[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Dartmouth 6-2-2015 by Art. 30, approved 9-3-2015 (§ 62.1 of the 2011 General By-Laws). Amendments noted where applicable.]
No person shall engage as a solicitor or canvasser, as those terms are described in more detail in § 305-2, without obtaining a license from the Chief of Police in accordance with this chapter. The licensing requirements of this chapter are in addition to, and separate from, the registration requirements of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 101, Section 34, regarding the employment of minors in door-to-door solicitation activities.
- A canvasser is any individual who, whether for himself or for another individual or business entity, travels from door to door, house to house, street to street or building to building, and thereby places, hangs, attaches or otherwise leaves flyers, printed solicitations, menus, coupons or other commercial advertisements in, at or upon any property, building, vehicle or mailbox.
- A solicitor is any individual who, whether for himself or for another individual or business entity, travels from door to door, house to house, street to street or building to building, and thereby solicits or takes orders or subscriptions for the future delivery of retail goods, wares, publications or merchandise, or thereby solicits or takes orders or subscriptions for the performance or provision of services, or thereby solicits or takes orders or subscriptions for the purchase of insurance or other non-tangible goods; provided, that a solicitor does not include an individual who solicits or takes orders for the wholesale delivery of goods, wares or merchandise to retailers for resale; further provided, that whether an individual carries, displays, demonstrates or sells samples of any goods, wares or merchandise as part of the soliciting or taking of orders or subscriptions for the same shall not preclude said individual from being considered a solicitor; further provided, that an individual shall not be considered a solicitor whenever said individual takes orders at a particular residence or business in response to a specific advance request from a potential customer to appear at the same.
This chapter shall not apply to any individual who is acting as part of, at the direction of, or in support of any religious, charitable or political entity, group, organization or cause.
This chapter shall not apply to any officers, officials, agents or employees of the Town, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any political subdivision thereof, or of the United States of America.
This chapter shall not apply to any youth organization or group.
The application for a license to solicit or canvass shall be in a form as determined by the Chief of Police. Further, each such application shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount as determined by the Chief of Police. Each individual of an organization or business entity that intends to solicit or canvass must obtain a separate license. Each such application shall specify whether a license is sought for soliciting, canvassing or both; further, each such application for a soliciting license shall specify the particular goods, wares, merchandise or services that will be marketed; further, each such application for a canvassing license shall specify the type(s) of printed materials that will be distributed, and the specific manner(s) in which such printed materials will be left at various locations.
The Chief of Police shall either issue a license or provide a written denial of the application within 10 days of the submission of the application.
The Chief of Police shall issue a license to solicit or canvass solely if he determines that the applicant has good morals and integrity, and will not present a threat or risk to public safety. The Chief of Police shall not issue any such license to an individual who has been convicted of a felony, is a registered sex offender, submitted fraudulent information in the license application, or has had a license issued pursuant to this chapter revoked in the five years prior to the submission of the application in question. The activities that are allowed pursuant to a license shall not be broader in scope than was requested in the application; provided, that the Chief of Police may issue a license for activities that are narrower in scope than was requested in the application, if he determines it to be in the interest of public safety.
Each issued license shall contain the signature of the Chief of Police; the name and address of the licensee; the issuance and expiration dates of the license; the license number; the name of the licensee's organization, if any; whether the license is valid for soliciting, canvassing or both; and in the case of soliciting, the particular wares, goods or merchandise for which orders may be sought; and in the case of canvassing, the particular type(s) of printed materials that may be distributed, and the specific manner(s) in which such printed materials may be left at various locations.
The Chief of Police shall retain a record of all licenses for soliciting and canvassing that have been issued in the previous six years.
Soliciting and canvassing activities are allowed only between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
No solicitor or canvasser shall utilize deceptive, fraudulent, coercive or other unfair practices in soliciting sales of goods or services, or in gaining entry to any residence or other building. Nor shall any licensee misrepresent or fail to disclose to a potential customer said customer's statutory rights to cancel a solicited order for goods or services.
No solicitor or canvasser shall enter onto any property, whether residential, commercial, industrial or otherwise, that displays a sign stating "no trespassing" or "no soliciting", or which is on the No Soliciting or Canvassing List as provided in § 305-7. For the purposes of this section, a "no soliciting" sign shall be sufficient to bar canvassers as well. Furthermore, no solicitor or canvasser shall ignore a request to leave private property by any individual with the lawful authority to make such a request, whether a resident, property owner, business employee or otherwise.
Any residence or business that does not wish to be visited by canvassers and solicitors may make a request to the Chief of Police to be placed on the No Soliciting or Canvassing List. Each such request shall be in writing on a form as provided by the Chief of Police. Whenever the Chief of Police issues a license pursuant to this chapter, he shall also provide the licensee with an up-to-date copy of this List. The Chief of Police shall update this List on the first day of each month. Each licensee shall be required to obtain a copy of the updated List by the third day of each month. A residence or business shall remain on the List until a removal request is made in writing to the Chief of Police on a form as provided by the Chief of Police.
Every license to solicit or canvass shall expire on January 1 following its issuance, unless an earlier date was requested in the application. No such license is transferable, even to successors in interest to the licensee.
A photo identification badge shall be issued with every license, which shall include the licensee's full name and organization (if any), the seal of the Dartmouth Police Department, whether soliciting or canvassing activities or both are authorized, and the license number and expiration date, and which shall be worn by the licensee so as to be visible and legible to the public at all times while soliciting or canvassing. Each licensee additionally shall carry the issued license at all times while conducting business pursuant to the same, and said license shall be produced for review upon the request of any Town police officer.
Each licensee shall engage in only those activities that are allowed by the terms of the issued license. No licensee shall operate pursuant to the terms of an issued license until the material terms of that license, as described in § 305-5, shall have been published in a local newspaper of general circulation for a period of seven days.
The Chief of Police shall revoke a license to solicit or canvass if he concludes that the licensee has become a threat or risk to public safety, if he discovers that the licensee submitted fraudulent information in the license application, if the licensee is convicted of a felony, if the licensee becomes registered as a sex offender, or if the licensee has violated any provision of this chapter during the license period.
Any such revocation may occur only after a hearing before the Chief for which the licensee is given at least seven, but not more than 10, days advance written notice. Pending the outcome of this hearing, the license shall be suspended, and the hearing notice shall expressly explain this suspension.
Upon expiration, suspension or revocation of any license to solicit or canvass, the licensee shall return the same to the Chief of Police.
Every violation of this chapter, including every violation of the terms, conditions and restrictions of any license issued pursuant to the same, shall result in a fine of $50; provided, that each day of a continuing violation shall be a separate violation; further provided, that each house, business, property, mailbox or vehicle that is solicited or canvassed in violation of this chapter, including in violation of the terms, conditions and restrictions of any license issued pursuant to the same shall, be a separate violation. Each such violation shall be enforced by the Town police officers, and shall be subject to the non-criminal disposition procedures as provided in Chapter 60, Article I, of these General By-Laws and Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 21D.
The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any court of competent jurisdiction determines that any such provision is in violation of the laws, constitutions or regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the United States of America, the remaining provisions shall not be affected thereby and shall continue in full force and effect.