Since this week’s report of unsolicited salespeople once again visiting homes in Starke County, there has been some confusion as to who is and is not allowed to go door-to-door trying to peddle merchandise. According to officials at the Starke County Auditor’s Office, the county’s peddler’s permits are valid for six months and only two issued permits are currently valid. However, that does not mean the person visiting your home is breaking the law; there are several exemptions allowed in the ordinance.
The ordinance allows anyone who grows what they sell – such as flowers, fruits or vegetables – to try to sell their items without a permit, as well as anyone who crafts the item by hand, auctioneers that are licensed, residents of the county that offer the items for sale for no more than four days, anyone who is exempt from the Indiana gross retail tax, activities sponsored by organizations, trade shows or conventions, and anyone who holds a registered retail merchant certificate.
It is not known at this time whether the Kirby vacuum or air freshener salesmen are in possession of a retail merchant certificate, but officials say they have not filed for a peddler’s permit. Regardless, it would be reasonable for a homeowner to request to view the retail merchant certificate or peddler’s permit before agreeing to speak with a transient salesman.
Anyone peddling items without the necessary permit or certificate and is not exempt can face a Class B infraction. If you encounter unsolicited salespeople visiting your home, make sure their business logo is on a vehicle parked nearby or ask for credentials. Officers suggest you ask to see a peddler’s permit that allows them to sell the product they are pitching. If they do not have a permit, ask them to leave and call the Starke County Sheriff’s Department at (574) 772-3771. Be prepared to give a thorough description of the people in question.