[Approved 11-8-2001 by Ch. No. 2623]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- APPLICANT, CANVASSER or SOLICITOR
- An individual employed in the business of going door-to-door throughout the City to sell or take orders for any goods, services, or subscriptions, to be sold at the door or delivered at a future date, or one engaged in the taking of a poll or survey for commercial purposes.
- Includes individual persons, partnerships, associations, or corporations that conduct any business by means of door-to-door solicitation.
No person shall attempt to sell products or services by means of door-to-door solicitation, or employ or allow any other person to do so in the City, before first being issued a permit therefor from the City Council in compliance with this article.
Any person desiring a permit to canvass or solicit in the City shall file, on a form provided by the City Clerk, an application with the Clerk stating:
Name of applicant;
Permanent home address;
Name and address of employer or firm represented;
Place or places of residence of the applicant for the preceding three years;
Date on which the applicant desires to commence canvassing or soliciting;
Nature of the merchandise to be sold or offered for sale, and its place of manufacture, or the nature of the services to be furnished;
Whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime, misdemeanor or violation of any ordinance, and if so, when, where, and the nature of the offense;
Name of other communities in Rhode Island or any other state in which the applicant has worked as a solicitor or canvasser in the past three years.
Said application shall also be accompanied by a letter or other written statement from the individual, firm, or corporation employing the applicant, certifying that the applicant is authorized to act as the employer's representative.
No such application shall be filed more than three months prior to the date upon which canvassing or soliciting is to begin.
Once an applicant has provided the necessary information to the City Clerk, the Clerk shall give the application to the Chief of Police. To ensure the public health, safety and welfare, the Chief of Police or his designate shall cause an investigation to be made of the information provided therein. He shall use any information available from any cities or towns in Rhode Island or any other state where the applicant has canvassed or solicited within the past three years. No permit shall be issued to any person who has a record of conviction for a felony or for a crime involving moral turpitude, nor shall any permit be issued to any business that has a record or conviction for consumer fraud. If, while the application is pending or during the term of any permit granted hereunder, there is any change in fact that would alter the information given in the application, the applicant shall notify the City Clerk in writing within 24 hours of such change. If an applicant is found to have canvassed or solicited over the past three years without criminal incident and has confirmed authority to solicit for a legitimate purpose, the Chief of Police shall endorse the application and the City Clerk shall issue a permit. No permit issued under this section shall authorize any person to solicit other than the one named therein. Every such permit shall be valid for the period of one year and shall expire the first day of March unless sooner revoked or voided under the provisions of this article. The fee for a permit to conduct door-to-door solicitation shall be $250.
[Amended 11-22-2017 by Ch. No. 3145]
Upon proof by a commercial applicant to the City Clerk that he or she has an existing commercial business, then the fee for the issuance of any additional license or licenses granted pursuant to this article to that corporate applicant shall be $25 per additional license. Each separate license issued to a commercial applicant shall be subject to the provisions of this article.
Upon approval of the application by the Chief of Police, but before issuance of a permit by the City Clerk, each applicant shall provide to the Clerk a photograph. This photograph shall be incorporated into an identification card to be issued to the applicant by the City Clerk. The card shall be of plastic at least two by three inches; it shall contain, in addition to the photograph, the name of the person issued to; his address; the name of the employer represented; and a number corresponding to the number on the permit (permit number) issued; and the date of expiration of the permit. In the case of a corporation with several employees, each employee who is to solicit shall obtain a card. The card shall be worn on the outer garments, lapel, belt, or otherwise conspicuously displayed when soliciting.
No person shall wear any identification card as referred to in the preceding section after the expiration or revocation of the permit represented by it. Any person who shall allow any identification card issued to him/her to be used by another person, to whom the card was not issued, for a purpose similar to that for which the card was issued, shall forfeit the identification card and the permit represented by the card. Any person holding a permit under this article who shall fail, upon proper demand of any police officer, to exhibit to such officer his or her identification card shall be deemed to have violated the provisions of this article.
To ensure the public safety, prevent crime, and provide for the peacefulness of the citizens of Pawtucket in their homes, no person shall engage in door-to-door solicitation before the hour of 9:00 a.m. or after the hour of 7:00 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes earlier; or on a Sunday or any state or national holiday.
Every occupant of a residence who desires to secure the protections provided by this section pertaining to soliciting may give notice of his or her intent not to invite solicitors by posting on or near the main door of the residence a sign, no smaller than one by four inches, containing the words "No Soliciting" or another applicable or equivalent phrase. Such notice shall be sufficient to advise solicitors that they are not to ring any doorbell, knock upon any door, or make any other sound calculated to attract the attention of the occupant for the purpose of gaining entrance and securing an audience. Any solicitor arriving on any premises where such a notice is visible shall immediately and peacefully depart from the premises; failure to so leave is declared a nuisance and is punishable by a fine of not more than $200.
Any solicitor who has gained entrance to any residence, whether invited or not, shall immediately and peacefully depart from the premises when requested to do so; failure to so leave is declared a nuisance and is punishable by a fine of not more than $200.
It is the responsibility of the Police Department to ensure the lawful operation of door-to-door solicitors. It shall be the duty of any police officer of the City to require any person seen soliciting or canvassing, and who is not known by such officer to have a valid permit, to produce the solicitor's identification card and to enforce the provisions of this article against any person found to be in violation of this article. Any person who cannot produce a valid identification card shall have such goods as are in his possession at the time confiscated and shall be deemed to be in violation of this article.
The Chief of Police shall report to the City Clerk all violations and all convictions for violations, and the Clerk shall maintain a record for each permit issued and shall record the reports of violations therein.
The City Clerk may decline to issue a permit, or may revoke permits issued under the provisions of this article, after notice and hearing for any of the following causes:
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement found contained in the application for a permit;
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of carrying on the business of solicitor or canvasser;
Any violation of this article;
Conviction of any crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
Conducting solicitation or canvassing in a disorderly or unlawful manner, or in such a manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
A hearing for either reconsideration in the denial of issuance of a permit, or for the revocation of a door-to-door solicitation permit, shall be held before an ad hoc committee of the City Council. Notice of the hearing for denial or revocation of a permit shall be given in writing, setting forth specifically the reasons for denial or the grounds of complaint and the time and place of hearing. Such notice shall be mailed first class, postage prepaid, to the applicant or permit holder at his last known address at least five days prior to the date set for hearing.
Any person aggrieved by the results of a hearing on denial or revocation of a permit shall have the right of appeal to the full City Council. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the Council, within 14 days after notice of the action complained of has been mailed to such person's last known address, a written statement setting forth fully the grounds for appeal. The Council shall set a time and place for the hearing on such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be given to the applicant in the same manner as in the preceding section. The decision and order of the City Council on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.
[Amended 5-24-2018 by Ch. No. 3160]
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this article shall pay a fine of not more than $500, and each violation of any of the provisions of this article and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
Nothing in this article shall apply to any religious or charitable organization that has provided to the City Clerk evidence of a current exemption certificate from the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and has given the Clerk notice of its intention to canvass door-to-door; nor to any vendors of newspapers, milkmen, or farmers selling the produce of their farms or those engaged as part of a political campaign.