I have question.  We have a customer under contract for monitoring service.  The customer is paying by automatic bank draft and we are getting a monthly test report.  The problem is that another company is also providing alarm monitoring to the customer and the customer is not aware that he is paying twice for monitoring.  Is there a liability to anyone?  thanks.
    I'm sure you're not really interested in liability to "anyone" and want to know the potential liability you face.  The factual scenario is incomplete.  A subscribers with more than one monitoring company is probably not unheard of.  It is surprising that you still get test signals, which I suppose means you are still providing the monitoring.  I don't know if a second company can piggyback on that same system, same panel, and provide duplicate monitoring.  Perhaps they installed a second means of communication, maybe a radio, so that they too can provide monitoring.  If the subscriber wants two different companies monitoring and wants to pay for that, then there is nothing wrong with it.
    Another possibility is that the subscriber is riding out your contract and will cut you out once the contract expires.  
    You indicate that the subscriber doesn't realize he or she is paying for duplicate monitoring.  I don't know how you know that, but let's assume you're correct.  Then I would suggest that you be certain that your contract is still enforceable, still in effect [the real word is extant].  If the contract has expired for any reason and you continue to accept payment, and believe the subscriber doesn't know that payment is being made or that the service is no longer necessary, then you could be required to return the money and accused of deceptive business practices.  
    The tampering of your system may violate your agreement with the subscriber and may have also impaired your monitoring services.  Maybe all you will get are test signals and not actual alarms [if that's even possible].  That could expose you to liability but you would have defenses available that you didn't cause the problem with the system or communication.  If you think there may be a problem you should check it out to avoid unnecessary problems later.

    This issue is coming up more and more for obvious reasons. Technology has made doing business all over the country or world possible.  It's just as easy to talk to someone who is next door as it is to talk to someone across the country; same with sending emails and documents.  So why isn't this so when it comes to selling alarm systems and providing monitoring.  
    Selling DIY systems through the Internet that do not entail you providing installation or repair service does not require a license.  If you are entering into monitoring agreements [even if you subcontract the monitoring to a wholesale monitoring company] you technically need to be licensed in those states that require an alarm license to monitor alarms.  There are approximately 18 of those states.
    What if your central station has the licenses, does that mean you don't need them?  Probably not.  Your central station needs the license because its employees are going to be the one to call in the alarm.  Since its the cs that will be visible to the police or fire department, those responders will be looking for the license or registration, whatever is required.  Your name likely won't come up at that point.  So when will it come up?  When you decide to get aggressive in your collection efforts and cause consumers to complain to the licensing board or consumer affairs office.  You can avoid that scrutiny by not pursuing collection efforts.  Calling in alarms is something you can't avoid, obviously.  If you get caught in a jurisdiction where the license is required there are  number of actions the licensing authority can take, but first time offenders are likely to be fined.  Do you want to take the chance?  Well that depends on how much business you're doing in the licensed jurisdiction.  You have a handful of accounts it may not pay to get the license.  If you begin to build up significant accounts then you should get licensed before you run the risk of being shut down until you get the license or a suspension period runs.  
    The legal advice however is, comply with the law and get the necessary licenses.  As to multiple license, certification, registration, etc fees, all I can say is, render unto Cesar that which is his [or something like that].  
           For nationwide alarm agreements contact our Contract Administrator Eileen Wagda at 516 747  6700 x 312 or ewagda@kirschenbaumesq.com.  For licensing assistance contact attorneys in our licensing department: Jesse Kirschenbaum,Esq at Jesse@Kirschenbaumesq.com or 516 747 6700 x 307 or Nicoletta Lakatos at NLakatos@Kirschenbaumesq.com or 516 747 6700 x 311.