LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Lebanon Police Department is warning residents of illegal soliciting within the city.
They are urging homeowners to double-check any notices before taking action or paying money.
Police put a warning on their Facebook page Wednesday after several residents called in to report bright green notices on their front doors.
They read “Water testing”, telling residents to put a water sample in the bag and place it back on the door by 9 a.m. the next day. They look exactly like the city’s notices, but they’re not.
“I don’t want to say that there’s deception involved but it was very creative marketing,” said Sgt. P.J. Hardy with Lebanon Police. “It was a private company that was selling water purification systems.”
When you call the number listed, the business says they treat water, but an operator told News 2 she didn’t know about any charge for testing.
Lebanon Police say regardless, they’re not allowed to be soliciting because they didn’t obtain a permit.
Under city code, businesses must pay $50 for a five-day permit and follow guidelines.
“There’s times that you’re allowed to solicit, I believe it’s from 8 to 8,” Hardy said, “On the permit, it will show the companies name who the representative is and the time frame in which the permit is valid.”
Soliciting without a permit constitutes a fine for every violation and can even escalate to trespassing charges.
Religious organizations, charities, and girl scouts are exempt.
Hardy said the regulation isn’t to stop businesses from making sales, but instead to protect citizens from ill intent.
Police say if someone knocks ask to see a permit and if they can’t prove they’re legally soliciting, then close the door and call the non-emergency line.
If you live in a neighborhood with a no-soliciting clause, any soliciting is illegal.