Direct Selling Companies Against Peddler License Plan

If Phoenix slaps licensing requirements on door-to-door peddlers, the move could hurt thousands of self-employed workers who sell products from Avon, Tupperware and similar companies.

That’s the view of New York-based Avon Products Inc. and the Washington D.C.- based Direct Selling Association, a trade group that says it represents Mary Kay Inc., Tupperware Inc. and similar large companies that rely on independent contracts who sell door to door.

National representatives from the organizations were in Phoenix this week to voice opposition to possible regulation by the city.

“Many people in direct sales earn less than $200 a month and spend less than 5 hours working per week,” said Amy Robinson, vice president for communications for the direct selling trade group.

“Even a $50 registration requirement could be very detrimental to someone only making $50 a month.”

On Wednesday she and the Avon representatives were joined by the president-elect of the Phoenix Association of Realtors and staff from the local Better Business Bureau, at a meeting of the Phoenix City Council’s solicitation ordinance working group.

The group, comprised of representatives from each of Phoenix’s City Council districts as well as City Council members Claude Mattox and Tom Simplot, has met since May to discuss ways to curb what police and some residents view as threatening behavior by door to door solicitors.

One idea is to conduct background checks and issue city licenses to peddlers. Most other large Valley cities have laws requiring that peddlers to undergo background checks and obtain licenses, although the ordinances typically are only enforced if there are complaints.

Robinson, however, told the group that licensing requirements would likely be ignored by “the bad actors” and harm Phoenix residents running legitimate small businesses.

Photo by Labor 2008

Featured Opportunities

Related Stories