The city of Las Vegas plans to begin cracking down on people going door to door peddling their wares and services without a proper business license.
The vendors can be selling anything from magazines to flowers, and sometimes go door to door offering to replace a roof or do other jobs, City Attorney Dave Romero said.
Mayor Alfonso Ortiz has signed an executive order directing city police and other employees to enforce city law requiring that door-to-door salesmen be licensed, that they undergo a background check and that they post a bond. Applicants with prior criminal convictions will not be granted a license, the executive order states.
The required $1,000 bond would be available to compensate customers who may have been victimized.
Ortiz, who issued the executive order in February, said the city is trying to protect citizens from unscrupulous vendors.
“They’re hurting people that are elderly...” he said. “We want to make sure that we do everything legally possible to protect our citizens from any type of fraud or theft.”
The penalty for violating the ordinance is up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $300.
Romero said the law applies to anyone selling items door to door — including school children — but the city is particularly concerned about out-of-town vendors.
“We are concerned primarily about who those people are, and that’s why we’re asking for a background check,” Romero said. “We do not want to have individuals with criminal backgrounds approaching homes of the elderly, getting into those homes and potentially taking advantage of them.”
Romero said the other driving force behind the crackdown is a desire from the mayor and council to help local businesses, which have invested in the community by hiring employees, improving their properties, paying taxes and making donations. He said it’s not fair for transient vendors to siphon off business from local merchants.
“The executive order by the mayor is meant to increase the safety of the community and to recognize the investment that our local businesses have made, which is good business,” Romero said.
If a door-to-door salesman comes to your door, the city attorney said, residents should ask to see their credentials and city permits. If there’s any question about the vendor, residents should call Community Development at 454-1401, he added.
Romero said he doesn’t think the crackdown will hurt school fundraising efforts.
Typically, he said, students go to family members and others they know when they’re selling items for school or other activities.