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Video and audio in therapist’s room / Lease to buy and single RMR charge on new contracts
December 12, 2020
Video and audio in therapist’s room
            A client of ours is a behavioral therapist; he wants us to install a surveillance camera with audio in his private meeting room. We would like to know how to go about it.  We are in New York, if that matters.
            What would be our next step to make sure we cover ourselves legally?  Do you have a consultation fee?   Or do you have a standard contract of yours you would recommend I buy? 
            You can install the device.  You would use the Commercial All in One.  You should also use the Disclaimer Notice.  I recommend that the camera be readily visible, not covert.  The Commercial All in One already provides that it’s the subscriber’s responsibility to use the device in a lawful manner; you could emphasis that in your Schedule of Equipment and Services and in the Disclaimer Notice if you like.  
            You shouldn’t be giving legal advice to your customer.  Most alarm company owners can’t [and their staff] can’t help themselves, so they do provide some advice.  Sometimes it’s even the right advice.  In this case, because you’re in New York, a one party state, the therapist, who is a party to the conversation, can record it.  A therapist would not however be permitted to leave the room and covertly listen in or record two people left in the room unless they consented to the mechanical listening and recording.  Consent can be in the New Patient Sign Up forms that every patient is required to sign.  
            Also keep in mind that your customer may be subject to HIPPA regulations; you are not because you are not a health provider.  HIPPA may have rules on recording and certainly has rules on storage and protecting confidential medical information. Again, this is not your concern.
            The video is less regulated and the prohibition is usually that someone’s image cannot be used for commercial purposes; in a medical or quasi-medical setting images should not be used without consent.  This is also not your problem, but your customer’s issue.  
            In today’s NY Post there is a story of some idiot getting arrested for placing his cell phone in a woman’s bathroom stall to view and recording activities.  Hopefully your therapist client will make more judicious use of his video and audio devices.
Lease to buy and single RMR charge on new contracts
            How and where would we note that after leasing equipment for X years the system can be bought for $XXXX ?  
            On the updated Commercial All in One [also on the Residential All in One] there is a line about “in lieu of above”.  Can you please explain to me what that line means and examples of what fees would be added. 
            Lease to buy; forget it.  Lease to buy is a disguised sale [though not so disguised].  It’s a conditional sale – if buyer completes the payments it gets to own the property.  This kind of transaction was replaced with the sale together with a security interest in the collateral which can be recovered if not paid for.  
            The problem with lease to own is that you will have to comply with truth and lending laws because interest will be imputed and some calculation will have to be made.  Once you have a Retail Installment Sale other consumer laws kick in.
            You should be using the Commercial [or Residential] Lease All in One.  In that lease there is no right to buy the equipment and in fact the equipment is always owned by the alarm company unless the alarm company elects to sell the equipment to the subscriber for the Agreed Value provided in the lease.  This is how you should structure your transaction for the customer who wants to lease the system.
            The “in lieu of” language you refer to is in the All in One agreements.  Those agreements provide line items for RMR services, including monitoring, repair, inspection, etc.  Each RMR line item calls for a separate RMR charge.  After all of the line items there is an option to provide for just one RMR charge that covers all of the RMR items checked above.  The idea is that separately charging for each RMR line item will afford opportunity for higher total RMR; i.e., the sum of the parts will be greater than the single number would be.  However, some alarm companies prefer to quote a single RMR charge for all included services, so the All in One agreements offer that option.

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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