How to enforce your “No Soliciting” sign

| March 22, 2017

Most business owners would agree that unwanted solicitation can create daily stress — and may even negatively impact employee morale and customer satisfaction. Many businesses address would-be solicitors with a clear “No Soliciting” sign posted in clear view outside the store. But when a simple sign doesn’t work, what steps can a business take to ensure it the problem is fixed without waste time, employee energy, or resources?

Make sure your “No Soliciting” sign is posted clearly

First of all, make sure your existing “No Soliciting” sign is in proper working order. That means that the sign is clearly worded. A simple directive works best — the intent of a sign reading “No Solicitors” is direct and unmistakable. While some business owners may feel that the wording is too direct, or even rude, as the Houston Chronicle reports, such a sign is commonplace enough that very few are offended by it. Confirm that the sign is in good condition and not too dated (if a sign looks outdated, would-be solicitors may assume that it is no longer valid).

Additionally, check that your “No Solicitors” sign is posted in a visible location, where it cannot be mistaken for another business’s sign. It’s your responsibility to help would-be solicitors and salespeople have a clear view of your signs prior to entry. After all, they cannot be blamed for not following a rule they didn’t see! Hang your sign near your business’s entrance, at eye-level, and double-check with a few friends or passersby that they noticed the sign prior to entering your store.

no soliciting

This worn out sign looks almost as out of date as the painted-over sign above it. From Eric Fisher.

If your sign is ignored, speak to solicitors directly

If, after ascertaining that your sign is as clear as it can be, and solicitors and salespeople continue to knock on your door, there are several steps you can take to prevent future solicitations. Speak with the solicitors and politely explain that you do not take walk-in business, but — only if your business does so — would be happy to schedule an appointment. If you are not interested, explain your store’s no-solicitation policy. If after multiple conversations, the solicitations don’t stop, consider calling the walk-in salesperson’s company to request a stop to the visits. Read up on relevant regulations in your state to understand the legal recourse you have for solicitors who are aggressive and/or potentially breaking the law.

Homeowners and apartment dwellers dealing with solicitations such as restaurant and other businesses’ fliers can also call the companies or businesses directly. Apartment complexes often have rules, whether posted or unspoken, about solicitations and flyer distribution. Consult your building manager or superintendent if you’ve been getting mailboxes full of fliers, your lobby has been papered with restaurant menus, or if you’ve noticed any other on-site solicitations or salespeople — he or she can help post a clear “No Solicitations” sign, or complain to the solicitors directly.

There are a host of legal issues related to solicitations. Though anyone can distribute fliers, laws regulating door to door soliciting vary by state. (The Federal Trade Commission protects consumers with a three-day “cooling off period” where any sales over $25 made in-home by a door-to-door solicitor can be cancelled.) Those operating door-to-door solicitation businesses have to register their business, obtain certain permits, and abide by a variety of rules (for example, hiring minors for door-to-door sales is restricted in certain states). Contact your area’s Better Business Bureau to research companies and report any scams.

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Category: Office Hazards

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