Police warn of tricky sales tactics

By Terri Harber September 08, 2011 03:07 pm

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Someone purporting to sell satellite and other TV products is doing so unlawfully, Baker City officials report.

The person in question doesn’t have a license allowing him to sell goods and services door to door — something required in the city, said Police Chief Wyn Lohner.

Part of the licensing process is for police to conduct a background check on the person, he said.

“This is how we can find out if the person has committed such acts as theft or sex crimes,” Lohner said. “We want to make sure people who go door to door in the city don’t have a violent past.”

One resident called police after having suspicious contact with a person who said he was selling satellite TV products.

A salesperson reportedly told a resident that the cable provider was shutting down its local services — something Mike Kee, Baker City manager, was surprised to hear. That is because the city is in the middle of negotiating a new long-term contract with Charter Communications for franchise fees.

The pitch likely is just a tactic to persuade people to spend money because the city hasn’t heard that information from Charter Communications, Kee said.  

The department found someone employed by a satellite company they claimed to represent, but the employee focuses on customer service follow-up work, Lohner said.

One person and possibly others, appear to be misrepresenting themselves as sales people, and are doing so without a city peddling license, however.

It’s a problem that arises several times a year, Lohner said. Traveling salespeople — sometimes in groups — make their way through the community selling various goods and services. Police make contact with the unlicensed person or group and either they get licensed or leave the area, he said.

“Usually they move on,” he said.

Lohner asked residents who have contact with door-to-door salespeople who act suspiciously, such as making outlandish claims or unnecessary requests for personal information, call the police nonemergency number, 541-523-3644, as soon as possible.

This would allow police to get a description of the person, his or her vehicle and provide officers a chance to locate the person or people in question.

The fine for door-to-door peddling without the proper city license is $500, Lohner added.