How to Deal with Doorknockers

Posted by , , at 11:28 am

Unfortunately, door-knocking (door-to-door solicitation) is a prevalent and problematic part of the home security industry. You may have even experienced it firsthand, a seller on your doorstep trying to push their home alarm system onto you with an offer that you can’t refuse. Sometimes they’re making a legit case, but too often they’re just trying to part you from your money through a deceitful scam.

The scamming in particular has become such a problem that an industry giant like ADT has had to step in. Last year, they began offering awards up to $25,000 for proof of a company training its sales teams to be deceitful. Essentially, home security doorknockers are not who you want to see on your doorstep.

Frontpoint doesn’t employ doorknockers, and we want to make sure you’re ready to handle them should you have to interact with any (in cordial fashion, of course). And with the warmer, prime door-knocking seasons upon us, there’s no better time to tell you how to notice and turn away these door-to-door sellers. Here are a few tips:

– Put up a “No Soliciting” sign. Send the message right away that you want to be left alone. Most salespeople will be turned away by the sign, but others may not see it or just choose to ignore completely. Keep in mind that while salespeople have a constitutional right to be in your neighborhood, they must obey your local laws and ordinances regarding solicitation.

– Do not invite a solicitor inside your home. In the event that you answer the door and are met by a seller, make sure to never invite them in. It’s much easier and safer to say no to someone on your doorstep than it is to get someone to leave once they’re inside.

– Ask what company is being represented. Feel free to call a company to confirm that they have a representative in the area, or if they even have representatives to begin with – some companies, like Frontpoint, do not employ doorknockers, so you’ll know if they’re lying right from the start.

– Ask for a permit. The majority of municipalities require door-to-door sales agents to have permits. Ask for a permit and a photo ID.

– Let them know you’re not interested. When all else fails, firmly tell them you’re not interested. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Edit 5/15/15: As some commenters mentioned below, you do want to make sure that you DO answer the door. Some doorknockers may be checking to see if anyone is home and may potentially target your house should no one answer.

Laws regulating door-to-door solicitation vary from state to state; you can find your state’s specific rules here.

Hopefully, you won’t have to have any face-to-face interactions with doorknockers, but in case you do, use these tips to avoid being scammed.

Comments (12)

Post a Comment | View Comments
  1. Thomas Marsh

    God Info. I guess I can’t totally rely on my doormat that says “Go Away”

  2. Richard

    I always set my alarm with no entry delay. I want it to alarm as soon as entry has occurred. If I am not home at the time, the police will be there in a couple of minutes. If I am home, that might be the last time that intruder ever enters a home unlawfully. It totally depends on the intruder.

  3. Jeralyn

    Wouldn’t an outdoor intercom work better than actually opening the door to a stranger? I have one.

    • Valerie Saponara

      Jeralyn, it sounds like you’re extra protected! Definitely talking to someone through the door or intercom is the safest method of communicating if a stranger were to knock on your door. Good thinking!

  4. Mike M.

    Also, have a Frontpoint indoor wireless camera set to view outside of front door. We just check the app and the live pic is right there.

  5. Gregory Arkadin

    Many times the “solicitors” are actually potential burglars trying to find out if someone is home. A safer approach than not answering the door is to answer verbally to let the person at the door know someone is home — but not unlock or open it. Just saying “Who is it” or “May I help you” could be enough to avoid home invasion by someone who thinks no one is home. Having a peephole in the door is also a good idea.

    • Susan

      Not going to the door is bad advice. Police have informed us that this is a ploy to find out if no one is home. Don’t open the door, and unless you have a glass door, you need not show yourself at all, but definitely let them know someone is home! Dogs are also a good deterrent, even the small happy ones, like mine!

  6. Lenny Rose

    Would you explain why a person, unknown to you, entering your property without an invitation, has “a constitutional right to be at your door”?

    • Gilbert Cho

      Hi Lenny, thanks for pointing that out! Complete oversight on my part. This is in fact untrue, and what I meant to say was that salespeople have a constitutional right to be in your neighborhood. If they’re at your door, they must be doing so under your local area’s laws and ordinances. I’ve updated the language to reflect this.

      Thanks again.

      • D. Meyer

        I think deed restricted communities can, and do, restrict these people from being in your neighborhood. The one I live in in Florida won’t let someone in unless they’re on the guest list or security gets approval from the homeowner they intend to visit over the phone. Maybe HOAs are good for something after all.

      • Lenny Rose

        Thanks for the clarification. I thought I missed something in my understanding of my rights as a homeowner.

        FYI, unknown, persistent door knockers and bell ringers are treated as potential home invasion candidates in my household and neighborhood. Prolonged annoyance, say 15 or20 seconds, “automatically” triggers a 911 call for police intervention. And the police welcome those calls; that’s part of their protection duty. My door stays closed unless I see at least two marked police cars in front of my house. And yes, I have a no solicitation/distribution notice posted, thanks to the concern of our city commission.

    • CATHY

      The police told us after a burglary to always say something when someone knocks at your door to let them know someone is home. If there is no answer, they go into the back yard & break in if the are indeed burglars and that most of the time, they will walk away from an occupied home.