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liability for video monitoring verification / false alarm fines / No contract and going out of business April 10, 2018

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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liability for video monitoring verification / false alarm fines / No contract and going out of business
April 10, 2018
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At the ISC show?  Stop by to say hello
  
April 11:   Affiliated Monitoring suite (Bellini 2006)  1 -2 PM 
                 Rapid Response Monitoring booth  2 -4 PM
                 
April 12:  Stages luncheon 11 AM.  For central stations only
                COPS Monitoring booth:  1 - 2 PM
                All American Monitoring booth:  2 - 3 PM
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liability for video monitoring verification
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Ken,
    We are working on Video Verification integration, to bring in a recorded video clip that our operators will review in addition to the actual burglary alarm. We know there is a potential for our operators to “miss” something in the video clip, so we want to beef up our contracts.  I believe we’ve purchased an 
All-in-One contract from you years ago.  Has that contract since been updated to address video verification?  If not, is there another contract you have specifically for Video Verification?
Thanks,
Chris
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Response
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    Cameras is big business for the alarm industry.  Long time ago I would get calls from alarm dealers telling me that all they do is burglar alarm systems.  Now I get calls that all they do are camera systems.  Camera systems come in many varieties:
  *  true CCTV with NVR on premises for self viewing
  *  CCTV accessible through the Internet 
  *  Cameras that are professionally monitored, either 24/7 or upon activation of an alarm
  *  Cameras sending video clips upon activation of the alarm, professionally or self-monitored
    The use of video clips for alarm verification is an existing technology and, in my opinion, it's going to only increase in popularity.  It could, and should, replace ECV [enhanced call verification - calling premises on phone for verification].  
    If you bought the 
All in One Agreement [residential or commercial] more than a few years ago, the contracts did not address cameras and video services the way the contract do now.  How could they, the technology was not there, at least not to the average dealer.  The 2017 edition of the Standard Form Agreements did address video, and the updated 2018 edition continued refinement.  If you are using a form dated before 2017 you need to update.  If you are not offering cameras, you need to if you want to remain relevant and competitive.  If you go to the next level and use video for alarm verification you are offering the latest security.  Are there increased risks?
    One way to answer is that the more you offer and the more you do, the more potential risk you have.  How so?  Well you install an intrusion system; your subscriber expects to be protected from burglary.  You add a smoke detector; your subscriber expects to be protected from smoke and fire.  A CO detector; water detector; temperature control; you get the idea.  Now you offer cameras, not just for "peace of mind", or recording events for after the fact investigation, but to confirm an alarm condition.  Without confirmation of the alarm condition presumably the central station operator will not dispatch, at least not in a timely manner.  
    Viewing a video clip may not be conclusive and may require some interpretation. That's where there is potential for liability.  It's not as cut and dry as receipt of an alarm signal.  Of course video clips can also quickly confirm unauthorized entry and presence on the premises, which is the purpose of video clip verification. 
    The 
All in One Agreements cover cameras, cover verification and cover remote access, as well as all current technology that you likely sell, install, service, inspect and monitor.  But technology is changing fast and your contracts need to stay updated to keep pace.
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false alarm fines
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Ken
    User fines being billed to the company for payment, etc. Can you confirm that most alarm contracts (or your contracts) have a provision that allows the companies to legally pass back fines that they may receive for customer actions related to their system.
    Is this a simple question to answer?
SM
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Response
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    The 
Standard Form Agreements all provide that false alarm fines are the responsibility of the subscriber, and that the subscriber is required to indemnify the alarm company if the alarm company is charged with the fine.
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No contract and going out of business
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Ken
    I have a simple question. I have an account with no contract and I no longer want them as we are no longer friends and they haven't paid any monitoring for almost two years now.  Is there any law stating that I need to give them notice or a period of time before I turn off monitoring?  Can i just turn off monitoring?
    I already told them I can no longer monitor their account because of non payment and I'm probably going out of business.  
    So please give me a little advice. I just want to wash my hands and walk away from this headache.
Thank u
no name
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Response
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    Alarm companies going out of business is rare, though I suppose if you don't use contracts and monitor accounts who are 2 years in arrears, you could be the poster child for 
How To Drive Your Alarm Company Out Of Business.  
    There is likely no law that prevents terminating the monitoring, though certainly you could be monitoring some systems that would require, legally or morally, notice, such as fire or  environmental alarms.  You have no contract with this subscriber and I doubt you are monitoring a life safety system, so give notice to the subscriber, setting the date and time monitoring will terminate, and no notice to any AHJ needed.
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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
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com