Peddling means moving about the County by foot or vehicle of any kind, from place to place, house to house, door to door, or upon any street or highway, for the purpose of selling and simultaneously delivering or offering for sale and simultaneous delivery, at retail, any goods, wares, merchandise, services or foodstuffs of any kind whatever.
Soliciting means traveling about the County by foot or vehicle of any kind from place to place, house to house, door to door, or upon any street or highway, for the purpose of engaging in any one or more of the following activities:
No person shall engage in soliciting or peddling in the county unless that person has obtained an identification (ID) card from the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP).
Howard County peddler / solicitor licensing laws do not apply to:
Charitable or Nonprofit Association Exception - Charities and Nonprofits are not required to pay for peddlers or solicitors licenses but are encouraged to register with OCP. Please note, that in order to qualify for the exemption, a charitable or nonprofit association must provide evidence that it has §501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.
“Code of Ethics” Exception - This exception applies to persons who sell or take orders for companies that subscribe to or are bound by a policy statement, code or regulation established by the company or by a recognized trade association in which the applicant company is a member in good standing, only if the policy statement, code or regulation:
Companies that have a Code of Ethics or other policy statement that meets the above criteria, may apply for one or more identification cards. If the application is accepted, OCP will issue a block of numbered ID cards to the company for use by their peddlers or solicitors.
The organization must maintain a control list of the individuals to whom they give the ID cards. If one of the company’s solicitors discontinues his/her activities, it is the company’s responsibility to collect the card and provide the Office with the information on the new holder of the card. If the company stops doing the business for which the cards were issued, it is the company’s duty to return the block of cards to OCP.
APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND FEES
To apply for a peddler’s or solicitor’s license, you will need:
Registration period- ID Cards are valid from July 1st – June 30th.
Replacement cards – if lost or stolen- $5.00 each.
Charities and Nonprofits: no fee, but registration is required: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=8GFn3YbbLpw%3d&portalid=0
Companies with qualifying Code of Ethics:
*Peddlers selling foodstuffs – must provide along with application:
*Solicitors in possession of a Maryland state license, MUST provide copy of license from licensing board.
*Solicitors selling Energy Services – Must provide Maryland Contract Summary, can be reviewed at www.psc.state.md.us/wp-content/uploads/Downloadable-Maryland-Choice--Sheet-for-Suppliers.docx.
Effective April 11, 2016, Soliciting or peddling may be conducted within the County only between 9:00 a.m. and sunset except:
The holder of an ID must not represent, or in any way imply, that possession of an ID constitutes an endorsement by the County.
The holder of an ID card shall carry his ID card on his/her person while soliciting or peddling and shall display the ID card to any person who asks to see it. The card holder must leave the premises immediately upon request.
Along with the ID card, peddlers who use vehicles shall be issued a metal tag. This metal tag must be attached to the right side rear of the vehicle used in peddling and must be visible at all times.
Solicitors and peddlers must abide by Howard County law regarding non-transit activities that take place along Howard County roads. See below.
Under Maryland Law, door-to-door salespeople (those who make sales at a consumer’s home or from a location that is not the seller’s primary place of business), who sell goods costing $25 or more, must provide consumers with a 3-day right to cancel the sale, inform consumers of their cancellation rights, and explain their cancellation rights in writing as part of their sales contract. Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act.
Individuals and businesses have a Constitutional right to go door to door, but State and County laws can regulate how door-to-door sales are conducted.
Tips for Avoiding or Interacting with Door-to-Door Solicitors
Howard County Code, Section 18.207 prohibits the sale or solicitation of goods, services or donations from the paved “right of way” of any Howard County roadway (including the median area) unless the sales or solicitations are made:
Registered pedders or solicitors who comply with the above conditions may still be ordered by the Police Department or the Department of Public Works to cease or relocate their activities if they determine that the activity impedes traffic or endangers the public.