Do ‘No Soliciting’ Signs Work in Indiana?
In this day and age of online shopping, it blows my mind that being a door-to-door salesperson is a job that still exists. Yet, here we are. People show up at our homes trying to sell us internet, pest control, and lawn care services, along with a number of different things we don't want at 3:00 on a Tuesday afternoon. Sure, you can buy a "No Soliciting" sign for your door but do they do any good? Are those salespeople breaking Indiana law if they ignore it?
Let me be clear about something before we get too deep into this. I don't mean any disrespect to anyone who does door-to-door sales. We all have to do what we need to do to pay the bills. I would just prefer they do it at any house but mine.
I have a few issues with door-to-door sales. The main one is when I'm home, I don't want to be bothered, especially by a total stranger trying to sell me something. That is my place to unwind and distance myself from the rest of the world. If I want to buy something that requires talking with a salesperson to make it happen, I'll go to their business and talk with them there. My front porch is not a store.
Secondly, and this a 100% me problem, I tend to be a people-pleaser and will agree to do almost anything not because I want to help (although that can be the case in some instances), but because the quicker I can tell someone what they want to hear, the sooner the conversation will be over. Honestly, I'm a door-to-door salesperson's dream client. But I know that, so I'd rather just avoid the conversation altogether.
I've thought about getting a "No Soliciting" sign for my front door, but I'm not sure it would do any good. So, before I make that purchase, I decided to look into whether or not Indiana has a law that would make it enforceable.
What Indiana Law Says About Solicitations on Private Property
The only Indiana law I could find regarding solicitation focused on prostitution, which (surprise!) is still very much a crime here. Don't do it. There doesn't seem to be any law saying door-to-door sales, or canvassing by politicians or religious groups is illegal. Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has heard and issued rulings on a number of solicitation cases, some of which have been in favor of the solicitors, and some that have been in favor of the cities or towns that don't want them there. Those in favor of the solicitors have been First Amendment issues centered around the rights of religious groups looking to spread their good word.
With that said, the Court has affirmed the "reasonableness of 'time, place, and manner,'" according to the Middle Tennessee State First Amendment Encyclopedia which means anyone going door-to-door in a neighborhood is within their First Amendment right to do so, but they can't be showing up in the middle of the night to do it.
"Hello? I know it's 3:00 AM, but I have a great deal on a home security system I'd like to tell you about if I could borrow a few minutes of your time."
Does Posting a No Soliciting Sign Help?
With that said, there are some cities and towns here in the Hoosier State that do have ordinances in their books regarding door-to-door commercial sales. The town of Cicero, for example, requires commercial solicitors to purchase a soliciting license before going door-to-door and restricts the hours it can take place to 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM daily. Violating the ordinance can result in the salesperson (or the company they work for) having that license taken away.
Indianapolis offers a "Do Not Knock" list which works just like "Do Not Call" lists. Instead of trying to reduce the number of spam calls a person gets, the list tries to reduce the number of door-to-door salespeople a resident sees by submitting their address. To see if where you live has any ordinances, check with your local city or county clerk's office, or check their official website. Most cities, towns, and counties have searchable databases of their local ordinances.
The good news is, No Solicitation signs do help as long as you put it somewhere on your property where it can be easily seen. According to Custom Signs, by posting a No Soliciting sign, "you are exercising your legal right to refuse uninvited visitors and convey your request to not be disturbed. Anyone who refuses to leave can face trespassing charges and/or fines." Those fines, according to Indianapolis law firm, Banks & Brower, "could involve a fine up to $2,000 and jail time for 180 days."
While a sign may not stop someone from knocking on your door and bothering you while you're binging The Office for the 14th time, it will provide you the ability to pursue legal action if they refuse to leave. If you don't have one and want one, this one should do the trick.
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