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Auto renewal  in Florida and elsewhere
May 6, 2020
Auto renewal  in Florida and elsewhere
            We have been using your contracts for many years, Commercial All-in-OneResidential All-in-One and Fire All-in-One.  I have a commercial customer that wants to change their system burg monitoring to us.  They signed a contract in 2013 for 5 years and they figured they were out of contract by now.  The contract was sold to a different company at about 3 years in.  He called the current monitoring company today to cancel and they say he is still under contract.  
            I told him to ask for the contract.  The sent him a very shrunk down copy of the contract from 2013 and with a magnifying glass was able to read that the 5 year term will renew for another 5 year term and then for 1 year after that.  Now the current security company has refused to let him out of the now renewed contract. 
            This is a commercial customer.  My question is, can there be a Florida contract that can renew for the original term length? 
Name withheld
            About 30% of the states have laws affecting automatic renewal of alarm contracts.  You need to check your state law, and you can start here:
            As you can see, Florida is one of the states with a law on auto renewal.  In Florida a renewal for more than month to month would require a conspicuous auto renew provision in the contract and would also require a written notice of renewal to be sent by the company to the consumer.   But, this law applies only to consumers, and that does not include commercial subscribers.  Therefore, there is no statutory prohibition rendering the automatic renewal clause unenforceable.  That is not to say that there may be other reasons the auto renewal provision is not going to be enforced, but you didn’t ask that, and I don’t regularly assist subscribers to get out of their alarm contracts.  In fact, my job is to draft contracts that hold subscribers to their contract and go after them if they don’t perform their obligations.  
            You have to be very careful with automatic renewal.  On the one hand, you should have automatic renewal because neither you nor your subscriber wants the contract to abruptly end.  You would have to end performance and that could put life and property at risk.  You should also not be burdened with having to let the subscriber know that the contract is ending.  That’s just one more contractual duty you could miss or mess up, the all you may have to show for your diligence is a “thanks for letting me know, but I did know, and already have another alarm company ready to take over”.  
            So the burden of terminating a contract before it automatically renews is the subscriber’s burden.  Some states require the company provide some form of notice, either in the contract itself or by separate notice just before renewal is to take effect.  
            Most alarm companies that are required to give notice of automatic renewal, don’t.  And some that do give the notice don’t comply with the notice requirement, so they haven’t really given an effective notice.  Failure to comply with the notice requirement permits a subscriber to terminate any time, not pay for whatever comes due after the renewal starts, possibly get back any money paid during the renewal period, may be have a claim against you for loss that will not be covered by the contractual protection in the contract that is not unenforceable.  And, if that’s not enough deterrent, when you go to sell your accounts you are going to find buyers unwilling to buy accounts in renewal when you haven’t complied with notice requirements.  That could be most or all of your accounts.
            So what should you do?  Use the Kirschenbaum Contracts ™ because they all have a month to month automatic renewal provision.  Why?  Because month to month automatic renewal is exempt from every automatic renewal statute.  
            Now’s a great time to update your contracts and have your subscribers sign new contracts; contracts you can actually sell for top dollar one day; contracts your central station will accept and your insurance company will accept and thank you for.  

Reaching K&K during the lock down
     During this crisis the most efficient way to reach our attorneys is via email.  You can also call and if not picked up, leave a message and your call will be returned promptly.
    Here are a few departments to contact directly:
alarm / security / pers / fire department:  Ken - or call and leave a message with return number at 516 747 6700 x 301
health care professionals:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum,Esq 516 747 6700 x 302;
Alarm contracts:
  Eileen Wagda 516 747 6700 x 312​
Alarm licensing:  Alison Gallub,Esq 516 747 6700 x 317; or Eileen Wagda, Licensing Administrator, 516 747 6700 x 312
Employment issues:  Kieran Bastible 516 747 6700 x 315; or Jennifer Kirschenbaum,Esq
Concierge Alarm Clients have full access through our Concierge Program Coordinator, Stacy Spector, Esq  516 747 6700 x 304 or 
Collections:  [courts are shut down at this time, so don't expect much progress.  We will however continue to prepare papers on our end so that we will be ready when the courts normalize]  Kathleen Lampert  516 747 6700 x 319
Pending litigation:  Caroline Wallet,Esq  516 747 6700 x 305 and Maureen Biel,Esq 516 747 6700 x 303  MBeil@Kirschenbaumesq,com
Bankruptcy and debt collection issues:  Steve Sheinwald,Esq  516 747 6700 x 309 or Scott Dillon,Esq  516 747 6700 x 318

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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