Auxvasse police warn of door-to-door salesmen, company pushes back

5 months 3 weeks 57 minutes ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 7:15:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
By: Micaela Dea, KOMU 8 Reporter
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AUXVASSE - Police in Auxvasse posted a warning on Facebook Wednesday about unlicensed salesmen in the area, but the company they work for defended its business practice. 

The Auxvasse police department said it had no information about the business, and the men selling vacuum cleaners had not purchased a business license.

KOMU 8 talked to the Columbia business that employs the salesmen. One of the owners said he was unaware of the situation.

The independent dealer of Kirby vacuum models, CR Distributing, sells vacuums to mid-Missouri homes through salespeople. Auxvasse Chief of Police Kevin Suedmeyer said officers asked the salesmen if they had a business license and he said they did not want to renew their license.

"There's a means and way to approach this and they didn't want to abide by that. You know if you follow the rule of the law, society functions really well. If you don't, it doesn't," Suedmeyer said.

Suedmeyer said CR Distributing, the company they work for, have purchased a business license for the city in the past.

CR Distributing part-owner Dean Custer said he was never contacted by the Auxvasse police department regarding the renewal of the business's license.

"I would absolutely renew the license. The city sometimes makes it impossible and if other vendors come through they leave bad taste in people’s mouths so cities won’t want to renew sometimes," he said.

Suedmeyer said city business licenses cost around $25 dollars to renew and the background check takes several days to process. 

"They're not issued on the spot, and you know we look into the background and then we issue it," the police chief said.

Auxvasse resident Tia McDowell said she did not answer her door when the salesmen came to her street.

"I was actually going outside and I saw them at my neighbor's house and my neighbor answered the door," she said. "She looked uncomfortable and the guy was pushy and everything."

Tom Cashion who has lived in and around Auxvasse said he wants the businesses that stop by the city to be legitimate.

He said he has bought magazines and encyclopedias in the past from other vendors once he established the salespeople were legitimate through his own screening process.

"Always the first question I would ask them is to see their city business license, and most of the time that ended the conversation," he said. "I had a couple of them tell me, 'Well my boss has got it on the other side of town,' or something like that and I say, 'Well bring it by and we'll talk,' and very few of them showed back up."

Custer said despite following the rules, the city makes it harder to renew a license.

"We try to pursue the right to sell and they make it harder and make us wait three days and some make you pass all kinds of crazy tests and come back and they do it on purpose so they don’t have to deal with the phone calls with the people who are worried," he said.

McDowell said she rarely opens the door for any salesperson for her own safety because she is a single mother.

"I just feel uncomfortable with my daughter in the house all alone with me," she said. "We don't really have a support system there so you know having someone come up to our house and it's stranger you just never know you can't ever trust anybody really."

Suedmeyer said the purpose of the license is to ensure the safety of the community.

"When somebody walks up to the door, unfortunately these days, you don't know what their intent is. And not everybody is bad, I'm not implying that at all. But that's why we have the business license in place to just slow things down for a second so we can do a background check."

Cashion said the most important thing is to follow the law.

"I don't mind people going around selling things door-to-door as long as they're legitimate," he said. "They're trying to make a living like most of the rest of us out here and so I don't begrudge them that right to try and make a living but there are legal and proper ways to do that and they should go by whatever rules apply to them."

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