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mPERS 3G Shutdown for unaware customers
January 29, 2022
mPERS 3G Shutdown for unaware customers
          Here is a question that I think your readers will be interested in.
          With the 3G shutdown looming over the mPERS industry one issue I don't see anyone discussing is the significant percentage of the mPERS customer base that are good-paying but for one reason or another are unreachable.  Sometimes they just don't answer the phone or believe the replacement offer is a scam. Often they do not respond to mail requests either. Since they are "unreachable" they may very well not be aware their device will not work in an emergency, and may not even be aware of a termination notice. 
          How would you suggest companies protect themselves from having paying customers with devices that do not function and preserve their RMR?
Mark Fischer
System Support Specialists
          I think there are two ways to approach this problem of communication between alarm company and customer.  Communication has two meanings, communication between customer and alarm company and communication between the mPERS device and the central station.  In your question both communications are failing. 
          One way to analyze this is by looking at the contract between alarm company and customer.  The Standard Form PERS agreement has several provisions that we can look to.  The customer is required to provide a street mailing address, email and cell phone.  The customer is required to select the cellular communication provider and the alarm company is not responsible for communication failure.  The customer has to obligation to maintain the operation of the device and to notify the alarm company if the device isn’t working and needs repair.  The customer is responsible for testing the device and requesting service when necessary.  There are several provisions insulating the alarm company from liability.  So from a contractual perspective the alarm company is fairly well protected.
          The other perspective is a lawsuit commenced against the alarm company because a customer’s device didn’t work and the customer suffered a horrendous and painful injury, perhaps followed by death; A scenario that would evoke sympathy from any person, including those who may be called upon to judge the alarm company’s performance and culpability and liability. Let’s then boil down the facts to the bottom line:  “Did you or did you not know, Mr. Alarm Guy, that Mrs. Jones’ pers device was not capable of communicating an emergency?”  The answer will be “yes” and then the alarm company will testify to all of the efforts it went to trying to communicate with the customer to update the communication device.  How will that end up?  You tell me; you be the judge or jury? Bad facts make for bad law.
          The updated Standard Form Pers agreement does specify notice by mail delivered by the US Postal Service.  Nothing more is required.  Any form of effort to communicate with the customer should be documented, but be careful to make sure you comply, at the minimum, with the notice requirement in the Pers Agreement.
          It’s probably a good idea to keep track of who is paying for the service and where payment is coming from, especially if it’s a check or bank account of a third person, someone not on the contract.  That is a good sign that the customer is not handling their own affairs and notice should be going to someone else or in addition to the customer.

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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