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Go AWAY... Please? Dealing with Door-to-Door Annoyances

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By : Ted Guarnero    99 or more times read
When you move into a new house, in a new neighborhood, you probably will be annoyed from time-to-time by people coming to your door, soliciting employment, magazine sales, Girl Guide cookies, religion, chocolates for the local swim team... you name it and they will try to sell it to you. Unfortunately, you cannot set steel traps for these people, in hopes of catching them and releasing them into the wild (and honestly, sometimes you want tasty Girl Guide cookies to be brought to your door) , but what can you do to discourage the people you don't want? Read on for helpful hints!

Shut off the Open Sesame: A knock or a ring does not mean that someone has the right to be answered at the door, especially if its a stranger and you're alone. As nasty as it is, there have been people posing as salespeople in order to gain access to the home and home owner. If you are afraid that it's a burglar casing the joint, be obvious about your presence in the house or have a recording of a barking dog to play. But you don't have to open the door or engage the caller in any way if you don't feel okay with it. If someone claims to be having car trouble, you can always offer to call the police - from behind the locked door.

Signs: Putting a sign up that says "No Solicitation" is a good start, but then you always have the people who don't think that it applies to them - "I'm not soliciting, I'm doing the Lord's work!" Therefore, you may have to be more explicit. "No Soliciting, No Religious" is better. For those who are devout members of a particular faith, perhaps a sign indicating this may be helpful (proud member of X Organization). However, it may also attract those who hold an opposing viewpoint who think it's now their mission to save your soul from the clutches of Religion (or lackthereof) X. So, on to the next tactic.

Polite refusal: Most people are reasonable animals and someone who is trying to convey that they are not interested will be listened to. A, "Sorry, I'm not interested in your vacuum cleaners/moldy chocolate/Pastafarianism" can be all the hint they need that you aren't interested and nothing they say will cause this to change. Start by being nice; if you're new to the neighborhood, you don't know if you'll be meeting these people at your next block party, so it pays to start with kindness.

Firm refusal: Some people just don't take No for an answer. Still, it speaks better for you if you don't sink to their level of rudeness. In situations like these, it's perfectly okay to reiterate your refusal and firmly shut and lock the door. You've tried to be nice, now they deserve having your door shut in their face. In some cases this is what it takes to get people to go away and not come back.

Now we're getting to the hard-core solicitation - the people who keep coming back, despite repeated refusals of money, time or immortal soul:

Speaking to their superior: If these people are representing a particular belief, product or service from a company, they may not be acting in the way their superiors would wish them to act. Writing a letter can be very effective and a copy can be kept for one's records in case things get really problematic. Be polite in the letter and express the sentiment that repeated harassment does not encourage you to buy, believe or recommend whatever is being sold.

Shock tactics: Some people have had remarkable success with answering the door with or without clothing that is designed to shock or offend the beholder. Others have large, angry dogs that they bring to greet the salespeople. Some try to use their stature to project an air of silent menace. Some people like to celebrate Halloween early and come to the door covered in fake blood and carrying a butcher knife. In the case of religion, some try to argue the belief system or claim to be of a belief system that is completely antithetical to the solicitor's. All of these tactics can be effective, but should be used with caution, as reactions could range from boredom to a hysterical call to the police, which may then turn the tables on the joker.

Empty threats: The use of physical violence or malevolent setups intended to injure people is not recommended or advocated at all by the author. Too often, this kind of thing will result in injury, death or at the very least, a nasty situation involving the police, legal action and the possibility of the homeowner being found at fault. Therefore, we are assuming that any threats of illegal action or borderline illegal action are empty threats, which are also not recommended, as they can be brought into a court of law against the homeowner.

Legal action: It makes sense to know the laws governing your property anyway, just as a safeguard. If the door-to-door people are just lining up on your front porch and you can't take it anymore, you might consider legal action. Consult a lawyer before you do anything and see what your rights are. Many solicitors are exempt from trespassing laws if they only come up to your front door. However, if you can make a case before a court of law for harassment (repeated visits, refusal to leave property, verbal abuse), you might be able to legally block people from coming onto your property or, in some cases, within a certain distance of you. Use this only as a last resort; unless you have very clear proof, the courts are not usually inclined to make a big deal about people ringing your doorbell.

These are only a few hints on how to deal with door-to-door solicitors. Above all, stay safe, stay legal and stay polite. In most cases, these people will leave you alone when it is clear that you're not interested.
Illustrated Properties is a Jupiter real estate company with professional, effective services to help you succeed in the local market. Visit for information on local neighborhoods like Singer Island real estate, and to see listings of homes for sale.

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