Chapter 5.12


5.12.010    Definitions.

5.12.020    License and/or permit required.

5.12.030    Hawking prohibited – Exceptions.

5.12.040    Application filing – Requirements.

5.12.050    Application investigation – License issuance.

5.12.060    Fees – Amount.

5.12.070    Fees – Adjustment when – Procedure.

5.12.080    Bond – Required when – Requirements.

5.12.090    License and/or permit – Possession and display requirements.

5.12.100    Hours of operation.

5.12.110    Information disclosure requirements.

5.12.120    Misrepresentation prohibited.

5.12.130    Orders – Requirements.

5.12.140    Premises entry – Restrictions.

5.12.150    Enforcement.

5.12.160    Record keeping – City officer duties.

5.12.170    License and/or permit – Revocation when – Procedure.

5.12.180    Appeals – Procedure.

5.12.190    License – Expiration.

5.12.200    License and/or permit – Not exclusive.

5.12.210    Exemptions.

5.12.220    Violation – Penalty.

5.12.010 Definitions.

“Canvasser” or “solicitor” is any individual, whether a resident of the city or not, traveling either by foot, wagon, automobile, motortruck, or any other type of conveyance, from place to place, from house to house, or from street to street, selling or offering for sale, or attempting to take orders for sale of goods, wares and merchandise, or personal property of any nature whatsoever for immediate or future delivery, or for service to be furnished or performed immediately or in the future, whether or not such individual has, carries or exposes for sale a sample of the subject to such sale or whether he/she is collecting advance payments of such sales or not; provided, that such definition includes any person who, for himself/herself or for another person, firm, or corporation, hires, leases, uses, or occupies any building, structure, tent, railroad boxcar, booth, hotel room, lodging house, apartment, shop, or any other place within the city for the sole purpose of exhibiting samples and taking orders for future delivery.

“Hawker” means every person, either as principal or agent, selling or offering for sale any goods, wares or merchandise, articles, things or personal property of whatsoever name, nature or description, except newspapers, by peddling the same from house to house, or upon any street, highway or public place, who makes public outcry, or gives any musical or other public entertainment or makes any public speech to draw customers or attract notice.

“Home sales party” means a gathering in a private residence where goods, wares, merchandise, services, or anything of value is sold or offered for sale, and where all persons attending as invited guests have been told, at least 24 hours prior to the gathering, that the purpose of such gathering is the solicitation of orders for, or sale of, such goods, wares, merchandise, services, or other things of value. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.020, 1979].

5.12.020 License and/or permit required.

It is unlawful for any solicitor or canvasser, as defined in WRMC 5.12.010, to engage in such business within the corporate limits of the city without first obtaining a permit and/or license therefor in compliance with the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.010, 1979].

5.12.030 Hawking prohibited – Exceptions.

Except as provided below, hawking is unlawful in the city and any hawker is subject to a fine as set forth in this chapter.

A. The mayor, by special permit, may allow worthy civic groups to engage in hawking for charitable purposes.

B. The tradition of hawking of ice cream novelties using a sound system to announce the presence of the hawker is permitted, provided such vending takes place between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.; and provided, that the sound level is controlled to a reasonable level as may be determined by the director of community development. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 27-07 § 1, 2007; Ord. 315 § 1.030, 1979].

5.12.040 Application filing – Requirements.

Applicants for a permit and license under this chapter must file with the city finance director a sworn application, in writing, in duplicate, on a form to be furnished by the city finance director, which shall give the following information:

A. Name and description of the applicant.

B. Permanent home address and full local address of the applicant.

C. A brief description of the nature of the business and the goods to be sold.

D. If employed, the name and address of the employer, together with credentials establishing the exact relationship.

E. The length of time for which the right to do business is desired.

F. Manufacturing or production location of goods or property to be sold or orders taken for the sale thereof.

G. The location of such goods or products at the time the application is filed.

H. The proposed method of delivery.

I. The fingerprints of the applicant.

J. Names of at least two reliable property owners of the state who will certify as to the applicant’s good character and business responsibility or, in lieu of the names of references, such other available evidence as to the good character and business responsibility of the applicant that will enable an investigator to properly evaluate such character and business responsibility.

K. A statement as to whether or not the applicant has been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or violation of any municipal ordinance, the nature of the offense and the punishment or penalty assessed therefor.

L. At the time of filing the application, a fee as set by city council in the Master Fee Schedule shall be paid to the city finance department for the application fee and a fee as set by city council in the Master Fee Schedule for a criminal background check. [Ord. 6-14 § 2 (Att. B), 2014; Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.040, 1979].

5.12.050 Application investigation – License issuance.

Upon receipt of such application, the original shall be referred to the chief of police, who shall cause such investigation of the applicant’s business and moral character to be made as he deems necessary for the protection of the public good.

If, as a result of such investigation, the applicant’s character or business responsibility is found unsatisfactory, the chief of police shall endorse on such application his disapproval and his reasons for the same, and return application to the finance director, who shall notify the applicant that his application is disapproved and no permit and license will be issued. Reasons for denial may include felony or misdemeanor that relates directly to the qualification of the applicant to be a solicitor.

No refund shall be granted to any applicant.

If, as a result of such investigation, the character and business responsibility of the applicant are found to be satisfactory, the chief of police shall endorse on the application his approval; execute a permit addressed to the applicant for the carrying on of the business applied for; and return the permit, along with the application, to the city finance director who shall, upon payment of the prescribed license fee, deliver to the applicant his permit and issue a license.

Such license shall contain: the signature and seal of the issuing officer; shall show the name, address and photograph of the licensee; the class of license issued; the kind of goods to be sold thereunder; the amount of fee paid; the date of issuance and the length of time the same shall be operative; as well as the license number and other identifying description of any vehicle used in such soliciting, canvassing or peddling.

The finance department shall issue an identification badge to the applicant upon successful completion of the background check. Each identification badge issued by the finance department shall bear a distinguishing number assigned to the licensee and shall contain the following inscription: “SOLICITOR’S IDENTIFICATION.” The identification badge shall also contain a photograph of the licensee, the dates within which the licensee has been licensed to solicit in the city, and such further information or data from the application prescribed by the finance department. The identification badge shall be sealed in a transparent material and shall be designed to prevent its reproduction or alteration.

Finance director shall keep permanent record of all licenses issued. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.050, 1979].

5.12.060 Fees – Amount.

The license fee charged for such license shall be in addition to the regular business license of employing firms required by Chapter 5.04 WRMC, and shall be as set by city council in the Master Fee Schedule for a solicitor license application and a fee as set by city council in the Master Fee Schedule for a criminal background check per year. [Ord. 6-14 § 2 (Att. B), 2014; Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.060(a), 1979].

5.12.070 Fees – Adjustment when – Procedure.

None of the license fees provided for by this chapter shall be so applied as to occasion an undue burden upon interstate commerce.

In any case where a license fee is believed by a licensee or applicant for license to place an undue burden upon such commerce, he/she may apply to the mayor for an adjustment of the fee so that it shall not be discriminatory, unreasonable, or unfair as to such commerce.

Each application may be made before, at, or within six months after payment of the prescribed license fee.

The applicant shall, by affidavit and supporting testimony, show his/her method of business and the gross volume or estimated gross volume of business and such other information as the mayor may deem necessary in order to determine the extent, if any, of such undue burden on such commerce.

The mayor shall then conduct an investigation, comparing applicant’s business with other businesses of like nature, and shall make findings of fact from which he/she shall determine whether the fee fixed by this chapter is unfair, unreasonable or discriminatory as to the applicant’s business, and shall fix as the license fee for the applicant an amount that is fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory.

If the fee has already been paid, order a refund of amount over and above the fee so fixed.

In fixing the fee to be charged, the mayor shall have the power to base the fee upon a percentage of gross sales, or any other method which will assure that the fee assessed shall be uniform with that assessed on businesses of like nature, so long as the amount assessed does not exceed the fees as prescribed by WRMC 5.12.060.

Should the mayor determine the gross sale measure of the fee to be the fair basis, he/she may require the applicant to submit, either at the time of termination of the applicant’s business in the city or at the end of each three-month period, a sworn statement of the gross sales and pay the amount of fee therefor; provided, that no additional fee during any one calendar year shall be required after the license has been paid in an amount equal to the annual license as prescribed in WRMC 5.12.060. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.060(b), 1979].

5.12.080 Bond – Required when – Requirements.

Every applicant not a permanent resident of the city for three months prior to application for the above license or who, being a resident of Benton or Franklin County, state of Washington, represents a firm that does not have a permanent place of business in the state shall file with the city finance director a surety bond running to the city in the amount as set by city council in the Master Fee Schedule, with surety acceptable to and approved by the mayor, conditioned that the applicant shall comply fully with all the provisions of the ordinances of the city, and the statutes of the state, regulating and concerning the business of solicitors and canvassers and guaranteeing to any citizen of the city that all money paid as a payment or down payment will be accounted for and applied according to the representations of the solicitor and/or canvasser; and further guaranteeing that all property purchased from the solicitor and/or canvasser will be delivered according to the representations of the solicitor and/or canvasser.

Action on such bond may be brought in the name of the city to the use or benefit of the aggrieved person.

In the event a cash bond is deposited, the same shall be retained by the city finance director for a period of 120 days after the expiration or surrender of any such license. [Ord. 6-14 § 2 (Att. B), 2014; Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.070, 1979].

5.12.090 License and/or permit – Possession and display requirements.

A. No person shall canvass or solicit within the city without wearing the identification badge issued to such person affixed in a position on the licensee’s outermost garment where it will be clearly visible to those with whom the licensee is engaging in the licensed activity.

B. No person shall canvass or solicit within the city without carrying the license issued to such person. Each licensee shall exhibit the license to any resident or city official upon request. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.090, 1979].

5.12.100 Hours of operation.

It is unlawful for any soliciting or canvassing to be conducted before the hour of 8:00 a.m. of any day, or after the hour of 8:00 p.m. of any day, without the specific prior consent of the prospective buyer. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.080, 1979].

5.12.110 Information disclosure requirements.

Each person engaged in soliciting or canvassing for the sale of goods or services at the residence of a prospective buyer shall at the outset disclose to the prospective buyer his/her name and the company or product he/she represents, and if requested to do so shall immediately leave the premises.

It is unlawful for any canvasser or solicitor to make any assertion, representation or statement of fact which misrepresents the purpose for his/her call, or to use any plan, scheme, or ruse which misrepresents such purpose. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.100, 1979].

5.12.120 Misrepresentation prohibited.

It is unlawful for any canvasser or solicitor to make or cause to be made, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of selling or procuring an order for the sale of any goods, wares, merchandise, services or any other thing of value, any assertion, representation, or statement of fact which is untrue, deceptive or misleading. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.110, 1979].

5.12.130 Orders – Requirements.

All orders taken by licensed solicitors and canvassers shall be in writing, in duplicate, stating the name as it appears on the license, and the address of both the solicitor or canvasser and his employer, the terms thereof, and the amount paid in advance; and one copy shall be left with the purchaser. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.120, 1979].

5.12.140 Premises entry – Restrictions.

Except when a person has the prior consent of the occupant of a residence, no person conducting canvassing or soliciting of any type shall go or remain upon the premises of a residence to conduct canvassing or soliciting after having been given notice orally or by a readily visible sign stating to the effect that the type of canvassing or soliciting conducted by the person is not desired. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.130, 1979].

5.12.150 Enforcement.

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 be duly licensed, to produce his or her solicitor’s or canvasser’s license and identification badge, and to enforce the provisions of this chapter against any person found to be violating the same. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.140, 1979].

5.12.160 Record keeping – City officer duties.

The chief of police shall report to the city finance director all convictions for violations of this chapter; and

The city finance director shall maintain a record for each license issued and record the reports of violation therein. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.150, 1979].

5.12.170 License and/or permit – Revocation when – Procedure.

Permits and licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the action of the city council after notice and hearing, for any of the following causes:

A. Fraud, misrepresentation, or false statement contained in the application for license.

B. Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of carrying on his or her business as solicitor or as canvasser.

C. Any violation of this chapter.

D. Conviction of any crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.

E. Conducting the business of soliciting or canvassing in an unlawful manner or in such a manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety, or general welfare of the public.

Notice of hearing for revocation of a license shall be given in writing, setting forth specifically the grounds of complaint and the time and place of hearing. Such notice shall be mailed, postage prepaid, to the licensee at his last known address at least 15 days prior to the date set for hearing. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.160, 1979].

5.12.180 Appeals – Procedure.

Any person aggrieved by the action of the chief of police or the city finance director in the denial of a permit or license as provided in WRMC 5.12.050, or the action of the mayor in the assessing of the fee as provided in WRMC 5.12.060, shall have the right of appeal to the 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 the appeal.

The council shall set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal and notice of such hearing shall be given to the appellant in the same manner as provided in WRMC 5.12.170 for notice of hearing on revocation. The decision and order of the council on such appeal shall be final and conclusive. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.170, 1979].

5.12.190 License – Expiration.

All annual licenses and identification badges issued under the provisions of this chapter shall expire on the thirty-first day of December in the year when issued. Other than annual licenses shall expire on the date specified in the license. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.180, 1979].

5.12.200 License and/or permit – Not exclusive.

The license and permits required by this chapter are in addition to any other license or permit required by the laws of the state or any other ordinance of the city. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.190, 1979].

5.12.210 Exemptions.

This chapter shall not apply to:

A. Home sales parties as defined in this chapter.

B. Insurance salespersons or salespersons calling on wholesalers or retailers.

C. Daily newspaper carriers, whether subscriptions are taken or not.

D. Any farmer, gardener or other person selling, delivering or peddling fruits, vegetables, dairy products, butter, eggs, fish, milk, poultry, meats or any farm products or edibles raised, caught, produced or manufactured by such person any place in this state.

E. Any person selling or delivering milk, milk products or bakery goods produced or manufactured within this state or furnishing to any person laundry and dry-cleaning services.

F. Any member or members of a religious, charitable, health or welfare political service or youth service organization selling or offering to sell goods or services in order to raise funds for the work of such organization and for no other purpose. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 315 § 1.200, 1979].

5.12.220 Violation – Penalty.

A. Every person, firm or corporation who violates provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed an infraction and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00. Two or more offences within 365 days shall be deemed a misdemeanor subject to up to 90 days in jail and/or up to $1,000 penalty.

B. Other Legal Remedies. Nothing in this chapter limits the right of the city to pursue other lawful, criminal, civil or equitable remedies to abate, discontinue, correct or discourage unlawful acts under or in violation of this chapter. [Ord. 27-12 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 42-95 § 3, 1995; Ord. 315 § 1.210, 1979].