Question re competitor with no contracts
    I often read your answers to questions and have learned a great deal.  Thank you for what you do.
    I have a question about a security company called SimpliSafe.  They advertise a do it yourself system they send you, you install and they monitor for as little as $15.95 per month with no contract.  My wife emailed them to verify that they really do not have a monitoring contract.    What she found out after emailing back and forth is that they have no contract.  They use a major national monitoring company to do their monitoring but they do not require a contract and you can start and stop the monitoring  anytime you like.  Something smells wrong with this!  Is it possible to sell monitoring without a contract?  I thought it was a requirement.
Bill Shumate, President
Digital Security
    This company has an interesting web site.  For instance, did you know that "For 100 years the home security industry has been selling outdated technology at highway-robbery prices." and that "Often sales reps will try to scare customers into signing long-term contracts that are full of nasty fine print.".  I wonder what technology the industry was selling in 1914 - and it was outdated by then.  Smoke signals maybe.  The web site [www.simplisafe.com] makes some interesting representations.  My guess is that the company hasn't been sued yet with a complaint that quotes from the web site.  Since there is no contract this alarm company has not "contracted away liability for its own negligence and breach of contract".  
    It's one thing to have a monitoring contract that permits cancelation on demand or after a few days notice, and another to have no contract at all.  When a subscriber suffers a loss the first question is what happened to the alarm system, assuming the subscriber believes it was set.  Even when there is clearly no facts to support a claim against the alarm company, if the alarm company is brought into the action it's going to be very costly to get out of the case; a contract makes it easier and faster. Tomorrow I am going to review a recent case where the alarm co was sued, had a contract, and got itself out of the case but obviously only after spending a good deal of time and money in the case.  
    DIY systems are here to stay and alarm companies are marketing all over the country to provide the product and then the monitoring.  Here the central station should know better; it's taking an enormous risk providing monitoring when it doesn't have its own contract signed and it knows the alarm dealer has no contract.  
    Consumer laws require that subscribers be given a copy of the contract at time of execution.  Since there is not contract no copy is needed.  However, there are consumer laws that require a written contract.  It isnt required for selling the DIY equipment, but it may be required for the monitoring service.  It's not likely to cause an issue here because with cancelation at will no consumer will complain that it got stuck paying on a long term contract.  Another interesting thought though is what could happen if a subscriber decides that the services are not as advertised and promoted and starts a class action against the alarm company.  With no contract in place that should be interesting.  Our Standard Form nationwide contract would cover and protect against that.

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Speaking Engagements


Metropolitan Burglar and Fire Alarm Assoc of New York.  May 15, 2014 4:30 to 6:30 PM at Marriot Hotel, Uniondale, NY.  Comprehensive analysis and comparison of the Standard Form All in One contracts.  All alarm dealers welcome.  No charge for attendance. Dinner and MBFAA meeting will follow the seminar.  For more info and to RSVP contact Alan Glasser, Executive Director of MBFAA at 718-894-6712 or mbfaa.ny@gmail.com


Northeast Security & Systems Contractors Expo  Thursday, May 22, 2014 10 am to 5 PM at  Royal Plaza Trade Center,  Marlborough, MA.  registrationhttps://www.expotracshows.com/neacc/2014/  Presentation on Alarm Law issues and Q&A will be at 2 PM.  For more info contact Gary Spaulding, NEACC President 207-384-2420 gary@spauldingsecurity.com

Alabama Alarm Association.  AAA's Fall Meeting and Trade Show - October 21, 2014 from 3 to 5 PM at DoubleTree Hotel 808 South 20th Street Birmingham, AL 35205  for more info contact AAA Executive Director: director@alabamaalarm.org  (205) 933-9000 


Electronic Security Summit for 2014.  October 22-24, 2014  at the landmark Broadmoor Hotel. Colorado Springs, CO.  For more information contact Alexander J. Quirin, CEO & Managing Partner, Advisory Summit Providers, LLC.,  (786) 999-9738    alex.quirin@aspsummits.com    www.aspsummits.com