Ken… More about False Alarm Liability.
    Is there a liability issue for suppliers of monitored alarm systems in cities that announce their low or no priority response to traditional alarm systems?  Monitored alarms are often considered to be a “consumer safety product”.  Often advertised and sold as a product for people or property protection. Or imply that help will come when alarm is activated. 
    Los Angeles is a good example of full transparency of the response policy… “Responses to false alarms are a special service rendered by the LAPD. It is a service not used by the general population”...  each alarm response service will be $163, no freebies for any reason, (assume all are false but excused if actual)…alarm site pays fee… police priority is very low or no priority, upward of 40 minutes often several hours, but still owe full response fee. Each customer requires an annual permit @ $30… ETC, ETC.
    Many cities mirror LA but do not have the full transparency.  Consequently, police interaction with private alarms is often lower priority than interaction with the general population.
Lee Jones
Support Services Group
    Your question raises an interesting and issue.  I think alarm companies can increase their liability exposure by advertising and promoting alarm response systems that the alarm company knows will be ineffectual, at least for police response.  The alarm contract will disclaim responsibility for police response but with the right set of horrendous facts print and website promotional material may very well incriminate an alarm company despite contractual disclaimers.  The Disclaimer Notice would be helpful in this type of situation.  If you know police response is delayed and going to be charged then you should point that out to the subscriber with at least the same prominence you promote police response to your alarm signals.  
    This does not require a contract change because the Standard Form Agreements already contain sufficient disclaimers.
    Always a pleasure reading your newsletter and finally after two years I bought most of your contracts and feel a sense of relief as I use them. I wanted to ask what do you mean by hope they had insurance? What type of insurance should they have that would have covered legal fees? Last time I went to court on a legal matter concerning another business my legal fees were over $80,000 so If I can have certain types of insurance that would cover legal fees that would be great if a situation where we need counsel. Any suggestions?
    Thank You.
    Alarm companies need General Liability with Errors and Omissions coverage.  See The Alarm Exchange for a list of brokers and carriers that know the industry and the necessary coverage.  If your broker is not on the list, find out why.  I suggest you contact one or more brokers on the list.
    On the garage door issue, [responding to comment by Howard Sharpe] you have indeed “changed or modified the approved / designed operation of the GDO” if you “simply install a device (relay) to simulate a human pushing the garage door control button.”
    The approved garage-door button is installed AT the garage door to ensure line-of-sight operation. Likewise, the manufacturer’s remote control, per age-old UL requirements, is intentionally limited in range, again to ensure line-of-sight operation. So remote, unattended operation is most certainly not an “approved/designed operation of the GDO.”
    Imagine the remote operation of a motorized pool cover. Although I can’t find the reference, I believe these devices require press-and-hold operation to close. Simulating the press-and-hold motion for unattended operation would be a very bad idea.
Julie Jacobson
editor-at-large, CE Pro
co-founder, EH Publishing