I was about to purchase a number of accounts from a competitor.  In our due diligence we discovered that the wholesale central station he uses (out of state) is not licensed in the state of Florida.   Everything I’ve read states that if a central station is monitoring accounts in the state of Florida, it must be licensed to do so.   Does this put both companies in violation of the law?  What are your thoughts for all of us involved?
Stuart, Florida
    Clearly some state alarm license laws require a license for monitoring.  Would that license apply to the alarm company contracting with the end user for monitoring or the central station who is actually doing the monitoring?  While that question may be a gray area [or not so gray for those strict constructionists] certainly either [or both] should be licensed.  
    I think the alarm dealer who is entering into the monitoring contract needs to be licensed.  I also think the central station who is actually monitoring and calling in the signals needs to be licensed.  The penalty for not being licensed probably starts with the inability to enforce the contract if the subscriber decides to stop paying.  Fines could be imposed.  Police or fire could refuse to respond.  
    If fire or police refuse to respond because the central is not licensed then there's a good bet that the dealer and the central will be sued if the subscriber suffers a loss.  A central who decides not to be licensed needs to be sure that this is not one of the consequences.  Suffering a fine is one thing, but monitoring when you know that police or fire won't respond is another.  
    With regards to system takeovers
     About fifteen years ago our company had an opportunity to take over a one hundred room hotel. This is a business where ownership, managers and vendors constantly change. In the course of inspection I learned we were the seventh alarm company to perform service since the structure was built. We insisted that we have access to every room to test every device. Reluctantly the hotel manager agreed. Each room had a local AC powered smoke alarm with battery backup and a system connected rate of rise heat detector.
    Results of final inspection was that eleven smoke detectors were missing backup batteries (we installed new ones in every unit)  thirty four of the one hundred room rate of rise detectors failed to detect. The fire communicator was residential listed burglar only.  I packaged all of the failed devices along with my invoice, sending them to corporate headquarters.
    Shortly after I received a call from corporate management contesting the invoice which was "considerably higher" than any he had previously received for the same work. The manager wanted to know how we could find so much stuff not working when we were the seventh company to perform this service. No other company had encountered this problem. I drew his attention to the NFPA form submitted with the invoice where we had the hotel manager sign that in room ninety seven he observed the detector was affixed to the ceiling but, never wired.
    Somehow corporate is mad at us for bringing all this to their attention (kill the messenger) They paid the invoice and we were not invited back to perform further inspections.
    Moral of the story regarding takeovers.......Nothing works until proven differently and all some customers want is a paperwork trail allowing someone to be blamed when things don't work.
John W. Yusza, Jr