The manager of a crew of door-to-door salesmen from Georgia was arrested Monday in Polk County.
Timothy Burgess, 48, was booked into the Polk County Jail on charges of conducting home solicitation without a license.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, deputies began receiving complaints about Burgess and his crew of salesmen in late December. Lakeland residents told deputies the salesmen were aggressive and rude. Some residents said the solicitors, who were selling a product called "Advantage Wonder Cleaner," would walk into open garages, look inside homes while standing at the front door and walk around houses when no one answered.
Investigators said they learned that more than 110 solicitors were staying at a north Lakeland motel near I-4 and U.S. 98 and that they were expected to stay in the area for several weeks.
When investigators contacted Burgess, he told them that he was the owner of T&B Sales, Inc., that he managed the employees and that he had just extended their stay.
However, deputies said that Burgess could not provide a valid solicitation permit from Polk County, and that he told them he was just "taking orders" for the cleaner. Investigators said they also learned Burgess did not have a Polk County Tax Collector's permit and that he does not have a valid business license.
When he told deputies that he didn't have a valid Polk County Home Solicitation permit, they arrested him.
Deputies said Burgess told one of his managers to have all of the employees pack their belongings and leave the county, then to go to a rest area in Orlando and wait for him to bond out of jail.
Deputies said he told them they would then travel to Jacksonville, so they contacted law enforcement in the area and warned them that Burgess and his employees might be arriving soon.
Investigators said the door-to-door sales company has received so many complaints about its sales practices, billing and customer service that the Better Business Bureau gave the company an "F" rating.