UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Have you ever tried to get a little kid to take a nap? It’s not always easy and just when you think they’re finally going to sleep, the doorbell rings.
“My youngest daughter just turned two, so she was a newborn and we’d have people knocking on our door all hours of the day and if you’ve ever tried to put a newborn down to take a nap, once the second you wake up, the naps done,” Nicole Loudin said.
In addition to just being an annoyance, others in University Heights say some of the folks that have knocked on their doors to sell something have been just too aggressive.
“We sometimes have strangers in the neighborhood and sometimes they’re knocking on the door or standing on the corner and I’d like to know who’s knocking on my door before I answer it,” Susan Restifo said.
That’s what prompted the city’s latest ordinance. After it is signed by the mayor, any person or business who wants to go door to door in University Heights will have to submit to a background check, get fingerprinted, photographed and get a permit from the city that they have to show at all times.
City councilman Justin Gould, one of the sponsors of the ordinance, says they were getting too many complaints from residents who were being constantly bothered by aggressive salespeople.
“Someone had showed up to their door, asked to see a utility bill and then they no longer had the energy provider, or some came and asked to see their security system and when they tried to close the door, when they were home alone with their child, they put their foot in the door, so these salesmen that come to the door they are really aggressive, really intimidating and our citizens didn’t feel safe,” Gould said.
Gould says by registering salesmen, they’ll also be able to cut down on scammers, especially those who try to get you to change energy plans.
The nonprofit Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, or NOPEC, has had a lot of problems with for profit companies impersonating them in door-to-door schemes.
NOPEC never goes door-to-door and one component of this University Heights ordinance will also give residents a chance to register with NOPEC’s Do Not Knock program, which will also help keep solicitors away.
“Residents can get their address on the ‘do not knock’ registry and when for-profit solicitors obtain a permit to canvas in that area, they’re given a list of addresses that they’re not allowed to go to,” NOPEC Community Outreach Director Caitlin Allbright said.
Gould says the ordinance does allow for political and issue canvassers to operate without a permit and so can nonprofits like churches and the Girl Scouts.
He says the ordinance will go into effect in over the next few days and the city promises a five day or less turnaround for legitimate businesses looking to go door-to-door.
If you are University Heights resident who would like to sign up for NOPEC’s Do Not Knock program, you can do so in a few days.
Find more information about the program here.