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Police Chief: Beware of peddlers

January 24, 2011

Local law enforcement is urging residents to remain vigilant when approached by door-to-door salespersons, as a vendor or peddler's license does not equal a thumbs up from city or police officials. Big Spring Police Chief Lonnie Smith said it's common to have requests for peddler's and itinerant vendor licenses during this time of the year, but just because a license has been issued doesn't mean that person or company should be trusted. “When someone comes in to get an itinerant vendor or peddler's license, we check for things like a criminal record,” Smith said. “However, just because someone shows you a license doesn't mean they are reputable or the company they are working for is reputable. It simply means they have passed the bare minimum criteria to get the license.” Smith said residents should beware of sales tactics, as well as products that may or may not be properly presented and described. “If they are using a high pressure-sales tactic, that's a definite sign you shouldn't do business with them,” Smith said. “If you ask for time to check them or their company out and they tell you the deal they are offering you is only available right then, without checking references, that's a really bad sign. A good business will want you to check out their reputation. “Also, if they are selling something you're not actively seeking, that's also a bad sign. If they show up at your door out of the blue selling a home alarm system, and you haven't been looking into getting one, you're best bet is to pass on whatever they are offering.” Smith said the police have had problems in the past with salesmen using high-pressure offers — most recently for a Utah company selling home security systems. “One of the things you can do to protect yourself is check their rating with the Better Business Bureau in their home state,” he said. “If they have an F Rating, then doing business with them is likely to be very risky.” For more information on licensed vendors and peddlers in the city limits, contact the Big Spring Police Department at 264-2550.

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