Calgary alarm firm takes a stand

Provincial licensing requirements become an issue for Stealth
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

CALGARY, Alberta - Mountains sometime turn into molehills and vice versa. For Stealth Alarms, a provider of security services, the result is yet to be seen.

The company has been charged under Alberta’s consumer protection act for failing to have an active direct seller’s license.

“We laid one charge under our consumer protection legislation known as the Fair Trading Act,” said Gwen Vanderdeen-Paschke, a spokesperson for Alberta Government Services.

But Stealth’s president Brad Morrison said his company does have a direct seller’s license, issued to Stargate, the company’s monitoring business, and that should be enough to cover each of the company’s affiliates.

“It’s not like we were pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes,” he said. “We feel that we are operating under the Stargate license.”

In Alberta a direct seller’s license allows a company to sell goods or services in a location other than its primary place of business. The license costs $120 and is good for a two-year period.

“It is geared towards the consumer and what they need to know,” Vanderdeen-Paschke noted.

Citing that Stealth is a legitimate company, Morrison said it was his decision to accept the charges so that a provincial judge could determine the outcome of the situation. He also said the issue, albeit an important one in its own right, is small in comparison to other licenses the business carries, such as its ULC license for its central station.

Unfortunately for Stealth, government officials do not agree. Vanderdeen-Paschke said the investigation into the alarm company is continuing, citing that her office has received complaints from consumers. Morrison said that those complaints had been dealt with long ago.

Although the maximum penalty for operating without a direct seller’s license is two years in jail and fines rising into the $100,000 range, Vanderdeen-Paschke said it is unlikely that these will be implemented.

Even now, Morrison said he believes licensing laws should be enforced.

“I do believe that everyone should be licensed,” he said. “We’re just sticking up for ourselves. It’s about principle.”

Morrison also noted that his company wants to comply with government rules, but he believes Stealth is in the right.

Now, it’s up to a provincial judge to decide. At press time, a hearing had been scheduled for May 17.