Get the Scoop on Door-to-Door Sales Rules

Find out whom Berkley and Huntington Woods allow to ring your bell.

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.

Angela August 27, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I know that many of these door-to-door salesmen are only doing their jobs. However, I think only a fool would purchase services door-to-door. Tree trimming, home improvement services, etc. should all be researched thoroughly and not purchased on a whim. Hint: if you come to my door, I'll always support the scouts, band, local school but if you put your home improvement service, pizza flyer, etc. in my door, it's going in my recycle bin. Finally, if you're selling gutter guards and I tell you I'm not interested. Take that as a hint to leave. Do not stand there and argue with me or I will shut the door in your face and/or call the police. (True story).
Frank Malek August 27, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I have a No Soliciting sign, in plain sight, on my front door. It is almost always ignored by solicitors. Guess I'll have to make another sign & put it under the No Soliciting sign saying it's against the law to ignore this sign...
TS August 27, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I don't want to have to put a sign on my door, but I dislike having anybody knock. I don't mind when the local charities leave flyers for bottle drives because I like to donate to them (since I despise returning bottles). This would be a good idea.
Lynn Vander Meer August 28, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Where do they sell NO SOLICITING signs? I'll bet the Scouts could really clean up selling those!
Linda August 28, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Berkley needs to do something! Flyers are all together different, but the majority of people/groups who go door to door do so after 5:00 p.m. quite often in the dark after fall arrives. Sometimes these are young kids or teens who get dropped off in vans. Many of the people who have knocked on my door either cannot read or do not understand what the word "soliciting" means. Yes there should be a requirement to register. Yes there should be a "do not knock" list. Any group that registers should be handed a definition of soliciting. Unfortunately these after dark groups won't bother to do any of the above. So as much as I dislike more signs on my door I too will be adding an "it is illegal to ignore" sign. AND I think i'll keep my camera handy to open the door just long enough to snap their picture.


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