The City receives occasional complaints from residents regarding businesses soliciting in their area. Though it might be a nuisance to have your dinner interrupted, is it a reportable offense? Read on to learn more about soliciting in Poway.
What is a solicitor?
To paraphrase the Poway Municipal Code, a solicitor is any salesperson or peddler who sets up a temporary stand (including food trucks) approaches customers outside of a storefront, or goes door to door for the purpose of selling services, taking orders, or asking for donations.
Does Poway have laws regarding solicitors?
Yes. Anyone interested in soliciting in Poway need a valid City of Poway solicitor’s license that includes their photo. This is arranged through the city’s Customer Services division (learn more here). Solicitors are required to display their identification cards or present them upon request.
Can solicitors come to your door at any time?
No. Soliciting is not allowed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. and they are not supposed to contact you if your residence displays a sign prohibiting solicitors.
What are some examples of a solicitation?
Here are some examples to use as a guideline:
- If a realtor drops off information about a house for sale in your neighborhood, this isn’t a solicitation. If they ask you if you’re interested in selling your home, that becomes a solicitation.
- If a solar power sales person comes to your door to hand you a flier for their business, this is not solicitation. But, as soon as you ask a question and engage the salesperson in a conversation, it becomes a solicitation.
- If you’re out walking and approach a salesperson for information, this isn’t considered a solicitation.
- If you’re entering a store and someone approaches you regarding sales, a signature, or donation, this is considered a solicitation.
- Any food truck vendor that is not part of an organized event, such as a wedding, a company picnic type event, or a City event.
What about the neighborhood kid selling magazines for their school fundraiser?
School fundraising activities are exempt from needing a license. There are a few other exemptions – view the Poway Municipal Code Section 5.24.070.
Here’s some tips from our Poway Sheriff’s Station to keep you safe…
“We take pride in the fact that the crime rate in Poway is consistently low,” said Poway Sheriff’s Station Captain Todd Richardson. “But, the fact is that not everyone who breaks the law is behind bars. Recent legislation aimed at reducing overcrowding and reclassifying crimes is having an impact here in Poway. We’re seeing more and more low-level criminals on the streets.”
The Poway Sheriff’s Station recommends:
- Don’t open your door to engage in conversation with solicitors. When your doorbell rings, use a peep hole or a smart video doorbell to see who is at the door. Do not open your door to someone you don’t know.
- Do respond to let them know that someone is home. It is very common for thieves, burglars or scammers to act as solicitors trying to sell home repair services or products. They do this to see if you are home and – if you do answer – to have a look inside. Instead of opening your door, leave the door closed and locked, stay inside, determine what they need, and firmly state “no thank you.” Keep any interaction short and firm.
- If you’ve said “no thank you” and the solicitor doesn’t leave, call the Sheriff’s non-emergency number if you feel threatened. If the solicitor doesn’t leave and becomes belligerent, threatening, etc., call the Sheriff's Non-Emergency phone line at (858) 513-2800. Only use 9-1-1 if you feel your safety is in jeopardy or there is a crime in progress. If a deputy needs to respond and the solicitor is still in the area, he/she can be cited for not adhering to the Poway Municipal Code requirements for solicitors.
- Living in a safe community doesn’t give you a “pass” on following basic safety rules. Keep garages closed; lock side gates, doors, windows and vehicles. Up to 50 percent of reported thefts are from unlocked homes or vehicles, and these thefts can be prevented by simply taking a moment to secure your property.