McCordsville board addresses peddling concerns

MCCORDSVILLE — Door-to-door salespeople in McCordsville now wear bright-colored badges as a way of identifying themselves to homeowners.

And residents who don’t want strangers knocking on their doors can now get a free “no soliciting” decal to place on a front window of their home.

Officials in McCordsville say they recently fielded a handful of questions and complaints from residents frustrated by peddlers combing their neighborhoods selling various goods and services.

Though they can’t bar salespeople from knocking on local doors, officials say the feedback they got from residents inspired them to put policies in place to better ensure folks are cooperating with the town’s peddlers’ ordinance.

The law has been on the books for years and requires all peddlers — defined as any vendor who travels from house to house or place to place — to register at town hall before stepping out into the community, town manager Tonya Galbraith said.

All peddlers must apply for and receive a permit from the town before they can sell, Galbraith said. It’s a fairly simple process that requires each applicant to disclose their names and certain information about the company they work for what they are selling. They must also pass a criminal background check, she said.

All peddlers who are approved are then allowed to sell their goods around town, and they must carry their peddler’s permits in their pocket, Galbraith said.

But now, in hopes of making town-approved peddlers more easily identifiable, the town is issuing them green badges to wear around their necks. Galbraith hopes the badges will limit confusion and give residents some peace of mind whenever they answer a knock on the door.

Seeing the green badge, which carries the town logo, should let residents know they are speaking to someone town leaders consider safe, she said.

The peddler’s ordinance does not apply to political or religious groups, according to town bylaws. There are also exemptions given to children’s groups, like the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, that might be selling or fundraising door-to-door, documents show.

Peddler’s without permits or badges should be reported to local police, officials advice.

And residents who don’t want to deal with peddlers can post signs on their private property asking them to stay away.

Now, anyone from McCordsville can come to town hall to request an official no soliciting sticker, free of charge, and place it outside their home.

The decals carry the McCordsville Police Department logo and warn that law enforcement will be contacted if the owners’ request to not be disturbed is violated.

Each peddler’s badge also carries an image of the town’s official “no soliciting” decal, Galbraith said. Before they take to the street each salesperson will be warned they should not knock at a home where the image is posted, she said.

Resident Cindy White said she appreciates the town offering ways for citizens to protect themselves and their property. She’s had issues with peddlers in the past, including one incident when a couple selling cleaning supplies poured a bottle of cleaning spray on her porch to demonstrate the product without asking permission, she said.

Now, she’s wary of answering the door when she doesn’t recognize the person knocking because she’s afraid someone might try to take advantage of her willingness to chat, she said.

White said she plans to get one of the town’s “no soliciting” decals.

In the meantime, she’ll watch more closely for a peddler’s badge to make sure they’ve been checked by the town. Even with the badge, she might not answer the door, she said.

Decals now available

McCordsville residents can pick up a free “no soliciting” decal at town hall, 6280 W. County Road 800N, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Limit one per household.

To report salespeople going door to door without a peddler’s permit and badge, call 317-477-1144.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.