Don't be scammed by address painters

DOWNEY - In response to a growing number of complaints regarding curbside street address painters, Downey officials this week clarified city policy and offered tips to avoid being victimized by unpermitted solicitors.Every other year, Downey issues permits and licenses to a charity-related organization to paint residential address numbers on curbs. The permit requires the organization to paint address numbers on all curb faces, regardless of whether or not they receive a donation. The organization, however, is allowed to visit a home twice to request a donation. Earlier this month, the city granted an address-painting permit to Neighborhood Curb Painting Services (NCPS), which works in support of Compassion Ministries. After painting the house number, the organization may request a donation from the resident. If the resident makes a donation, they will receive a receipt including the charity's federal ID number for tax purposes. If no one is home during the second visit, NCPS may leave a note encouraging a donation by mail. Any house numbering mistakes made by NCPS should be reported to them directly by calling (562) 716-1585. The city received more than 100 complaints last year regarding unpermitted curb painters, and nearly that many have already been received this year. Painters who lack permits can oftentimes be rude, aggressive and sloppy in their work, city officials said. If a solicitor for curb painting comes to your door and cannot show a copy of city permits, or their notice does not include contact information, they are probably unpermitted and should be reported to Code Enforcement. Code Enforcement can be reached by calling (562) 904-2392, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Outside of these hours, solicitors should be reported by calling the Downey Police Department at (562) 861-0771. Threatening solicitors should be reported by calling 911. Errors made by unpermitted painters can be reported to the city's Engineering Division at (562) 904-7110. The correction request will be forwarded to NCPS which, for a donation, will make the correction and provide a charitable tax receipt. In recent years, NCPS has assisted several hundred residents in correcting the numbering mistakes of others, earning the opportunity to receive this year's permit.

********** Published: May 14, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 4