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Alarm company exposure for false alarm fines fading / Free gift
December 19,  2019
See below for free gift – no strings attached, really.
Alarm company exposure for false alarm fines fading
By Jesse Kirschenbaum,Esq [Ken's nephew]
      Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum 
            After causing headaches for the alarm industry with absurd false alarm laws that hit alarm companies with fines when subscribers don’t have proper permits, several states are starting to realize how ridiculous these laws were in the first place and are making changes to these laws, changes that those in the alarm industry should be welcoming with open arms.  For instance, California is amending its alarm laws by changing how authorities will be able to issue fines to alarm companies that dispatch first responders to subscriber sites without a valid alarm permit.  This amendment is set to take effect at the start of 2020.
            Starting January 1, 2020 law enforcement agencies and third-party party alarm compliance contractors may no longer bill an alarm company for fines incurred by subscribers responsible for obtaining or renewing an alarm permit.  This new policy applies to both residential and commercial subscribers and  will allow alarm companies to request dispatch first responders to a subscriber site without having to worry whether the subscriber has a current local permit. 
            Back in May, Tennessee also passed a state law prohibiting local government from issuing fines to alarm companies for false alarms or requiring alarm companies to pay alarm permit fees.  Hopefully Tennessee and California are the first of many to enact such legislation.  Many of these false alarm laws were poorly drafted from the get-go and objectively unfair to alarm companies.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we are seeing the beginning of a nationwide trend and will see more amendments to state false alarm laws in 2020.
            The Standard Form Agreements require the subscriber to reimburse the alarm company for any false alarm fines assessed against and paid by the alarm company, no matter who is at fault, theoretically or actually.  Of course requesting such reimbursement can be a source of contention, as we often see when it’s the subscriber demanding reimbursement from the alarm company for a false alarm fine.
            The Standard All in One forms have another feature that the alarm company can point to when asked for reimbursement; the Verification RMR service.  It’s right there on the front of the All in One.  It invites the subscriber to request, and pay for, alarm verification.  Verification can of course come in various ways, ECV [electronic call verification], video confirmation, runner service confirmation, guard response in lieu of dispatch [actually runner service and guard response are separate line items for RMR services]  
            Point is, how can the subscriber complain of a false alarm fine when it rejected verification service?  Yes, there are other reasons why alarm companies won’t be responsible for false alarm fines.  We know that most false alarms are user error, not equipment failure.  We also know that even false alarms caused by equipment failure is often the result of the subscriber’s unwillingness to pay for needed repairs, never mind periodic inspections, all of which is also offered on the front page of the All in One agreements.  
            So, welcome legislation to prevent or reverse local laws imposing false alarm fines on alarm companies, but be mindful that the All in One Agreement will protect you from those fines ultimately.
            If you don’t see the line items for the RMR or you don’t see the indemnity specifically for the false alarms, your contracts are in need of immediately update.  Don’t delay.  

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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