Last Modified: Friday, September 27, 2013 11:57 AM
OBERLIN — Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert III told police jurors recently that he will begin cracking down on door-to-door salesmen after complaints were received about pushy and not-so-reputable solicitors working in the parish.
“I’m sure every parish and city has had problems with vacuum cleaner salesmen and people of different trades coming to their doors trying to sell them something,” Hebert said. “Some of those people are quite reputable; some, not so reputable.”
Rules already require anyone going door to door to have an occupational license, and those rules will be enforced, Hebert said.
“I’m not trying to prevent someone from selling or engaging in trade, but sometimes we need to do things to protect the people here,” he said. “Some of these people are pushy, especially with our senior citizens. Some are scam artists.”
Hebert said he wants to better enforce the laws so residents are more comfortable with solicitors coming to their doors.
“We want them to know that when they tell someone they are not interested and ask them to leave that they don’t remain after being prohibited,” he said.
Those who do not leave the property after being asked can be charged with remaining on premises after being forbidden and trespassing.
Door-to-door solicitors are required to obtain an occupational license from the Sheriff’s Office. The cost depends on the value of the items being sold, but varies from $40 to $100, Hebert said.
Those who do not obtain a license are in violation of parish law and are subject to legal action, he said.
“We are trying to protect the people who live in our parish,” he said. “We are not trying to punish somebody selling something and trying to make a living, yet we want to protect the public from some of the high-pressure tactics. Some salesmen are really pushy, and people are complaining.”
School and church groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and other nonprofit organizations holding fundraisers and those distributing information do not have to obtain an occupational license.
The Kinder City Council issued a similar warning to door-to-door solicitors in August, reminding them that anyone who solicits business door to door must have a $200 peddlers license.
Failure to obtain the proper permit can result in a fine of up to $500, 60 days in jail or both. Each day of violation is considered a separate offense, said Mayor Estes LeDoux.