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How to Get Rid of Unwanted Solicitors

Know your rights, and protect yourself against unwanted solicitors who try to contact you through various methods.

If you live in an apartment complex, you’re likely a constant target for solicitors. Whether businesses are leaving Chinese restaurant menus on your door, calling your cell phone or outright trying to meet you in your apartment, unwanted advertising is annoying and in some cases, it’s illegal. Know your rights, and protect yourself against unwanted solicitors who try to contact you through the various methods below.

By Phone

If telemarketers are calling constantly, register your home and mobile number on the National Do Not Call Registry, and your numbers remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007. After you place your number on the registry, most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at www.donotcall.gov. Telephone surveyors are not covered. Calls from companies you’ve established a business relationship with are also not covered. If you’re receiving calls from a company you’ve purchased from before, the company may call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase from or payment to it, unless you ask the company not to call again. If they subsequently call you again, they may be subject to a fine of up to $16,000.

In Person

Simply not answering the door may temporarily ward off door-to-door solicitors, but they’ll probably just return another day. Make sure they get the message by posting a “No Soliciting” sign on your door. You don’t have to buy one; make your own and even include a memorable graphic, such as a pair of evil eyes or one thumb down. If solicitors are still knocking on your door and you can see them through your peephole, tell them through the door to refer to the sign.

On Your Door

In a bad economy, paper and tape create one of the cheapest forms of advertising – flyers that businesses post on your San Jose apartment door. Few things are more annoying than opening your apartment door from the inside to a barrage of restaurant takeout menus falling across your threshold. To fight back, post a “No Solicitors” sign on your door and tell your management if you’re seeing the same flyers over and over again.  Be careful not to let the flyers pile up on your door as you are telling potential criminals that you’re not home. An apartment complex is private property, and management can help control who can and cannot enter it. However, it may be difficult for your apartment management to see every person who drives through the gate, so you might want to propose heightened security for you and your neighbors.

In Your Mailbox

It is illegal for someone to place something in or on the outside of your mailbox, since no one has paid postage for that piece of “mail” and thereby cheated the U.S. Post Office out of the funds it would have collected for delivering it. If someone has slipped anything in or taped something to your mailbox, collect the item, write a brief description of the incident and send it to your Postal Inspector, or file a complaint online with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Sometimes the Post Office collects all flyers or magnets in the neighborhood and bills the perpetrator for the postage, and sometimes it charges the perpetrator a fine, either per item or collectively.

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