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No Soliciting: Frequently Asked Questions and Regulations

Q. What qualifies as soliciting?

A.
Legally, solicitation refers to asking for anything of value, whether in writing, on mail, phone, or in person. For businesses, this means going door to door to sell products or services, such as insurance policies, repair services, donations, memberships, etc.

Q. Is door-to-door soliciting legal?

A.
Door-to-door soliciting is legal and constitutionally valid. States, municipalities, and local bodies may not enact laws or create rules that prohibit solicitors but can only put reasonable restrictions on them. However, individuals and businesses may choose to not entertain them with the help of no-soliciting signage.

Q. Is anyone exempt from following a no soliciting sign?

A.
By posting a no-soliciting sign, you are exercising your right to decide who may enter or be on your property. Anyone who chooses to ignore the sign and/or a verbal/written request to leave will be breaking the law. You may decide to allow certain solicitors to ignore the sign and approach you.

Q. Can neighborhoods prohibit the entry of solicitors?

A.
Neighborhoods may not entirely prohibit the entry of solicitors but only put reasonable restrictions such as allow solicitors to visit within a certain time window only. This is to protect an individual’s right to listen to or purchase from someone and a solicitor’s right to tell and right to sell.

Q. Are there any laws that can stop solicitors?

A.
The right of solicitors to approach and talk to people about their products/services and make a sale is protected in the Constitution. The First Amendment and the right to freedom of speech have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court and cover the rights of door-to-door salespeople to tell and sell. This also means that there can be no state laws or local ordinances that prohibit soliciting in entirety.

Q. How is ‘no soliciting’ different from ‘no trespassing’?

A.
Intended for the same purpose, i.e. discourage solicitors and deter unwanted visits, no-soliciting and no-trespassing signs differ in the degree of power they convey.
No-soliciting signs are generally targeted more towards specific groups such as salespeople, fundraising individuals/groups, religious/political representatives, etc.
On the other hand, no-trespassing signs target unwarranted visitors and warn them against wandering through your property.
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