Consumer Alert: You can report annoying solicitors
Last updated 7/21/2021 at 10:28am
By G. Connor Salter
Recently, various Fountain Valley residents have complained about salespeople persistently approaching their homes. Several Security-Widefield residents reported on NextDoor that they had salesmen coming to their homes at night and returning after being asked to leave.
"We were totally creeped out by this guy," one woman said.
One Fountain resident reported that a security system salesman approached him and asked for information about recent car break-ins in his neighborhood. Over the next few days, the salesman solicited several homes in that same neighborhood, ignoring "no soliciting" signs.
"Several of my neighbors have 'no soliciting' signs, and that was apparently a non-factor," the resident said. "One of them said that when they made mention of the 'no soliciting' sign, his response was, 'Oh, I'm not soliciting, I'm not selling anything. I'm just informing.'"
The salesman also reportedly knocked on someone's door after 8 p.m. and approached some homes multiple times.
"One girl, I think she told me that the same guy knocked on her door 11 times in a five-day period," the resident reported. "All of my neighbors had had enough, and that's when we contacted law enforcement."
The Fountain Police Department gave the salesman a warning that he would be cited with trespassing if he continued.
What many Fountain residents may not know is that city codes mandate what solicitors are allowed to do. Section 9.64.010 covers when soliciting is allowed: "No door-to-door solicitation for the purpose of selling goods, wares, merchandise or services or anything of value for present or future delivery or performance, shall be permitted within the city before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m." This code also states that soliciting cannot happen at all on Sundays or holidays.
Section 9.08.100 gets into the question of aggressive soliciting, which includes threatening behavior or "intentionally touching or causing physical contact with another person without that person's consent in the course of soliciting." This code states, "No person shall engage in aggressive solicitation on private or residential property after having been asked to leave or refrain from solicitation by the owner or other person lawfully in possession of the property. Displaying a 'No Soliciting' sign constitutes a request to refrain from soliciting."
Solicitors returning to private property after being warned off qualifies as trespassing (forbidden under Section 9.24.020). Fountain residents can report these violations to the Fountain Police Department by calling (719) 382-8555.
Security-Widefield residents are in a more difficult situation. Since these are unincorporated areas, El Paso County codes apply. Mindy Madden, supervisor for El Paso County Code Enforcement, said the El Paso County Land Development Code does not regulate solicitors.
However, there are El Paso County criminal codes against trespassing, handled by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. Jacqueline Reed, public information officer for the sheriff's office, explained that people who return to private property after homeowners ask them to leave can be charged with trespassing.
"Trespassing occurs if there is a 'no trespassing' sign or the homeowner has asked the person to leave," Reed explained.
To report trespassing, contact the El Paso County Sheriff's office at 719-520-7100 (after office hours, call 719-390-5555).
To report ordinance violations to El Paso County Code Enforcement, go to planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com/el-paso-county-code-enforcement.
To read Fountain's municipal code, go to library.municode.com/co/fountain/codes/code_of_ordinances.
To read El Paso County's ordinances, go to clerkandrecorder.elpasoco.com/clerk-to-the-board/el-paso-county-ordinances.