Stricter door-to-door sales regulations enacted in Rockingham County

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- On most nights, Zane and Amanda Cardwell usually don't get many visitors at their home in Mayodan.

“Mainly just family drops by or neighbors and we just say, 'Come on in,'" Amanda said.

But, three weeks ago around 7 p.m., the couple got a knock on their door and as usual said, "Come in."

"After the guy came in, I didn't feel too safe," Zane said.

A man selling cleaning products stopped by their home to make a sale.

Another man was in the car outside waiting.

"I felt uneasy," Zane said.

The couple asked the salesman to leave which he did, but Zane says he still felt unsafe, mainly because he can barely move around.

He's had three strokes in the last two years, leaving the right side of his body paralyzed.

"I can't stand on my own,” Zane said. “I can't walk by myself."

Zane, a county commissioner, has gotten complaints from other residents who've gotten similar knocks at their doors.

"There were so many people in our area talking about someone going around selling paper towels," Amanda said.

On Monday, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to change its begging, soliciting and panhandling ordinance.

The ordinance now regulates door-to-door solicitation and requires anyone selling commercial services or products door-to-door to be registered with the county.

"It is uncomfortable when you see that strange vehicle pull up in your yard, you're not sure exactly what they're wanting to do," said County Manager Lance Metzler.

Except for nonprofits like Girl Scouts, door-to-door solicitors now have to fill out an application, get a background check and pay a $5 fee.

The salesman would then get a permit to present whenever making sales.

Solicitors who don’t have a permit will have to pay a $500 fine.

"The biggest job of a county commissioner is public safety," Zane said.

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