What to know when solicitors come knocking - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

What to know when solicitors come knocking


As the weather is nicer and days are longer, more people report seeing solicitors in their neighborhoods. While it can often be a productive way of doing business, neighbors wonder if the person has a right to be knocking on their doors.

An unwelcomed knock on the door can often leave people feeling uneasy, especially if you question the legitimacy of that person's visit.

To prevent fraud, the Chesterfield Police Department wants to educate the public on what to do and what to ask if someone appears at your doorstep.

In Chesterfield County, solicitors must obtain a permit which is given to them by the Chief of Police. They are not only required to carry that permit with them, but they are also required to show it to any homeowner or occupant who asks to see it.

If they cannot provide a permit, you can call the Chesterfield Police non-emergency line at 804-748-1251.

A permit costs $57 and covers the cost of investigating the applicant, including a background check. Yellow permits are temporary, lasting 30 days. Red permits last for one full year.

Even with a permit, solicitors cannot come onto your property if there is a "No Soliciting" sign or if you ask them to leave. Nor can they distribute or sell literary materials to a pedestrian or driver.

They can also not engage in solicitation at any time prior to 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. of any day.

There are, however, certain individuals or groups exempt from needing a permit. This includes members of any nonprofit religious, civic, or charitable organization who are able to show identification provided by such organization.

Someone selling newspaper subscriptions or fresh farm products, as well as children 12 and under do not need permits.

In addition, a person can canvass an area on behalf of a political candidate without obtaining a permit.

The full list of what solicitors can do, and who is exempt from a permit can be found here.

A list of people who have received permits can be found here.

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