Who Is Liable For Central Station Data Entry /  Custom Contracts
June 17, 2014

     You may have addressed these before but here goes.  
1.        How is a central station protected in the event that a dealer (installation company) changes the alarm programming in a system and does NOT inform the central station?  For instance, if the format programming was changed and a signal was not handled properly.
2.        Are your contracts -  All-In-One…etc.  valid in Puerto Rico?  And/or if they are translated by an outside source do they need to be approved by you before they are used?
Rhonda in Rhode Island
    The central station should have two agreements in place.  The first is an Installer Agreement.  That's a one time agreement that governs the contractual relationship between dealer and central station.  That agreement will require the dealer to indemnify the central station.  The other contract will be the three party contract, signed by dealer, central station and subscriber.  That contract will have protective provisions that primarily protect the central station and offer some protection to the dealer [the the standard form central station contracts are used].
    Dealers need their own contract with the subscriber for monitoring and some dealers don't want to use their own monitoring contract and the three party contract provided by the central station.  If the dealer doesn't want to use the three party contract then the alternative is for a dealer to use the Standard Form contract with the subscriber, which will require the subscriber to indemnify the dealer and will contain several protective provisions that both the dealer and central station are protected.  The Standard Form Contracts are usually accepted by the central stations in lieu of the three party contract [if your central doesn't accept the Standard Form Contracts then get a new central station; you'll probably be around a lot longer then the central.
    Information that the central has regarding the subscriber is of course essential and must be accurate.  Reporting a fire when it's a burglary, or vice versa, can lead to lost response time and increased damages.  Even if the contract protective provisions will provide the necessary insulation from liability and damages, neither the dealer or the central station should welcome a subscriber loss; it's always bad for business.
    A central station has to have a clear policy on how it acquires subscriber data.  If the dealer, or sometimes the subscriber, are accessing the central station's server to input data then the central should have no liability for the accuracy of that data.  If the central station is doing the data entry if will be relying on a data sheet provided by the dealer and subscriber.  Errors in data are not uncommon. which means it happens.  Central stations make mistakes.  It will be interesting to see whether mistakes in programming and data entry become more common as more of the industry moves to smart phone Apps, on line contracts, automated response and subscribers and dealers are doing the data entry in place of the central station personnel.  A central station doesn't want to be liable for its own mistakes, let alone mistakes by dealers and subscribers.
    Central stations need to be sure that the contracts in place that govern the monitoring relationship specify how data is to be input, who is authorized to make changes and clearly provide that the central is not responsible for data error.  
    One issue that should be explicitly addressed in the contract is whether the dealer is authorized by the subscriber to make changes and other decisions dealing with the central station.  That authorization should be included in the contract.
    To answer your other question, the Standard Form Contracts are enforceable in Puerto Rico, and every where else, and they are customized for each jurisdiction.  We have translated the Standard Form Contracts into Spanish.  Once you purchase the contracts you are free to make any changes you want and I will review those changes, usually for no charge.

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