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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    3

    Default Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    I plan to deliver literature such as post cards to residential homes for the purpose of soliciting new business. I would like to attach in literature to doors or other visible area using a lanyard that has to 2.5" cord and a small metal ring. Might this be inviting trouble?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,344

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    You haven't even specified a state, much less a city. Many cities have laws and ordinances against posting handbills door to door. Personally, I think it's commercial speech and protected by the constitution, but many municipalities think otherwise. But since there are thousands of municipalities, nobody here could tell you if it's legal where you propose to do it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    Soliciting sales door to door is regulated in virtually every city. However, distributing literature is clearly protected by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions. Although commercial speech is not as protected as political speech, if you are on public property nobody can legally do anything. Just don't use the inside of mailboxes. Don't know what you mean by a lanyard, but doorknob bags are probably cheaper. I own a business that distributed a coupon book door to door and have engaged in political activities on private and public property. I am also the plaintiff in a multi-million dollar defamation/libel action so have some clue what I am talking about when it comes to the first amendment.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,901

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    Speech does not extend to littering unwanted materials on properties. I don't think you'll win on a constitutional issue. You'll have to investigate the local ordinances. I'd not use a metal ring, too much chance of damage. Most use poly bags with door knob holes in the although a plastic ring would be.
    A more innovative use around here is to leave them on the stoop in a ziploc bag with a big washer as a weight to keep them from blowing away.
    Frankly as a consumer, I detest all the devices and find them only slightly better than a door-to-door salesman. I refuse to deal with companies that
    use abusive marketing like this (right up with those who post illegal signs all over the place). There are legal ways of doing this with regulatory protections against abuse.

    I spent a while throwing back the unsolicited local newspaper back at their offices as I passed by on the way to work. While it felt good the first few times, it got tedious.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,344

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    As a constitutional issue, it would depend on who was sitting on the court at the time a case came up. Justice Clarence Thomas recently stated, in 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island (1996), that "I do not see a philosophical or historical basis for asserting that 'commercial' speech is of 'lower value' than 'noncommercial' speech." If handbills are allowed for religious or political purposes, therefore, they would be allowed for commercial purposes under that belief, and I tend to agree with Justice Thomas. But such a case is not currently on the docket.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    The most recent case, cited on 1st AM websites, which I was already familiar with, is Watchtower;

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-1737.ZS.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    Where I have worked, all you need is a business permit with the city and you can solicit door to door. I, too, dislike them, but what can you do? (Exceptions tend to exist for religious speech, political speech, and even fund raisers such as local school, scout, or little league candy and cookie sales.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    I understand I am not to respond to my own post and I am embarrassed to do so and I guess my thread will be closed before anyone notices what the real issue is. I am even more embarrassed for not presenting my question properly.

    My concern was with using a device to attach the handbill to a door- more precisely, using this particular device. The device is a lanyard. A lanyard is a cord used to hold something. Like a whistle. Or keys. Or a cellphone. It could have a 2 inch cord, dangerous enough to choke a chihuahua or have an 18" inch cord, enough to strangle a person. That is what I meant to inquire about...incorporating a item in my advertising campaign (an item known as a "Ad Specialty" or a "Premium" in advertising lingo), although it seems just the piece of cardstock that carries the advertising message could be dangerous enough. I would not be surprised that somewhere someone has been murdered or otherwise died unintentionally by paper cut.

    Of course you can deliver a handbill. The practice has been going on decades. It is advertising and it is a major driver of our economy, no matter how lowly someone feels the practice is. The USPO delivers them in the form of mail. Is the gub'ment the only organization able to do it for profit? (profit! lol)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    Quote Quoting Pima
    View Post
    I understand I am not to respond to my own post and I am embarrassed to do so and I guess my thread will be closed before anyone notices what the real issue is. I am even more embarrassed for not presenting my question properly.
    Why should you be embarrassed to respond to tour own post? Clarification and feedback is often necessary.

    My concern was with using a device to attach the handbill to a door- more precisely, using this particular device. The device is a lanyard. A lanyard is a cord used to hold something. Like a whistle. Or keys. Or a cellphone. It could have a 2 inch cord, dangerous enough to choke a chihuahua or have an 18" inch cord, enough to strangle a person. That is what I meant to inquire about...incorporating a item in my advertising campaign (an item known as a "Ad Specialty" or a "Premium" in advertising lingo), although it seems just the piece of cardstock that carries the advertising message could be dangerous enough. I would not be surprised that somewhere someone has been murdered or otherwise died unintentionally by paper cut.
    So, leaving an item that might be of use to the resident and also having some advertising message (like the name of the business or logo on it)? That shouldn't change the issue at all. You still have to address the legalities of the distribution.

    Could there be liability if someone uses the lanyard for anything other than its intended purpose? Sure. But, the same could be said about anything. If they leave the Yellow Pages on my doorstep and I trip over it, I could potentially sue the distributor and YP as well.

    Of course you can deliver a handbill. The practice has been going on decades. It is advertising and it is a major driver of our economy, no matter how lowly someone feels the practice is. The USPO delivers them in the form of mail. Is the gub'ment the only organization able to do it for profit? (profit! lol)
    The USPS has permission to do so ... you may not.

    Check local ordinances and state law. If it is a violation of local ordinance, you just might find yourself the first unlucky sot in a very long time to get tagged for it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Attaching Circulars to Residential Home Doors

    My concern was with using a device to attach the handbill to a door- more precisely, using this particular device
    The device is irrelevant. What matters, as has been pointed out, is what local ordinance has to say about posting bills. In my city, you have to have a permit to do so. There is no specification for using a piece of tape, a plastic bag, a rubber band, or even a lanyard. All that matters is that 1) you have a permit and 2) you honor "Post no bills" signs on residences.

    Contact your local governmental offices. If you explain what you want to do clearly - without the unnecessary fuss about the device - you should be easily routed to the relevant department to get you sorted out. Many locales have their government information online now.

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