Peddlers beware: Amsterdam residents can block you

Five days into the new year, at least 20 city residents have already signed onto a new registry aski

Five days into the new year, at least 20 city residents have already signed onto a new registry asking people looking to sell them things not to stop by.

At a glance

People interested in getting their home on the new registry and canvassers looking to start selling can contact the city clerk’s office at 841-4313 or 841-4362.

The new “Do Not Solicit” list is one of several city code changes that took effect Jan. 1, aimed at cutting down the number of home sales visits that City Clerk Susan Alibozek said some people consider downright annoying.

Residents have been contacting Alibozek’s office wondering if people walking door-to-door trying to convert households to new electricity and gas suppliers were registered. From what she heard, Alibozek said two particular companies, which she declined to name, have been working with a “don’t take no for an answer” philosophy, rankling some senior citizens.

“We did have a lot of calls,” she said.

New provisions were added to the city code related to peddling and soliciting, an ordinance last changed in 1954 that still uses the terms “huckster” and “hawker” to identify peddlers looking to sell anything out of a “wagon, automobile vehicle, railroad car or other vehicle or conveyance.” Last year, the fees raised $840 for the city.

New teeth in the law seem likely to dissuade a lot of hucksters. They include increased fees, a thorough background check with fingerprints, the need for an identification card and adherence to the city’s new Do Not Solicit list that will provide the addresses, but not the names, of those looking to be left alone.

Those looking to sell hot dogs on the street will have to pay an annual fee of $100 for a year, an increase of $25, or $90 for a six-month peddler’s license, an increase of $15. This is in addition to a $10 filing fee, an increase of $5.

The law exempts farmers who are selling produce, fruit and milk.

Those getting a peddler’s license will also have to file a $5,000 bond — compared with $1,000 before the changes.

Solicitors, also called canvassers, will now have to fill out a detailed application that includes character references from three reliable Amsterdam property owners.

They’ll also have to provide the city with a statement from a reputable Amsterdam physician certifying they are “free of contagious infections or communicable disease.”

After paying a $10 fee, successful applicants will have to pay $250 annually per company and add another $25 for any additional employees planning to solicit, with a maximum of six such employees working at one time.

None of the work can be done within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school within a half-hour of the start or end of the school day, and all the selling has to take place between 10 a.m. and dusk.

Hawkers and solicitors will be given a copy of all the addresses on the “Do Not Solicit” list so they can avoid those homes.

Violators of the law will be subjected to as many as 90 days in jail and a fine of as much as $5,000.

Residents who sign up for the registry will get a small, fluorescent pink card to place on their doors, if they want one.

Categories: Schenectady County

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