This week, eight people were arrested in the Town of Colonie on charges of peddling without a permit for selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. Colonie Town Clerk Elizabeth DelTorto said the magazine sellers were warned about the permit issue before being arrested for continuing the operation.
Many times people are unaware of the town's local laws regarding peddling, DelTorto said, adding that the information is available on the Town of Colonie Web site at www.colonie.org.
According to the law, the legislative intent is to protect residents of the town. Those who wish to sell something door-to-door must obtain a peddling permit with the town, the cost of which is currently $250 for the first person with the company and $100 for every person thereafter.
The fee was raised from $100 for the first person to $250 in January after a unanimous vote by the Town Board. DelTorto said the fees had not been amended in quite some time and the town is able to judge whether a business is legitimate by the cost of the permit.
The fees had not been amended in a very long time, and it ensures that we're getting legitimate companies who have legit products to sell, she said.
One example of illegitimate peddling DelTorto gave was of a driveway paving company offering to do discount work because there are extra materials from a job just completed.
"It happens a lot with paving people, and they'll stop at someone's house and say, 'I was in your neighborhood, give me $500 and I'll do your driveway.' And that's illegal," she said. "I'm sure that they hit the residents who look the most vulnerable, and many times, they're overcharging, so that's what this is trying to prohibit."
Upon obtaining the permit, the company and individuals must present their name and a local address; their date of birth; proof of citizenship; a social security number; a description of the nature of the business and the goods to be sold; the expected dates that they will be selling their product and why it will take that amount of time; the names of the streets and areas in which they intend to sell; four passport-style photographs of the applicant; a list of all other municipalities in which the applicant has peddled in the last three years; a list of previous employment during the last three years " excluding peddling; the name and address of the organization they are peddling for; an itemized statement of the merchandise being peddled with a price list; a letter of authorization from the organization that supports the peddlers; the license number of any vehicle being used; a statement of whether or not the applicant has been convicted of a crime, misdemeanor or violation of any municipal or local law, including the nature of the offense and penalty; and the names and addresses of at least two property owners in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer or Saratoga counties who can serve as a reference to the business.