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Taking over accounts and getting sued / Continue to collect after system is down / CS 2020 Webinar Series

July 1, 2020
Central Station* 2020 webinar series starts July 13, 2020.  K&K will be hosting webinars by central stations, one at a time, who will address "why you should be using our central station".  Each webinar will be approximately 20 minutes and then Q&A opportunity.  See what your central station has to offer or what others offer, enabling you to choose the right central station for you.  
You should be using a central station listed on The Alarm Exchange to be assured of quality and more importantly, accountability
  *  only central stations on The Alarm Exchange will be invited to participate
Register Now for the CS webinar series: 
AvantGuard Monitoring Centers - July 13, 2020
UCC – United Central Control - July 14, 2020
Rapid Response - July 15, 2020
Dispatch Center - July 16, 2020
Statewide Central Station - July 17, 2020 
Affiliated Monitoring - July 20, 2020
Allstate Security Industries Inc – July 23, 2020
Taking over accounts and getting sued
            Quick Question about taking over accounts
            I see all the time on the TV, cable companies advertise they will pay up to 500 to pay off your cable/internet contract to get you to change companies.  It sounds like they are going after people they know have contracts.  Would this not be a lawsuit as your article reads, since they are fishing for people with legit contracts to steal?  Thanks for all you do for our industry,
Puzzled in SC  
            Recall that I suggested a continuum of conduct that eventually crosses the line to expose the transgressor to liability for tortious interference and may other issues, like deceptive business practices.  But the offer you mention is probably not enough to establish liability.  Why?  
            While the new company recognizes that customers are under contract with another it offers to buy out and satisfy the existing contract obligation, up to $500. Damages for tortious interference or inducing breach of contract, likely will not exceed the contract term.  In other words, while there may be an expectation of continued service [and revenue] beyond a contract term, especially with automatic renewal provisions, it is unlikely that a court will permit such damages.  So the limited time left on the contract is the potential for damages, and that amount can usually be offered to be paid so the account can be closed in good standing.  
            Can you ever recover for more than the term of the contract?  Perhaps.  You may have heard of such cases; maybe had one yourself.  But I don’t think it’s the norm and don’t count on it.
Continue to collect after system is down
            I have seen a few posts related to customers being billed after notification that their system is not communicating, but not directly specific to whether it is residential vs commercial and that the customer is definitely still paying. So here are my questions:
            If a system stops communicating, customer is made aware, bills continue to be sent, payments are still being made (some by automatic payment), something happens at the location, who is liable? Does it make a difference if it is commercial fire system vs Commercial Burg or Residential?
            If you have a specific service and the late to test comes to the operator on that schedule did you need to make notification each time in order to comply with the contract, should an incident happen?
            What steps do you recommend to take to stay within the legal limits and safe from legal ramification?
            The answer depends on your contractual agreement with the subscriber.  I am going to assume you have our Standard All in One.  If so, your subscriber is obligated to continue paying you for RMR services, even if the system is not working, unless you are required to repair it.  Even if you’re required to repair it the subscriber still needs to request the service and allow access, as well as pay for any repair that isn’t covered by a warranty or service plan.
            It’s actually not uncommon for a subscriber to decide the stop using the alarm system but continue to pay off the contract anyway to avoid dispute.  It may be more common in that situation that the subscriber has auto pay in place.  In any event, the contract requires continued payment.
            Your obligation is to notify the subscriber that service is required; that the system is in trouble.  You can continue to collect the RMR that the contract entitles you to.  Of course if you breach the contract you are no longer entitled to be paid.  
            It makes no difference what kind of subscriber or system is involved, except that commercial fire would require notifying the AHJ of terminated service.

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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