Champion residents upset over some door-to-door vendors

CHAMPION — Township trustees are looking at restricting transient vendors going door-to-door and will need to change a 1993 resolution which allows them to do so.

Police Chief Jeff White and Zoning Inspector Rhonda Fonce told trustees Monday they have received numerous calls from residents upset and sometimes confused by people coming to their doors, mostly on natural gas rates or other utilities and selling products and services.

Fonce said while guidelines in place since 1993 allow a person or group to obtain a permit from the zoning office to solicit, there are elderly residents who are upset with people coming to their home and ”the aggressive tactics” used by salespeople.

Trustee Chairman Rex Fee said trustees need to protect residents and will need to come up with a revised guidelines which define what a “transient vendor” is.

Trustees said there is a difference between a local Boy Scout selling something or a teenager going to door-to-door to see if someone needs the snow shoveled compared to an out-of-state vendor selling a product or offering a gas rate discount.

White said the complaints deal mostly with the gas reduction rates from people representing companies from Texas, North Carolina and Illinois.

“The calls we receive… some of them are intimidating and won’t leave residents alone. This has been a problem that we need to put an end to,” White said.

White said after several complaints in one area, they had to escort one person out of the township.

Fee said there are elderly residents and others who do not appreciate people being pushy when they come to their home.

He said trustees will review the matter for the March 5 meeting and noted they are not objecting to local nonprofit and tax-exempt groups going door-to-door such as Boy and Girl Scouts, school children or church groups who people know locally.

Fonce said in 2017 there were four permits issued for out-of-state vendors.

Trustee Brian Bugos said there are legitimate businesses that request permits for selling a product, material or service.

“We need to make sure this is properly written on what is to be restricted,” he said.

The matter was tabled for review to better define “transient vendor.”