ALARM CO. OBLIGATION TO REPAIR FROM DEC 11 2014 ARTICLE
I see where you were going with your answer but it falls short in stopping the alarm company liability for knowingly continuing to bill and collect for a service it can't provide.
The contracts are all well and good, but from a defense stand point should a loss after the discovery of the system failure and inability to timely gain access to repair it occur, the appearance of the alarm company continuing to take the payments gives the subscriber a real platform to criticize or challenge the unfairness or uncaring of the alarm company.
My suggestion would be to default the customer under its contract for breach caused by the customer and immediately accelerate the liquidated damage provision in a collection action.
Moving in this direction may cause the customer to grant access and maybe pay for the service call if not covered by warranty, but at the very least it will show great fairness to a court that the alarm company is not willing to take money for nothing and is rightfully owed what is contained in the contract. Before you respond consider that the loss may be significant or horrendous
Bart A. Didden, Executive Claims Manager
Security America Risk Retention Group - SARRG
The issue is, should alarm company continue to accept [in fact demand] payment from the subscriber even if it knows the alarm is not working? Should the central station continue to accept [in fact demand] that the dealer continue to pay the central station even thougt it knows that the dealer's subscriber system is not communicating with the central station? Should Alarm.com and other vendors like it who charge monthly for its services accept [in fact demand] payment from dealers for its services when subscriber systems are inoperable and the vendor services cannot be provided, temporarily or permanently?
Sounds like an easy issue from an ethical perspective. But it's not. Why. Well for one thing you don't have enough information. The original question that started this discussion concerned a subcriber of 4 years who knew its alarm system was inoperable, refused to repair it and continue to make its monitoring payments.
The issue presented presupposes that the alarm company [or central station, as the case may be] actually knows that the alarm system is inoperable. But the resolution of the issue is blurred with the additional information. Does the alarm company have an obligation to provide any service to the system, or is its service limited to monitoring? If it has a service responsibility has it requested access to the premises to make the repair, or attempted to resolve the repair remotely?
Factual presentation makes all the difference. In the original question the subscriber knew the system didn't work and didn't want to pay to repair it. That's a decision the subscriber has a right to make. If the alarm contract is properly worded, as the Standard All in One forms are, the subscriber has to continue making payment. Bart's suggestion that the alarm company default the subscriber and accelerate the contract might work, the Standard All in One does require the subscriber to keep the system in repair, and when there is a service contract notify the alarm company. But a subscriber could easily explain that it doesn't use the system, doesn't want to invest in repairs, doesn't want to be held in default and therefore will continue to make the payments for the duration of the contract term. Legally, ethically and morally I don't see why the alarm company can't accept [in fact demand] payment.
Bart thinks I accept money for nothing too sometimes. Have Merry Christmas everyone.
HERE WAS MY ORIGINAL RESPONSE ON DEC 11 2014
I am going to guess that you have a Monitoring Contract but no service contract. However, the monitoring contract requires you to render operable the Communication System. You don't have to repair a detection device that doesn't permit the system to arm, but if you believe the problem is in the communication you should be able to determine if it's wear and tear or some other reason that would not be your responsibility. For example, if the cable company came in to convert to VoIP and forgets to connect to the panel then it's not your obligation to perform the repair without charge.
There is really more than one question raised. Is the subscriber refusing to pay you for a repair or is the subscriber refusing to permit you access to make the repair? Whatever the case you need to document the fact that the system is not communicating and that you're willing and able to make the repair so the system is operable, either at no charge or for a charge, and that the subscriber has refused to permit the repair. Once you do that you can continue to collect the RMR which the subscriber still owes under the contract.
My concern here is not so much whether you'll have to return the RMR if the subscriber wakes up and realizes the system didn't work even though payments were made, but that a loss occurs and the subscriber claims you were being paid and should have performed the service - and that you should have done whatever was necessary to make sure the system worked so you could perform your monitoring service.
This problem well illustrates how subscribers and alarm companies arrive at different conclusions regarding their respective obligations. The Standard Form Contracts - especially the All in One forms - help alleviate the confusion. Every service you perform or offer is separately itemized and then separately charged for. There shouldn't be any confusion whether the subscriber signed up for service of the equipment and what's covered by service.