[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady 7-24-1972 by Ord. No. 15808; amended in its entirety 6-11-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-08. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The City of Schenectady recognizes that people have a right to safety and comfort in their homes. While the City also recognizes the right of people to sell commodities, products, and services door to door, the government also has a substantial interest in protecting the safety and comfort of people while they are in their homes. As door-to-door sales bring strangers onto the property of others, and as many find that to be an uncomfortable and/or unwanted situation, the City of Schenectady shall require all business entities and people who take part in door-to-door sales within City limits to apply for and receive a permit authorizing said door-to-door sales activities and to follow the rules set forth in this chapter, which are deemed to be the least restrictive possible while being able to safeguard the rights of the general public.
Except as noted in Subsection C of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, business entity, firm, organization, group, church, society, or charitable institution to solicit funds or contributions, sell or offer to sell any commodity, service, or product, either edible or inedible, by means of door-to-door canvassing or solicitation of residential properties, without first obtaining a permit in compliance with the provisions of this chapter. This chapter shall not apply to solicitation of commercial properties and enterprises in the course and scope of their professional, commercial or business activities.
No permit shall be required of a religious institution soliciting directly from its members; e.g., Bishop's Fund, etc.
Applicants for a permit under this chapter must file with the City Clerk a sworn application, in writing, on a form to be furnished by the Clerk.
Upon receipt of an application, the Clerk shall request the Chief of Police or his or her representative to investigate the applicant's business and purpose, for the protection of the public good, which investigation shall include criminal history and references concerning the applicant and any employee of the applicant intended to solicit within the City. For this purpose, the Police Chief, or his designee, shall be authorized to require the applicant to provide identifying information and, if requested, to submit to fingerprint comparison. The reasonable costs of such investigation and any fingerprint comparison shall be paid by the applicant, in advance, in addition to the fees prescribed by § 224-4.
Any applicant that is found to have a felony conviction within the prior 10 years from the date of application, or more than one misdemeanor conviction within the prior 10 years of the date of application, must be denied a permit.
Any applicant that is denied a permit shall not be allowed to apply for another permit for one year.
Any party to whom a permit has been granted who is convicted of any crime during the life of the permit shall notify the City Clerk within five days of the conviction. Any such conviction may serve as a basis for revocation of the permit.
The permit fee charged by the City Clerk shall be an annual fee in the sum of $500 for commercial and for-profit solicitation, and $25 for solicitation by a religious organization or by a charity registered pursuant to Article 7A of the New York State Executive Law, for each soliciting period. The annual application fee shall authorize one commercial or for-profit solicitor to operate within the City. Commercial and for-profit applicants shall pay an additional sum of $50 for each additional solicitor intended to solicit within the City for and on behalf of the applicant.
Each applicant to whom a permit is granted as set forth in this chapter shall, upon payment of the fee provided therein and satisfactory completion of the required background investigation, receive a solicitor's permit.
Each applicant to whom a solicitor's permit is issued shall receive from the City Clerk, upon request, identification cards, markers or material provided by the Clerk to identify each person doing the actual soliciting or selling for the applicant.
Applicants and persons soliciting or selling for and on behalf on an applicant are required to exhibit the identification materials provided by the Clerk at all times while soliciting or selling.
No solicitor or vendor shall solicit door to door at a residential property except during daylight hours.
City residents who do not wish to be contacted by solicitors may register with the City Clerk. The Clerk shall maintain a "do not solicit" list consisting of those City residents who have registered to be included on the "do not solicit" list. Applicants will be provided with a copy of the list at the time their permit is issued and shall be responsible to ensure that all solicitors in their employ have a copy of the list when engaged in solicitation activities. No solicitor shall contact any person who has registered with the Clerk. It shall be the duty of the applicant to ensure compliance with this restriction.
No more than two people may enter a property or be on the same property at the same time to solicit a door-to-door sale. A trainee, aid, or anyone else who is with a salesperson for any purpose will count towards this limit, regardless of whether or not they have a permit to solicit door to door or are employed by a specific company.
No salesperson shall ask to enter the home of a resident.
The Clerk shall maintain a record of all applications and permits under this chapter.
The Clerk shall maintain a record of the number of identification material issued to each applicant.
Records required to be maintained pursuant to this chapter shall be retained for such period as may be prescribed by the version of the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 [8 NYCRR 185.11 (Appendix H)] in effect on the effective date of the this chapter and as such protocol may be amended from time to time.
All permits and identification material shall show the date of expiration, which will be one year from date of issuance.
Permits and identification material issued under the provisions of this chapter must be revoked for any of the following reasons:
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement contained in the permit application.
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of carrying on the selling or solicitation.
Conducting the business of selling or soliciting in an unlawful manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
Any violation of this chapter.
Misrepresenting the permit or identification as an endorsement of the article, of the sale or the solicitation of, by the City of Schenectady.
Any violation of the Penal Law of the State of New York or of the Code of the City of Schenectady.
When any of the situations detailed in this subsection is alleged to have occurred, notice will be sent to the offending party via regular and certified mail, and a hearing will be held within 10 business days to determine whether the offense did in fact occur. The hearing will be in Schenectady City Court, in front of a Judge. The burden of proof will be on the City to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the alleged offense did occur. The rules of evidence shall be applied as if this were a criminal pretrial hearing, such as a Huntley hearing, and hearsay shall be allowed.
All applicants for a permit to solicit or sell must submit the required application to the Clerk not less than two weeks prior to the start of soliciting.
Each applicant's period of solicitation or selling and the identification material shall be given to the official newspapers to permit the public full knowledge of such solicitation or selling.
Any violation of this chapter shall constitute an offense and shall be subject, upon conviction, to a fine in the amount of $150 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense within 24 months of the first conviction, and $350 for each following offense within 24 months of a previous conviction. Each act of solicitation without the required permit shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
Soliciting after a permit has been revoked shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be punishable, upon conviction, by a fine of $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.