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Can unlicensed Contractor enforce contract / Software webinar today
October 6, 2023

         With all the discussion, and dissatisfaction, about management software our first webinar series is by software providers offering comprehensive software programs for the alarm industry.

Title:  Bold Group: Why you should choose Bold Group for your alarm business operating software
When:  October 6, 2023  noon ET
Why attend:  Bold Group provides comprehensive business management software solutions tailored specifically for the security industry with cutting-edge software empowering security organizations to efficiently manage every aspect of their business within a unified platform, thereby simplifying their operations.  Wide range of features caters to the diverse needs of security organizations incorporating essential functionalities such as general ledger management, billing and invoicing, scheduling, workflow management, and more.
Who should attend: managers and owners
Presented by:  Julie Lichty, SVP, Product Management,
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Register here:

Title: WorkHorseSCS
When: October 11, 2023 noon ET
Why attend: 
Alarm business operating software solution for Sales, Field Service, Customer Service, RMR (Recurring Monthly Revenue), Electronic contracts and Digital Signatures, all conveniently housed in one unified platform. Streamlines your alarm company's processes with Single Point of Data Entry solution. Integrates with over 40 Central Stations, along with leading platforms like, Alula, resideo, SecureCom, and SecureNet.
Who should attend: Managers and owners
Presented by: Steven Hayes, 941.229.8200
Hosted by: Ken Kirschenbaum, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Register here:
Title:  Cornerstone Billing Solutions: Solutions for your alarm business operating software
When:  October 12, 2023  noon ET
Why attend:  Customer Management Software and Automated Recurring Billing in one cloud-based software platform. Live customer support.  Cornerstone's software includes: complete subscriber records, recurring details, billing history, quotes, job tickets, service calendar, mobile tech app, inventory, robust reporting, collections, central station/alarm industry integrations, and more. Our automated recurring billing ensures 100% of recurring is billed.
Presented by: Scott MacDougal, Founder and Owner of Cornerstone Billing Solutions. (847) 405-9517 ext 2 ;
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Register here:
Can unlicensed enforce contract
                       Before getting to my question, I’d like to thank you for providing this forum and all who participate with their experience and insights.
                       In 1982 the Illinois Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (IBFAA), now known as the Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA), started work on the creation of a statewide licensing law.  The driving issue was that there were many local jurisdictions creating their own licensing requirements and refusing to acknowledge any license other than their own.
                      The late Joe Cunningham (Cunningham Security) stood up at a meeting of the IBFAA and said that the Village of Skokie was requiring a $100.00 per year fee to register his company plus a $10.00 per year fee for each of his employees, even if they never set foot in the Village.  He went on to explain that the Village of Glenview (next door to Skokie) didn’t recognize Skokie’s license; nor did the Villages of Des Plaines, or Niles, or….
                    The result was that Cunningham Security, a small company, was paying over $8,000.00 per year in licensing fees, without accounting for the administrative time to keep track of it all.  The answer, said Joe, was to create a state license that would eliminate all the local licenses.
                    It took several years, a lot of work, and a lot of money, but eventually a bill was passed.  Its current version is known as (225 ILCS 447/) Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004. 
                  You need to comply with the Act if you are “… a person who engages in a business that individually or through others undertakes, offers to undertake, purports to have the capacity to undertake, or submits a bid to sell, install, design, monitor, maintain, test, inspect, alter, repair, replace, or service alarm and other security-related systems or parts thereof, including fire alarm systems, at protected premises or premises to be protected or responds to alarm systems at a protected premises on an emergency basis and not as a full-time security officer.”
                  The Act defines an "Alarm system" as any system, including an electronic access control system, a surveillance video system, a security video system, a burglar alarm system, a fire alarm system, or any other electronic system that activates an audible, visible, remote, or recorded signal that is designed for the protection or detection of intrusion, entry, theft, fire, vandalism, escape, or trespass, or other electronic systems designed for the protection of life by indicating the existence of an emergency situation. "Alarm system" also includes an emergency communication system and a mass notification system.”
                 It’s not a perfect law, but the Act did eliminate local jurisdictions from imposing their own license requirements. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is responsible for administering and enforcing the Act.  But it’s also responsible for more than 130 other professions ranging from barbers to brain surgeons.  And while Illinois (The State of Confusion) makes sure that the Department has sufficient funding to collect fees, it doesn’t provide (in my opinion) sufficient funding for efficient investigation or enforcement.
                It does allow that “Reasonable attorney's fees and costs may be awarded to the licensee, interested party, or person injured if he or she successfully obtains injunctive relief, whether by consent or otherwise.”  So, if you want to go after someone that is not licensed for providing products or services covered by the Act you might be able to recover your costs.
               All of that to provide background for the question:  If a person or entity that is not licensed provides, under contract, products / services that would fall under the Act, is that contract enforceable?
              Thanks again for providing your forum…
Dennis C. Calvey
Retired after more than 50 years in the industry and still causing problems
          Generally the penalty of not permitting a contract to be enforced if the party seeking enforcement is not licensed is covered by the licensing statute itself or covered in general consumer law statutes in the state.  If it’s in the consumer law, which I think is actually more prevalent than in the licensing law [not sure if it’s in any licensing law] the law will be applied only in consumer contracts.  Some states by the way seem to characterize consumers more broadly than others.  Generally it means a consumer contracting for household services or products, but it could mean any person or entity contracting for any service or product. 
          Analysis is not that critical because most alarm companies who are required to be licensed understand this issue and the consequences of not being licensed.
          Enforcing the contract has of course two sides to the coin, so to speak.  One, enforcing the payment by subscriber obligation; of course you want to be paid what you bargained for.  If you know you’re not licensed then be prepared to be stiffed, at least sometimes.  Because sometimes the “least sophisticated consumer” isn’t that unsophisticated.  I’ve had situations where I’ve permitted unlicensed contractors to work at my house [not alarm contractors] and I mused with the idea of telling them, at the end of the job, “hey great job; best ever, love the work; but alas, you’re not licensed to I’m not paying you”.  In New York that unlicensed contractor would not be able to sue me.  It could, by the way, retain any money I had already paid, but it can’t sue for more.  One main reason is that in New York the Complaint by the contract has to allege the license number, and failing to allege the license number is fatal to the Complaint.
          But what about the other side of the coin.  Alarm subscriber suffers a loss.  Sues the unlicensed alarm company [or the unlicensed central station providing the monitoring].  The alarm dealer or central station seek to enforce the alarm contract, but they are forced to admit they weren’t licensed when entering into the contract, weren’t licensed when the provided the services under the contract and aren’t licensed at the time of the law suit.  The subscriber takes the position that the alarm company and central station aren’t licensed and cannot rely on the contract, and that’s the penalty for not being licensed. Pretty good argument, but no cigar.
          The more likely outcome is that the court does enforce the contract, especially if the suing subscriber is claiming breach of contract in one form or another.  Look, I wouldn’t want to have to make that bet, all in.  While the court may not preclude the contract for defense, the unlicensed alarm company will face another hurtle trying to overcome the fact that it isn’t licensed because it lacks the competency to get licensed and that its work for the suing subscriber wasn’t negligently performed.  Being unlicensed doesn’t equal incompetency or negligence, but may create that presumption, if not as matter of law then by perception by the judge or jury if there is one. 
          The experience of Illinois alarm companies was similar to other states where multiple license requirements was the impedance for statewide licensing. The unlicensed sure resisted for a time, but the alarm license laws have been around for a while now.  Best advice is to be licensed where required.  With the availability of DIY and expanding territory covered by alarm companies throughout the United States you may find yourself needing to find a license qualifier for your business.  Check out The Alarm Exchange under the category of License Holders and Those Looking for Qualifiers and call K&K License Coordinator Eileen Wagda at 516 747 6700 x 312 for assistance and guidance.

Software and central station webinars
          If you haven’t signed up for the webinars you’re making a mistake.  The live presentations offer you the opportunity to ask your questions and get answers.  You can join on any device including your office computer or your smart phone, so even if in the field or driving you can join and even participate. 
          If you miss the live webinar, no worry.  It should be posted on the K&K Website for alarm webinars within a few days of the live presentation; go here to check:

Central Stations series: Why You Should Be Monitored By Our CS
Hear from the leading central stations and “Why you should be monitored by” that central station.  The topic of remote operator monitoring from outside the central station facility and the dynamics that issue presents is sure to come up.  The question you need to be asking is why isn’t your central station participating and why are you still using your central station if it’s not participating?
October 17, 2023 noon ET, Emergency 24
Registration Link:

October 18, 2023 noon ET, Statewide Monitoring Corp
Registration Link:

October 19, 2023 noon ET, Legacy Security Services
Registration Link:

October 24, 2023 noon ET
National Monitoring Center
Registration Link:

October 25, 2023 noon ET, Dynamark Monitoring
Registration Link:

October 26, 2023 noon ET,  COPS Monitoring    Registration Link:

October 31, 2023 noon ET, Rapid Response Monitoring Center

Registration Link:
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301