RETURNING: Door-to-door solicitors, and what you need to know.

We don’t know if door-to-door soliciting went entirely away during the past few years, but in the past few days we’ve received reader complaints/alerts about solicitors for the first time in two-plus years – so here’s a refresher course of what you should know, 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.”

The full set of rules is here. Also, the Better Business Bureau‘s advice is here.

45 Replies to "RETURNING: Door-to-door solicitors, and what you need to know."

  • StopCuttingDownTrees June 4, 2022 (5:43 pm)

    G O   A W A Y

    • Marcus June 4, 2022 (7:21 pm)

      Really do not like people other than friends and neighbors knocking on my door. 

    • John June 4, 2022 (8:36 pm)

      I’m right there with you! I was right in the middle of developing some film a while back and had somebody so vehemently knocking on my door I thought it might be an emergency and it was some guy telling me my roof was buckling and they were doing work in the area 

  • Auntie June 4, 2022 (6:32 pm)

    In the past, I had people from Greenpeace come through my closed gate, past the No Soliciting sign. When I pointed it out to them, they said they came to impart information, not to solicit. Same bs from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I tell them all the same thing: Get off my property and don’t come back. I also reported the Greenpeace guy to the local office – got that info off the paperwork that he left on my steps as he was leaving.

    • Marty June 5, 2022 (9:15 am)

      I don’t understand why this is still allowed. Does anyone want this to happen at their house? I doubt it… 

      • I wonder June 5, 2022 (3:25 pm)

        Solicitors can definately be an unwanted and sometimes awkward inconvenience, but I also wonder if people have become less tolerant and welcoming? I remember when I was a teen my family would have solicitors come by and sometimes we would say no thank you and send them on their way and sometimes we would listen and sometimes it would be a worthwhile service or cause to donate to. Nowadays, it sounds like people may be less open. But, technology sure has changed since then, and we are bombarded with email marketing instead.

    • Auntie June 5, 2022 (4:52 pm)

      By the way, I changed out my “no soliciting” sign for a “NO TRESPASSING” sign. Perhaps that will make it more clear to interlopers.

  • Buddy June 4, 2022 (7:00 pm)

    I used to have a no soliciting sign when we had a lot coming around and all of them ignored the sign. Better just not to answer the door. About 20 years ago a group of solicitor were actually a group of people casing homes out to come back later to rob. 

  • Cjboffoli June 4, 2022 (9:34 pm)

    Had one a my house in South Admiral this week. He ignored the “No Trespassing/ No Soliciting” signs and had no conspicuously displayed ID/license. But to his credit he did leave immediately when I invited him to.

  • Odd son June 4, 2022 (11:59 pm)

    Don’t answer your door or get a no soliciting sign. If everyone did this, in theory, door to door sales would go away.

  • anonyme June 5, 2022 (5:51 am)

    “In theory” is right.  And if there is a violation, will the police come?  Of course not.  I will never support Greenpeace again after an encounter I had with one of their door-to-door reps, whom I also reported to the local branch.  The Century Link salesmen don’t work directly for Century Link, so there’s no way to report them to the company.  Jehovah’s Witnesses openly state that they don’t answer to the laws of man.  I don’t open my door to ANY stranger, and keep a pitchfork secreted outside in case someone surprises me in the garden and needs convincing to get the hell out NOW.

  • Kt June 5, 2022 (6:18 am)

    I remember going door to door in the 70s collecting for my newspaper route, selling girl scout cookies and band candy;  canvasing for local dems in the 80s…No way would I go out knocking on doors now.  You never know if the person answering the door could be unstable with an arsenal of guns.  Not to mention covid still circulating around.Also everyone purchases everything on line so kind of a waste of time to go door to door.

  • Ivan Weiss June 5, 2022 (7:30 am)

    A gentle reminder, as campaign season heats up, that political campaign volunteers are NOT solicitors. They are volunteers, who receive no money for contacting voters. They inform voters about upcoming elections, and leave campaign literature for the candidates they favor, to help voters make more informed decisions. And yes, to help influence voters to support their candidates.

    My personal practice is never to knock on a door that has a “No solicitors” sign, but just to drop the literature and leave. When a resident answers a knock, I immediately identify myself as a volunteer. If asked or told to leave, I leave immediately without a further word. I believe that to do otherwise, or to argue with the resident that I am not a solicitor, is bad manners and bad campaign practice. It hardly helps the candidates we are canvassing for to disrespect the voters’ wishes for personal privacy.

    I hope people will keep these distinctions in mind. How people respond to somebody who knocks on their door is their own business and nobody else’s. Just please remember that not everyone who knocks has evil intent.

    • Sue H June 5, 2022 (9:10 am)

      Although political volunteers may not technically be solicitors, I still don’t want them at my door. I research candidates on my own and if I need more info, I’ll reach out. I don’t want to be disturbed by someone at my door for whatever reason, and almost every time I’ve had a political volunteer (or the politician themselves) at my door, they tend to be someone I wouldn’t vote for in a million years. I also throw out any political advertising mail without reading it. Big waste of time of money on both counts.

    • Seattlite June 5, 2022 (10:48 am)

      FYI…There are numerous ways to get information on candidates other than by strangers knocking on your door.  I never open my door unless I have been notifed by relatives or friends that they are coming over for a visit.  Our blockwatch leader sends all of us neighbors updated phone numbers and email address so even my neighbors call before knocking on the door to visit.  

      • I wonder June 5, 2022 (3:37 pm)

        Isn’t there still something to be said though for good old fashioned human conversation and connections, even between strangers, even between people who at first may seem to disagree?

        Seeking out the information you want, is quite different from potentially learning about new things from others that you wouldn’t otherwise, had it not come to your -literal or metaphorical- doorstep.

        • Sue H June 5, 2022 (4:10 pm)

          Sure, in person conversation of this nature can be helpful, but that doesn’t mean I want you coming unannounced to my door to initiate that. I’ve gone to public forums and asked questions there, both during a forum and after when I speak one-on-one with a candidate or their representative. And I’m sure if I called a candidate’s office and said that I wanted to speak with them or someone who could answer some questions, they would be more than happy to accommodate.

    • WW Resident June 5, 2022 (12:36 pm)

      Go look up soliciting in the dictionary. It is the intention of trying to obtain something from someone. That’s what political soliciting is doing

      • heartless June 5, 2022 (1:44 pm)

        As you’ve all pointed out, canvassing is indeed soliciting.  However, it is a special form that is constitutionally protected.  And, for better or worse, constitutional rights tend to supersede local ordinances. 

        • WSB June 5, 2022 (2:04 pm)

          And I might also point out, the city rules (if you click through to the code, you’ll see) very clearly specify “residential sales.’ What I wrote above is fairly clear on that. But I guess next time I’ll have to explicitly add “again, this is for SELLING, not ALL door-to-door interactions’….

    • Rhonda June 5, 2022 (2:24 pm)

      Knocking on my door is the number-one way to get me to vote AGAINST any candidate canvassers are promoting. It’s 2022 for crying out loud. We have billboards, flyers, mailers, mega shopping malls, bumper stickers, social media, buttons, online pop-up ads, t-shirts, etc, to get your word out nowadays. You could also set up near the lines of fans going to sports events, festivals, etc. Disturbing busy, exhausted  people in their homes when they are enjoying increasingly-limited time with their families for political purposes should be illegal.

    • Pessoa June 6, 2022 (10:26 am)

      Thanks for those insights into the mind of a political canvasser.   Feel free to visit mi casa anytime and pitch your candidate and/or cause. 

  • Carole June 5, 2022 (8:39 am)

    I’m glad we opened the door for LEAH GRIFFIN yesterday.  What a wonderful person.  She will get our votes this August.

  • Messybun June 5, 2022 (11:42 am)

    Agree about anyone! Coming to my door. That’s a firm NO. I don’t need to be informed about any candidates or impending religious event. It doesn’t seem like that’s a timely way to connect people or get messages out. It’s more off putting than anything We have a no solicitors sign and most ignore that, luckily I have a treat for anyone who continues with the knocking !!! It’s called ass spray and it’s v smelly available on Amazon 

    • Ivan Weiss June 5, 2022 (1:04 pm)

      @ Sue H, Seattlite, Messybun: In my long experience campaigning, for each of you, there are 10 voters who are happy to be contacted, glad to meet their candidates, and grateful for any new information. So you can expect door-to-door canvassing to continue. Like I said, when I see a “No Solicitors” sign, I don’t knock. Not all canvassers are like me. But just so you know, campaigns do keep lists of people who treat their volunteers with hostility. Also, I don’t advise spraying anyone. “No, thank you” usually gets the same result.

      • Seattlite June 5, 2022 (3:06 pm)

        Why are you replying to me, a senior citizen, about “…campaigns do keep lists of people who treat their volunteers with hostility. ”  Not answering one’s door so as not to interact with an  uninvited stranger  considered hostile or considered a good safety technique?  Please reread my comment.

      • Sue H June 5, 2022 (4:15 pm)

        Ivan, who said I was being hostile to solicitors of any kind? Generally I won’t answer the door. If I happen to get caught interacting with them, I will always start out being polite and simply tell them I am not interested. It’s only if I continue to be harassed by that person and they will not leave after I ask them to, then my mood will change significantly. Not liking solicitors at my door is not the same as attacking them or being hostile to them.

      • Messybun June 5, 2022 (8:38 pm)

        Thanks for mansplaining but I’ll spray whoever ignores the sign 

        • Tidybun June 6, 2022 (9:46 am)

          But would you spray an ass spray salesman?

          • HoneyBun June 6, 2022 (11:53 am)


    • Ok, so June 5, 2022 (6:53 pm)

      That’s..extreme. But more importantly- how does one come across “ass spray” on Amazon? I have so many questions I’m not sure I want the answers to. 

      • Messybun June 5, 2022 (8:40 pm)

        You would prob have to be searching for it? Ass spray is used in medical procedure education. I believe it is sold retail as a “prank” spray and first came across it years ago at the joke shop at Pike Place it’s handy for many things 

        • Super amused Southerner June 6, 2022 (9:07 am)

          I’m just imagining a territorial skunk in lounge wear. As we say where I grew up- bless your heart. 😂

  • Jack June 5, 2022 (1:48 pm)

    While they are generally annoying, sometimes the interactions are OK. I had a CenturyLink rep come by last week and was able to get $20/month knocked off my bill.

  • anonyme June 5, 2022 (3:42 pm)

    There’s a good reason not to answer your door to political canvassers, other than for safety reasons.  They LIE.  They will say anything to get votes.  The last time I spoke to one of these people they were working to elect Jenny Durkan – whom, they assured me, was the “law and order” candidate.  They are no more trustworthy than the politicians they represent, which isn’t saying much.  If there’s a ‘hostility’ list, please sign me up and stay away – or be forewarned.  My privacy and safety are more important than either your agenda or your feelings.

    • Ivan Weiss June 5, 2022 (4:15 pm)

      Like I said in my original comment, how people respond to people knocking on their doors is their own business, and nobody else’s. It appears some of you can’t take yes for an answer.

  • K June 5, 2022 (9:22 pm)

    Solicitors can be annoying, but they are fellow humans. Kindness is sorely needed in our world. 

  • heyalki June 6, 2022 (7:56 am)

    I mean…you never really know who’s knocking even if they have shirts & badges etc. Sure you can listen to what they have to say if you feel like it, but in my opinion I think it’s better to look up the company yourself and do your own research than to trust some random person who shows up at your house. Avoid the potential of being scammed.

  • shotinthefoot June 6, 2022 (10:34 am)

    there is a certain (not local to WS) pest control company who not only actively ignores your “no soliciting” sign, but they’ll press back and refuse to leave the property when asked. When I called and talked to their main office about it, they were not only unconcerned, they were downright rude about it. They were also sending out door to door salespeople at the very height of the pandemic – which is stupid, risky and utterly tone deaf. 

  • HoneyBun June 6, 2022 (12:06 pm)

    My reply is always the same. “Oh! Well, you may mail me information for me to consider if you wish. I like to read the information I am considering. Thanks.” Then when they try a second time to engage me (and they always try a second time), I say “goodbye” as I shut the door in their face mid-sentence. Hey, I was polite, agreed to consider the reason for their visit if they mail it to me, and gave them a chance to walk away with me still having been quite civil. A third attempt elicits a response from me akin to the sentinels in Raised By Wolves.

  • Jay June 6, 2022 (12:46 pm)

    I recently moved to a house for the first time and the constant stream of people knocking on the door is really pissing me off.

  • cjboffoli June 6, 2022 (3:50 pm)

    Those here advocating kindness might consider that these door to door solicitors may be part of a criminal enterprise. That was the assessment of SPD in past years when they came out in response to solicitors who became belligerent and aggressive with my neighbors. In a follow up with me after tracking down and speaking with the solicitor in question, they told me the person was part of a traveling group that moves around the country by van, and that they had interacted with that person before and  – as they were not credentialed to go door to door in Seattle – told them to stop what they were doing. Personally, I don’t feel the need to show kindness to a probable fraudster that may be exploiting people in this community, possibly stealing credit card info, and/or casing private residences. 

  • Westwood neighbor June 8, 2022 (5:42 pm)

    We just had two people come to our door in the Westwood neighborhood.  They said they were from Optimun Reading Service and selling magazines subscriptions that would go to Mary’s Place. That business has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau and multiple mentions of scams online. 

    • Linda June 9, 2022 (7:18 am)

      And they are NOT affiliated with Mary’s Place!

    • Don’t get it June 9, 2022 (6:30 pm)

      The lady that just came to our door had a kid who previously knocked about 5 minutes earlier.  Weird thing – she had my name.  This is creepy and concerning.

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