In civil law, solicitation means any request or appeal, either oral or written, or any endeavor to obtain, seek or plead for funds, property, financial assistance or other thing of value, including the promise or grant of any money or property of any kind or value. Solicitations may be made in writing, in person, or by telephone and other electronic methods. They made be made for business profit or for charitable purposes. State laws, which vary by state, primarily govern solicitors.
In civil law, various state and federal laws govern business solicitations. Some state laws provide for a consumer's right to rescind a solicited contract within a certain time period. Local laws should be consulted for applicable requirements.
The following is an example of a state law dealing with solicitation:
"Section 496.404 (21) "Solicitation" means a request, directly or indirectly, for money, property, financial assistance, or any other thing of value on the plea or representation that such money, property, financial assistance, or other thing of value or a portion of it will be used for a charitable or sponsor purpose or will benefit a charitable organization or sponsor. "Solicitation" includes, but is not limited to, the following methods of requesting or securing the promise, pledge, or grant of money, property, financial assistance, or any other thing of value:
- Any oral or written request;
- Making any announcement to the press, on radio or television, by telephone or telegraph, or by any other communication device concerning an appeal or campaign by or for any charitable organization or sponsor or for any charitable or sponsor purpose;
- Distributing, circulating, posting, or publishing any handbill, written advertisement, or other publication that directly or by implication seeks to obtain any contribution; or
- Selling or offering or attempting to sell any advertisement, advertising space, book, card, coupon, chance, device, magazine, membership, merchandise, subscription, sponsorship, flower, admission, ticket, food, or other service or tangible good, item, or thing of value, or any right of any description in connection with which any appeal is made for any charitable organization or sponsor or charitable or sponsor purpose, or when the name of any charitable organization or sponsor is used or referred to in any such appeal as an inducement or reason for making the sale or when, in connection with the sale or offer or attempt to sell, any statement is made that all or part of the proceeds from the sale will be used for any charitable or sponsor purpose or will benefit any charitable organization or sponsor.
A solicitation is considered as having taken place whether or not the person making the solicitation receives any contribution. A solicitation does not occur when a person applies for a grant or an award to the government or to an organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under s. 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and described in s. 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code."
The following is an example of a state law governing professional solicitors:
" No person shall act as a professional solicitor in the employ of a professional fund raiser before such person has registered with the secretary of state or after the expiration or cancellation of such registration or any renewal of such registration. Application for registration or reregistration shall be in writing, under oath and in the form prescribed by the secretary of state. Upon receipt of any such registration, the secretary of state shall issue a professional solicitor's license and identification number. Such registration or reregistration shall be in effect for a period of one year, or a part thereof, expiring on June 30, and may be renewed upon written application, under oath, in the form prescribed by the secretary of state for an additional one-year period."