Problems with door-to-door salespeople in nearby communities this summer have sparked concern, but Berkley and Huntington Woods residents can avoid con artists by following a few simple safety tips or working only with permitted vendors that adhere to the cities' rules.
The recent issues include in July after being allowed into her home and complaints in Royal Oak that prompted the City Commission to approve last week.
[Would you like for Berkley and Huntington Woods to adopt do-not-knock registries? Leave a comment!]
"Most of these folks are just doing their job, but it makes me uneasy," Sgt. Pete Kelly said, noting his particular concern for seniors and other vulnerable residents.
The city's ordinance requires commercial door-to-door vendors to undergo a background check and receive a permit from the city, which they are required to carry and show upon request. City code allows handbills to be delivered between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
However, "under the law, we cannot regulate any solicitation for charitable organizations, educational organizations, local civic organizations, religious organizations or public service groups however they do have to show identification from their organization," states information provided by City Clerk Cheryl Printz.
She said approved vendors in Berkley include:
- Ameribilt Construction
- Seventh Day Adventist Church
- Fund for the Public Interest/Environment Michigan
- Royal Oak High School Band & Orchestra Boosters
- Clean Water Action Fund
- Bottle/can drives
- Ice cream vendors
- Berkley High School dance team
Huntington Woods City Clerk Joy Solanskey also said door-to-door vendors must undergo a background check by the , receive a permit from the city and comply with all state regulations, as well as the city's charter.
According to Solanskey, the following vendors are permitted in Huntington Woods:
- Clean Water Action Fund
- Fund for the Public Interest
- Daisy Ice Cream
- CK Corporation
Printz provided the following tips to help residents protect themselves from scams:
- If someone comes to your door with or without a permit, you are not obligated to engage in a conversation or open your door.
- It is against the law for any peddler/solicitor to approach any home where a sign is posted stating "No Solicitors" or similar language. It is a misdemeanor to do so.
- You should call out or look through a peephole or window before opening your door to anyone.
- Burglars commonly ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home before breaking and entering. This is why it is important to let them know you are home. It is better to yell through the door that you are not interested rather than not answering at all. You can also leave a radio or TV on to give the appearance that someone is home.
- If you feel that the solicitor is out of compliance with the City's Solicitation/Peddler Permit Ordinance and/or if you feel that the activity is suspicious, call the (Public Safety Department).
- Never open your front door without care. There is no dishonor in an unopened door – even when the person on the other side reportedly represents a charity that helps unwanted puppies, undernourished kids or saves the whales.
- Do not let anyone in your home that you do not know. It's much more difficult to rid yourself of them once they are inside; it's also potentially dangerous. Only after you have verified the solicitors permit and feel that it is safe should you open your door.
- Talk about these tips with your kids and make sure they never open a door to an unknown guest.
Residents or business owners who have information to report or who notice something unusual in their neighborhood can call the at 248-658-3380 or the at 248-541-1180. Public Safety officials encourage residents and business owners to keep their doors and windows secured at all times.