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Knock, knock: Spring storms bring door-to-door salespeople without a permit

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By Tracy Harris

Girl Scouts aren’t the only ones ringing Oldham County doorbells this spring. Residents in several parts of the county are reporting numerous door-to-door salespeople — and many are not showing proper permits.

Roofing and tree service crews have knocked on doors after recent rounds of storm damage.

Orchard Grass Hills resident Jennifer Lee estimates she’s had salespeople from 13 different companies knock after recent storms.

She said she found that more than half of the salespeople were not from confirmed legitimate businesses.

Lee said the salespeople all acted professionally, but their vehicles didn’t have identifying information on them.

Poplar Hills resident Stephanie McHenry said she’s also seen door-to-door salesmen in her neighborhood recently and the unmarked vehicles “scare her to death.”

While Lee has relied on internet searches to check businesses’ identities, police want residents to check for peddlers’ licenses.

Anyone making door-to-door sales is required to have a permit from Oldham County Police, known as the countywide peddler’s ordinance.

According to Oldham County Police Spokesman Mike Head, the department issued only five permits last year. Currently, one permit is in effect and one permit is pending approval.

Permits must include information about the applicant’s local address, photo identification and a description of any vehicle being used and its license plate number.

Police also require a description of the business and the goods or services being sold.

Kentucky State Police run a background check on each applicant as part of the approval process.

Salespeople must carry the peddlers’ license and a photo ID.

According to the ordinance, licenses and identification must be presented at the request of any resident or law enforcement officer.

La Grange resident Albert Harrison said not all salespeople are happy to hear about the resolution.

Harrison said a tree service salesperson cursed at him recently when Harrison told the salesperson he needed a permit. 

Harrison said there seems to be confusion between having a business license and selling door-to-door.

The ordinance states that businesses with previously-scheduled appointments with a specific person or who have an ongoing business relationship with a specific person do not need a permit.

But businesses who have a license to operate in the county still need a permit to solicit door-to-door.

Peddling is permitted only during certain hours: between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

That extends to include any time after sunset or before sunrise, according to the ordinance.

Fiscal court members enacted the ordinance in March 2009. Applications must be submitted with a $100 fee and permits are valid for six months. Renewal applications are $50.

The minimum fine for violating the ordinance is $25 per day.

Charitable, political and religious door-to-door campaigns are permitted as long as goods are not being sold.

Residents can ask peddlers for their permit and ID and should report those peddling without a license to police by calling 222-0111.