We have a question about your Fire All in One agreement which we purchased in January of this year.
    If we have existing agreements in place (the one we used before we bought yours) and we want your agreement to supersede the prior one and/or we want to use your agreement to send out when the prior agreement is at renewal time, and we send the Commercial Fire All in One agreement out BUT we never receive it back signed, even after numerous follow ups (not uncommon), BUT the customer pays us and lets us perform the monitoring and functional testing (all our customers are commercial, we don’t do any residential work). We are trying to determine if we are covered by the All in One terms and conditions if we don’t receive the signed agreement back IF:


  •         If we add the following bolded, increased font verbiage to the front page of your All in One, does it constitute their acceptance of the terms in the all in one agreement?


  •        If we resend the All in One with our invoice at renewal time or at a normal billing time so we can have your all in one supersede the existing agreement does it constitute their acceptance of the terms in the All in One agreement?

    We know it is always the best course of action to get an agreement signed before we do any work. Our primary concern relates to monitoring with an existing customer. We’re already performing the monitoring when we send out the All in One to supersede the prior agreement and don’t get it back signed.  Are we protected by one of the aforementioned options?
Best Regards,
Johanna B
San Antonio, TX
    Very timely question considering today's Webinar by Jeff Zwirn.  Perhaps he will opine during his presentation.  If you're not registered yet for today's Webinar then get to it now.  Link is above.  And don't forget about the other Webinars in the series - sign up for them too.
    You recognize that the best course of action is to get an agreement signed before you do any work, and that includes monitoring.  In your case you do have an existing agreement in place which hopefully covers the services you are providing, has acceptable protective provisions, and is extended by enforeceable automatic renewal terms.  If not then you risk performing services without a contract.
    Will the measures you mention somehow substitute for the provisions in the All in One or will the Court deem the All in One signed or terms agreed to?  That's a big risk to take since you're only going to find out after your subscriber suffers a loss, sues you and a Judge then decides.  While the same may be true regarding your alarm contract provisions, I think you have a better chance with the contract provisions agreed to in advance; at least that issue is resolved.  
    There are cases where courts enforce a written contract that has not been signed but has been assented to in other ways.  A letter or email referencing the agreement perhaps.  But in your scenario all of the confirmation you mention is coming from you, not the subscriber.  Therefore the subscriber's claim that it never agreed to your All in One contract or its terms, or in fact even knew about them, will make it difficull for you to rely on those provisions.
    Getting your existing subscribers to agree to and execute a new agreement isn't always easy and some marketing strategy would probably help.  You may want to offer a free system survey, some upgrade discounts or some other promotional item or service.  Something to make it worthwhile for the subscriber to sign a new contract.  Sometimes letting them know that your insurance company or your lawyer requires the new contract will work, but not for everyone.  Threatening to terminate service is also not a particularly popular or effective strategy since there are too many competitors willing to risk working without a contract.
    But just to rap up, you should get the contract signed.  If you can't get it signed get something in writing from the subscriber that it agrees to the contract and its terms.  Remember, the acknowledgment and consent or assent needs to come from the subscriber, not you, so repeated references to the contract on your invoices isn't enough.
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