collectors that seem to infest downtown and who are obviously professional solicitors, the patter is too slick and practiced to be volunteers.

    You do not owe anything to a total stranger arriving at your door unannounced to try and sell you on something, not even courtesy.

    If you want to confuse them, ask if they have an appointment and when they say “No”, tell them not to come back until they do.

    Applies to telephone “solicitors” also.  There is no need whatsoever to be polite to people who intrude on your privacy and time for their personal profit.

    • Jethro Marx May 8, 2018 (2:09 pm)

      It’s a dangerous thing, opening our front doors, and if we don’t catch our feet we may fall into unnecessary rudeness. Your rubric for who is deserving of courtesy is, I’m sure, more elaborate than the entries for door and phone solicitors. You may even find yourself feeling quite good about being discourteous in a situation in which, upon further review, it turns out you were just being an a&$(@)#.

    • Helpful May 9, 2018 (4:45 pm)

      Jim p- I can’t decipher what JM said there- but your message is one that I parrot frequently. People wrongly feel that they need to respond to solicitors as if they are speaking to an aqaintance. Not true! A solicitor does not care about you – only your money. When the solicitor asks- “how are you on this beautiful day?” What they are really saying is- “allow my intrusion, as I want to manipulate you into giving me your money!” You don’t need to reply to their fake greeting, practiced interest or answer any question. This is not a well intended visitor, it is only someone who wants to work you out of something- and the more you engage so as not to be rude, the more you expose yourself to manipulation. Don’t be a rube!

      unless of course you enjoy fending off salespeople while they subject you to a relentless pitch. 

      • Jethro Marx May 9, 2018 (5:11 pm)

        Ah, a rude parrot: not exactly the best way to use the rather impressive array of tools one is given to go through life with, but, to each their own I suppose.

         If we comport ourselves in the way you suggest, we give up control over our manners to a random stranger knocking on the door. I’d be more impressed if you could be kind to those who bother you, or perhaps even love your enemies. But, you know- to each their own; do what you will. I am just rejecting the way Jim instructed me to behave.

        • Helpful May 9, 2018 (9:19 pm)

          Blather them into submission, if you like. It is my opinion that engaging a stranger who appears at your door to sell you something, is a poor life choice. They could be a salesman, or a crook, or both. I’m not telling anyone to be rude, but engaging someone like this is at your peril. At best, they are going to try to manipulate you out of your money, and at worst they are going to take your things and kill you. So, you can chat all day about why you need a dish and a dvr, because no one is home on Thursdays, or let people use your bathroom, but it’s not mannerly- it’s foolish. 

  • just wondering May 8, 2018 (1:02 pm)

    Solicitors are required to honor a “no soliciting” sign if you have one.”

    I even have 3 red arrows pointing at my NO SOLICITING sign on my screen door and they still knock.  I just don’t answer. 

  • anonyme May 8, 2018 (1:05 pm)

    “And note the city says they don’t apply to sellers of “newspapers, or fresh or perishable food items.”

    Soooo….no rules for selling newspapers, just magazines.   And no rules against selling perishable food that could be dangerously contaminated and pose public health risks…?!

    Sounds about right for Seattle.

  • MJ May 8, 2018 (1:15 pm)

    I added a No Soliciting sign to my door, its reduced the unwanted soliciting significantly!

  • momos mom May 8, 2018 (2:46 pm)

    We had 2 different solicitors last week, one was a well dressed young man he put his can of soda on top front step and then stepped back down onto sidewalk I answered to door he introduced himself and I said “before you go any further I am not interested, thank you” and he left.

    2nd person (this time I didn’t answer) knocked on door several times rang bell yelled hello knocked again then left but walked into our driveway yelling hello started for backyard but then went to next-door neighbors right then husband pulled into driveway so he came back and started his story  husband said “not interested” guy followed husband up our sidewalk got in front of husband so he couldn’t get to front door and that’s when I opened the door and said “this is private property please leave” he said I’m not selling anything I said “leave now” and he said all I’m doing to is trying to feed my family. ???

  • Samantha May 8, 2018 (2:49 pm)

    He’s making his way around he was just at my work yesterday in highland park area, and I turned him away. Pretty  disgusting to still money from such a good charity! 

  • Jim P. May 8, 2018 (2:50 pm)

    The signs will keep the honest ones from bothering you.  The crooked and sleazy ones and the religious fanatics intent on “saving” you?  Nothing short of barbed wire, caltrops and attack dogs works and society frowns on such defenses as that sort of thing might harm someone of actual use to society. :)

  • elle May 8, 2018 (4:37 pm)

    2 super sweet women came by selling these magazines last night in Arbor Heights. I didn’t give them anything. I looked up magazine sales door-to-door and found a great article in The Atlantic about how magazine “crews” travel all over the country. It’s usually a pyramid type scam that involves very low income workers canvassing neighborhoods. Sometimes they get left behind in cities if they don’t sell enough and sometimes they even become somewhat indentured if they end up owing the scam company money. Their back stories are true and tug at the heart strings (which these scam companies apparently tell them to share), which makes the scam so tough to say no to. I had to put my compassion aside and be logical—it was so tough! It’s so much easier with phone scammers to hang up.

    • Seavieu May 8, 2018 (8:24 pm)

      Thank you for drawing my attention to the Atlantic article. Fascinating, disturbing stuff.

  • SoAdmiralK May 9, 2018 (6:26 am)

    Stop door to door.  

  • sonic May 9, 2018 (9:44 am)

    I know this has been mentioned before but bears repeating:

    As I recall he was found and charged for the crime.

  • brandon 5406 May 9, 2018 (10:00 am)

    If only the Century Link solicitors would take note.

  • Helpful May 9, 2018 (4:57 pm)

    Years ago- I had a disagreement with a jet city pizza coupon solicitor after a long drawn out hard press. I finally told him- no, I don’t want it- I’m shutting the door. His was pissed! I felt very uneasy. 10 mins later I went outside to look around, and he had keyed 3 sides of my car! Now I was pissed. I looked for him. I went to jet city pizza, and they said, sorry, those people are contractors, we have no info on them or liability for them.

    Never again. 

  • LarryB May 9, 2018 (6:13 pm)

    I wish Century Link would obey signs and leave when asked. I once had to whip out my camera and start videoing them to get them to leave.

  • Jwin May 15, 2018 (7:42 pm)

    I live in north hill was just scammed by this guy. I feel like such a loser. Called the police after I did some research and found this posting. 

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