Council looks into concerns over solicitor hours, tactics

December 5, 2018

DIXON – After receiving several complaints from community members, the City Council is looking into shortening the night hours that solicitors can knock on doors.

Aurora-based Universal Direct Marketing Inc., one of the many companies focused on soliciting for alternative energy suppliers by going door-to-door, recently received a soliciting permit from the city that allows them to operate between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

The city received many complaints about the 9 p.m. deadline as well as concerns that solicitors were ignoring residents’ “no solicitors” signs, and the council wants to change the deadline to 7 p.m.

Like most cities, Dixon city code requires commercial solicitors to apply for a permit to be allowed to knock on doors, and they are not allowed to pursue homes with no soliciting signs. Every solicitor in a team must carry a permit with the city seal.

If a solicitor doesn’t have a license or breaks the rules, residents should call the police department at 815-288-4181during the day, or 815-288-4411 after 5 p.m..

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said he’s also hearing about solicitors claiming to represent the city then using pushy tactics against residents, and he advised community members that they have the right to send the solicitors away.

The city can revoke a solicitor’s license through a hearing process if there’s evidence of breaking the code, and the revocation can be grounds for denying future permits to the solicitor.

City Clerk Keesha Blumhoff said the city requires a 10-day application process for solicitor permits, which includes going through a background check.

Certain solicitation is protected by the First Amendment and does not require a city permit such as religious, political or nonprofit organizations.

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