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Does alarm company need specific disclaimer if customer wants to do own repairs /  ISC happenings  
March 24,  2022
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Does alarm company need specific disclaimer if customer wants to do own repairs
          A quick question on a problem that is happening more and more often; the following refers strictly to residential systems only.
          We are getting new and long term customers calling us to challenge our pricing for alarm parts and batteries for hardwired or wireless devices and stating they want to save money by doing most everything themselves.
          They do not want to incur a service call charge. They want to replace end of life devices but more often, batteries for wireless devices, with batteries or equipment they are buying online.
          Up until now we have persuaded them to let us do our job, but some are becoming adamant that they can do it themselves.
          Is there a disclaimer rider we can get these people to sign stating we cannot be responsible for proper alarm functionality if they take it upon themselves to service their alarm systems and not let us do our job?
          Thank you again for your time and daily insight.
Ralph Aiello
A long time subscriber and concierge client
          The issue that strikes me as a threshold issue is, what responsibility does the alarm company have for repairs and continued operation? 
          Let’s deal with “continued operation”.  That sounds a lot like maintenance to me, and you will not find the word “maintenance” in any Standard Form Agreement, and for good reason.  Far as I know alarm companies provide repair service upon request, even if it’s the alarm company letting the customer know that the system needs repair. 
          Alarm companies don’t just show up and want to check the system out, unless of course the alarm company is performing Inspection Service.  Unless specifically provided for Inspection Service does not include any repair service.  It might include some “preventative maintenance” but that would be specifically itemized and my argument would be that the overall purpose of the visit to the site is Inspection, not repairs.  If the inspection reveals the need for repair that would not be included in the inspection service.
          So there is no “continued operation” obligation.
          What about repair service.  The Standard Form Agreement, the All in One, provides two options for repair service, 1) a repair service pre-paid plan with service RMR, or 2) a per call relationship whereby the customer pays for each service call, whatever is required. 
          The RMR paid Service Plan does require the alarm company to provide the repairs that are included in the plan, which would be ordinary wear and tear, but only require service outside ordinary wear and tear if the subscriber agreed to pay for the service. 
          The per call option for service does not require that the alarm company provide any service at all, even if service is requested by the subscriber.  Also, the subscriber is required to pay for all service at time of service, but again, only if the alarm company agrees to provide that repair service.  On the other hand, the subscriber is not required to call the alarm company for service and is free to call any other alarm company for the repair service or it the repair himself.
          And that brings us to the issue at hand, what about the subscriber performing his own service on the system?  There’s no issue as long as the All in One doesn’t provide for a Service Plan and the reason for that is that if the subscriber doesn’t repair the alarm and causes more damage the alarm company isn’t going to be willing to make the repair without charge. 
          If the subscriber performs a service and leaves the system inoperable or causes effects the operation of the system, perhaps jumping out an opening, it’s going to be the subscriber’s liability, not the alarm company’s liability.  I don’t think you need to divorce yourself from an account just because the subscriber insists on doing some or all of the repair work.  Your Alarm Contract should be clear what you are required to perform and what your exposure and liability is for that performance.  If it doesn’t then you’re not using  a Kirschenbaum Contract™.

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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