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Door-to-door solicitation irks resident

Written by admin on June 16th, 2010

By Josh Mitchell/Informer Publisher

Corey Pittman of Marion County was enjoying a nice relaxing Sunday morning this week when he heard a knock on his door.

Wondering who would be coming to his house at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday, Pittman went to see who it was. When he opened the door he saw a man get into a van and drive away and noticed that a business card advertising a car washing service had been left behind.

At that point Pittman’s relaxing morning had ended, as he was upset that someone soliciting a business would interrupt the peacefulness of his home, especially on a Sunday, a time he designates for family. “It irks me,” said Pittman. “I believe anyone would feel the same way.”

Pittman wondered if there were any laws prohibiting such door-to-door solicitation, so he called local law enforcement and spoke with a dispatcher who told him as long as the person was not threatening him it was OK. Pittman said some communities require permits to go door-to-door and have designated hours for the practice.

Pittman resides outside the city limits in Marion County, which has no law regarding door-to-door solicitation, said County Attorney Joe Shepard. Shepard, who has been the county attorney for 28 years, said it is not uncommon for people with yard and landscaping services as well as politicians, Bible salesmen and Girl Scouts to go door to door. The city of Columbia has an ordinance that prohibits the distributing, posting or displaying of advertising material in the city limits. 

County Supervisor Raymon Rowell said if there is no such law in the county, there should be, saying, “I don’t want someone bothering me on Sunday morning.” Rowell said if someone soliciting a business came to his house on Sunday, “I would be one customer they would not have.”

The business card that was left on Pittman’s doorstep advertised a business called Newell’s Detailing, which provides services for vehicles, boats, trailers, and RVs. The card also had a phone number on it, which the Marion County Informer called and spoke with the owner, Robert Newell.

Newell said he was sorry if he bothered Pittman by coming by on a Sunday morning, adding, “I didn’t know it was a big deal.” Newell said he had just finished a detailing job at Pittman’s neighbor’s house and decided to leave a couple of cards at other houses in the Lakeview subdivision. Newell of Sumrall said he only knocked on two doors.

Pittman said it would not have been as bad if Newell would have knocked on his door during a weekday during regular hours, but to do so on Sunday morning was inappropriate. Pittman said he would prefer if door-to-door salesmen never came to his house, comparing them to telemarketers, which are regulated by the state’s no-call list. Pittman understands that the economy is bad and people are trying to make a living but said there should be some regulations in place for door-to-door solicitors in Marion County.

“I have nothing against someone trying to promote a business,” said Pittman.


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