Solicitors get the boot in new Metro ordinance - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Solicitors get the boot in new Metro ordinance

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A new Metro ordinance aims to reduce the number of salesmen knocking at your door. Leaflets and fliers will still be allowed, but the goal is to eliminate commercial solicitors.

The solicitors, or so-called "storm chasers," arrived to many Middle Tennessee communities last year after a series of hail storms pummeled the region.

"These folks were really, really aggressive. They just wouldn't take 'no' for an answer," said Metro Councilman Phil Claiborne.

Now, some could get hit with a fine for attempting to make a hard sale. A new ordinance went into affect Monday, which tightens the restrictions on solicitors in Nashville.

"In the past, if a company came in and they were wanting to go door-to-door solicitation, they would go to the police department. They would pay a fee, get a piece of paper and take it over to the clerk's office," Claiborne said.

Claiborne sponsored the law change, which now makes everything go through the clerk's office, in hopes it would streamline the process and promote accountability.

In addition to a permit, any solicitors who knock on your door will need a badge - and more importantly - a background check.

"Previously, background checks were done by the police, but it was only a local check," Claiborne said. "[Now], if somebody is coming to their door, they at least have been through a national background check. So you don't have somebody who has an outstanding warrant against them or someone who has committed a crime in another state."

Damon Potter, with Sparkman Roofing and Construction, says while his company has gone door-to-door, he believes the new ordinance is a good move.

"They want to make sure that companies are reputable," Potter said.

Under the new ordinance, homeowners can get on a "no-solicitation list" similar to the popular no-call list. Anyone who doesn't want to be solicited can register their address online with the clerk's office.

Metro hopes to have that service available by mid-April.

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