Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Local Door to Door Sales Laws

Two things got me thinking about the topic of today's post: 1) my daughter's Girl Scout cookie sales; and 2) a frightening encounter my mother-in-law recently experienced at her Laurelwood home.  Below, I've outlined the laws concerning door-to-door sales for the three jurisdictions around the Reservoir area.

Unincorporated Areas of Rankin County

Here is a link to the Transient Business Sales Ordinance for Rankin County.  These apply only to unincorporated parts of the County.  As you can see, any door to door salesmen will need to front substantial cash in order to obtain the privilege of selling.  In other words, if the salesman is going to advance a $500 application fee, obtain a $5,000.00 cash bond, and interview with the Sheriff, he's going to be legitimate (and likely sell something more substantial than magazines).

The only exemptions to the ordinance are for: 1) generally accepted religious organizations espousing information (rather than selling goods); 2) civic clubs; and 3) students currently enrolled in secondary school (including home school) or colleges accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education (note: not out-of-state schools).

Other highlights to the Rankin County Ordinance good to know include:

     -   The vendor must "immediately" leave the property if requested by the property owner (no exceptions).
     -   Sales can only be conducted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday (no Sunday sales).
     -   There is a physical license involved (you can request to see) that is good for only 90 days from date of issuance.
     -   Penalties for violations are misdemeanor level, i.e., maximum $500 fine and 6 months in County jail (along with forfeiture of the cash bond).

City of Flowood

I could not find any ordinance online for the City of Flowood expressly dealing with door-to-door salesmen, though I'm sure something exists (I have inquired with the City and will post any updates I receive).  I did find Ordinance #008-96 concerning, in a general sense, the sale of goods within city limits.  That ordinance requires anyone selling anything in the City to obtain a business license and further, to maintain an "operational bathroom".  The only stated exemptions are yard sales and non-profits.  If this is all the City has, then unless your door to door salesman has a Hotty-Toddy Potty strapped to his back, I believe he's in violation of the law.  Of course, the ordinance is vague and overreaching, but I'm not going to tell Mayor Rhoads that.  

Pearl River Valley Water Supply District

The PRVWSD has a curious but rather unambiguous ordinance regarding "solicitors and peddlers."  Here is a link to all the Ordinances.  Specifically, Rule 4.4 of the PRVWSD Regulations makes it unlawful to use any public street if you are going door to door selling anything without first obtaining the District's "permission".  Interestingly, door to door sales are not explicitly prevented; rather, simply the use of the streets in order to conduct these sales is deemed unlawful.  I find no exemptions for Girl Scouts, students, or religious organizations.  Accordingly, if you purchase a box of Thin Mints from the girl down the street, you are aiding and abetting a notorious misdemeanant.  

Technically, the Reservoir is an unincorporated area of Rankin County, so it is plausible the ordinance described above applies to PRVWSD property as well.  I will have to look into the interplay between the PRVWSD and Rankin County jurisdiction in the future.  

4 comments:

KaptKangaroo said...

Geesh. I'd rather have cookies sold tom me at my door instead of the entrance to Kroger.

I say sell the cookies! I promise not to say no!

Anonymous said...

........" Of course, the ordinance is vague and overreaching, but I'm not going to tell Mayor Rhoads that.".....

I think you just did!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree Kaptn' Roo,

I love the Girl Scouts & will probably again buy around 200 boxes of thin mints during this 2013 cookie season.

However, Kroger needs to reevaluate their policy of allowing the charity/cause/group "du jour" from setting up at the front door EVERY Saturday.

Troy Odom said...

Anonymous 7:50 p.m., 200 boxes! I'm sending Caroline right over (after she leaves Kap'n's house).