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What to know when a salesperson knocks on your door in Ferndale & Whatcom County

When the warmer weather arrives, so do door-to-door salespeople.

Per Chapter 5.20 of the Ferndale Municipal Code and Chapter 5.52 of the Whatcom County Code, door-to-door solicitors must be licensed before they can legally knock on any door within the city limits or in the county. To be licensed, an application must be completed and turned in to either or both agencies along with the applicable fees. Fees range from $10 to $31 in the city and $40 in the county. A background check and fingerprinting is also required. Cost for these services is $50 in the city and $20 in the county.

Individual licenses are issued once a successful background check has been completed. This is intended to increase the safety of the community. Licenses are not issued to companies. They are issued to each individual knocking on doors.

When a licensed peddler or solicitor comes to your door, their city-issued license must be visible outside their clothing in the city or immediately provide their county-issued license upon request in the county.

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It can be confusing when people knock on your door for religious soliciting, political activists handing out information and non-profit sales such as school fundraisers. These purposes are exempt from the licensing requirement.

As for a peddler’s products’ quality or their willingness to follow through on promises made, those are “buyer beware” concerns. Researching the company on the Better Business Bureau website or other user review sites before committing to doing business may provide some idea of what others have encountered.

If an unlicensed peddler or solicitor is in your neighborhood, law enforcement agencies ask you notify them by calling 911.

The penalty for soliciting without a license is $250 per day in the city and $100 plus up to 60 days in jail in the county.

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