In Fountain Hill, License Required to Solicit Door-to-Door Sales

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Many residents may not be aware that Fountain Hill borough has a soliciting ordinance that requires most individuals conducting door-to-door sales to first obtain a license.

The subject is germaine to a recent post on the social media site Nextdoor, in which a borough resident said she had received an unexpected sales call at her door from a man who she said was paving driveways nearby. The poster said “trust” was an issue during her interaction with the man, who she said tried to give her a business card.

The purpose of a Solicitation ordinance is partly to promote trust by providing residents with proof that the person trying to sell them something represents a legitimate business.

Fountain Hill’s ordinance–which was last updated in December 2016–states that “No person shall engage in any solicitation or transient retail business in the Borough without registering with and obtaining a license from the Borough.” It specifically requires that any licensed salesperson carry the document with them and produce it upon request.

The borough ordinance defines a transient retail business as “any of the following events or practices: peddling, canvassing, soliciting or taking orders, either by sample or otherwise, for any goods, wares, merchandise, magazines, periodicals, books or other personal property, or services to be furnished or performed now or in the future, or solicitation of contributions for various causes and organizations, including, but not limited to, charitable, religious, political, educational or philanthropic organizations” when the soliciting is being done on a street or sidewalk or in any other public place; door-to-door; or in a fixed location on a temporary basis, such as with seasonal sales.

Licenses are valid for 30 days and are nontransferrable. Applications for a license to solicit are available at Borough Hall and require that the individual applying for the license undergo a background check by borough police. There is a fee to apply for a license, which varies based upon the length of its validity. Current fees are as follows:

Solicitation License Fees (as of Jan. 11, 2023):
Single Day – $20
Weekly (7-day) – $40
Thirty-Day – $85
Seasonal (Memorial Day-Labor Day) – $125

For more information about solicitation licenses in Fountain Hill, potential applicants and residents should refer to the borough’s Code of Ordinances.

Borough manager Eric Gratz advised residents not to hesitate contacting police or the borough if approached at home by a salesperson who fails to produce a valid license.

Borough staff may be contacted by calling 610-867-0301 and the number for the police department is 610-437-5252.

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