A group of traveling vacuum cleaner sales people caused a stir over the weekend in Moore County.
According to multiple local residents, the group – who claimed to be college students – used “high pressure” sales tactics to attempt to gain entry into local homes to “demonstrate” their product.
Though local authorities stress that the group’s tactics aren’t illegal, they did prompt multiple calls to the Moore County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD). According to local law enforcement, a deputy did speak to the group to inform them of the requirements for conducting transient sales in Moore County.
According to County Clerk Nancy Hatfield, the state requires individuals who sell products in the county to acquire a transient vendor license, which cost $50 and is good for 14 days. However, according to Hatfield, people who sell goods to be delivered at a later date are not required to obtain a transient vendor license.
Moore County ordinances (3-101) states that “any peddler, canvasser, solicitor or transient merchant” who does business within the Urban Services District must first obtain a permit. The Urban Services District is the old Lynchburg city limits footprint.
In order to obtain the permit, the ordinance states that the “peddler” must provide their name, physical description, permanent home address, description of goods to be sold, name of employer, length of time they intend to do business and a statement as to whether the person has ever been convicted of a crime.
According to the ordinance, “peddlers” are to display their permit at all times and it is the responsibility of the MCSD to enforce the “peddlers” ordinance.
Interesting though, according to Hatfield – who would be responsible for issuing such a permit – there are no local vendor permit forms in her office – only the state form.
Under close examination, it seems there is both a state and local loophole for door-to-door salespeople who sell large items that will be delivered after the sale.
The local ordinance also doesn’t seem to address people who sell door-to-door outside the former city limits.
When asked about the disconnect between the local ordinance and it’s execution, Mayor Sloan Stewart stated that he intends to speak with Sheriff Logan about the issue and bring it up before the Metro Council next Monday night.
“It definitely sounds like it needs a closer look,” he said.
Local authorities state that even though “pushy” salesmen might make some local residents uncomfortable, it’s not illegal.
Residents should remember; however, that they have the right to refuse entry to their homes to anyone. Those who enter against a resident’s will or who don’t leave when asked could be guilty of trespassing.
For more information, contact the MCSD at 759-7323.