Peddler Law and Legal Definition

Peddlers are street vendors who travel from one place to another to sell their goods and services. Examples of peddlers are food carts and ice-cream trucks. A peddler carries out a portable business.

Laws governing peddlers vary from one state to another. Florida law requires all businesses that sell goods, perform any services, or advertise any goods and services, to obtain a business tax receipt before starting the business. Although a peddler does not permanently occupy a space like a traditional business, peddlers are still subject to the same laws as other businesses in Florida. Therefore, peddlers in Florida are also required to obtain business tax receipt. And, the tax receipt must be visible in the peddler's cart or display.

The following is an example of a state statute (Louisiana) defining the term:

Pursuant to La. R.S. 47:342(8), a "peddler" means any person who for himself or any other person, goes from house to house, or place to place, or store to store, exposing and selling the merchandise which he carries with him and delivering the same at the time of or immediately after the sale or without returning to the base of business operation between the taking of the order and the delivery of the goods; however, any person who uses the same vehicle or a combination of one or more vehicles for the purpose of taking orders and delivering merchandise, regardless of the fact that the vehicle returns to the base of operations between the taking of the order and the delivery of the merchandise, shall be deemed a peddler, unless such person can show that the merchandise delivered is accompanied by an invoice or delivery ticket prepared at the base of operations and which conforms to the original order and that the person delivering the merchandise has permitted no deviation from the original order by allowing the purchaser to reject, cancel, increase, or decrease the quantity at the time of delivery or to offset against such quantity any merchandise delivered at a prior time which is being returned. This extension of the meaning of the term "peddler" shall not be interpreted so as to prevent rejection or cancellation of bona fide orders or the return of inferior merchandise, but shall be construed so as to prevent persons peddling merchandise from escaping their tax liability by subterfuge through means of so-called "standing order" or blanket advance orders, increase and decrease in quantities at the time of delivery, arbitrary rejections and cancellations, and offset of merchandise returned by reason of nonsale rather than obligation of warranty, all of which are hereby declared to be mere devices to prevent normal methods of operations so as to disguise the business of a peddler as an ordinary wholesale business. Peddler shall include but is not limited to hawkers, itinerant vendors, and any retail dealers not having a fixed place of business.