Cumberland council won’t pursue law on door-to-door sales

Cumberland council won’t pursue law on door-to-door sales

CUMBERLAND – The Town Council will not pursue approval of the door-to-door sales ordinance members have been discussing for the past several months.

At a July 17 meeting, the council sent the matter of whether such an ordinance should be drafted to its ordinance subcommittee for debate. That was done at the request of Council President Peter Bradley based on an email request and the fact that it’s been a “constant complaint.” Other council members also said they’ve received plenty of complaints about unsolicited sales pitches at residents’ front doors, particularly from salespeople representing solar companies.

Ordinance Committee Chairman Scott Schmitt said at the Nov. 6 meeting that research by members found that no ordinance can prohibit religious organizations or politicians from coming knocking. The only thing such a law can do is stop the actual solicitation of a product or a good, he said, and certain companies have found a way around that.

In the case of solar companies, said Schmitt, representatives come knocking and immediately say they’re not there to sell anything but to give information and set up an appointment, a move that skirts any ordinance.

The town could move to limit actual door-to-door sales, he said, but that’s a “two-edged sword,” as it could have the unintended consequence of hurting groups such as the Girl Scouts.

Also an issue, said Schmitt, is the lack of enforceability and resources available to the Police Department in enforcing such a local law. The department doesn’t have the ability to manufacture any sort of credential or ID to approve, he said.

Though the ordinance subcommittee is not recommending moving forward with such an ordinance, nothing is stopping any individual council member from pursuing such a law on their own, putting up a draft ordinance for a vote.

Council members back in July expressed surprise that there was nothing on the books governing how door-to-door sales are to be conducted in Cumberland. Councilor Bob Shaw said at the time that he often sees suggestions that vendors notify police before making their rounds, but was surprised to see that there was no official rule on it, even a vague one.


Doing nothing will surely solve the problem. Come on!