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SimpliSafe out on a limb or smart advertising  / Comment on exculpatory clause continuing in renewal period
August 30, 2019
SimpliSafe out on a limb or smart advertising
         I wonder if the management team at SimpliSafe loses sleep over their yard signs?  They imply clearly that their clients are, quite simply, safe.  If this yard sign thing takes a company down, I’ll be very surprised.
            I was watching a Glenn Beck interview this morning. I saw that Simplisafe had sponsored the show, as they often do. They seem to have eaten much of the available podcasting inventory. This one was different though. Beck says that Simplisafe has solved the problem of false alarms. They are making the claim that police prioritize their signals, unlike other companies. He says that when an alarm is triggered "police assume it's a false alarm and it goes to the bottom of the 911 list. But not with Simplisafe." And Beck says, very specifically, that Simplisafe is the "ONLY company that offers video verification technology."
            What am I missing here? Are they allowed to make claims that are patently false about the industry because it's not defamatory of a single company?
            The claim that SimpliSafe is the only company offering video verification is of course not true.  False advertising that could be harmful to the public should be addressed by the AHJ – Consumer Affairs and Attorney General.  I don’t think this false advertising is defamatory.  Maybe it’s the new pitch replacing that SimpliSafe is the only alarm company that doesn’t require a contract.  There is also a fine line between puffery and false advertising and that’s for the AHJ to determine.  
Comment on exculpatory clause continuing in renewal period from August 23, 2019 article
            I agree with your analysis (like usual) but I would urge a more conservative approach to this issue, even though I have the highest regard for the Indiana court system, whether this approach will be adopted by other State/local courts is far from a certainty.
            When I was counsel to various security companies I always implemented a policy (supported by management) which stated that no contract could be entered into without at least a 30 day automatic renewal period; sales staff was able to sell that concept (in those days a lot of 3/5 year automatic renewal provisions around) on the basis that it not only protected the alarm company but more importantly protected the customer as well. Based on a no renewal clause at the end of the contract period, and unless otherwise specified in the contract, which usually it didn't, the security company could terminate without notice to the customer; especially in fire contracts that would require the security company to notify the AHJ which could have some very negative impacts for the customer; so the benefit of the 30 day renewal is that both parties clearly know where they stand from a contractual basis and it allows for the customer to have time to switch to another company if they so desire or enter into a new term contract with their then current provider; it insures that the alarm company will definitely have the protection of the limitation clause, as well as all of the other "helpful" clauses in the contract, as a contract remains in effect and not have to rely on the very nice opinion of the Indiana court (especially if not located in Indiana) for limitation of liability protection; also, since the Indiana court was dealing with a landlord tenant situation, I have no doubt that, especially in a large loss situation, counsel for the plaintiff could make a strong argument that a hold over tenant in a location which they occupy, so they know they are holding over, is very different from a security contract where the customer may not even be aware their contract has expired;
            in the event the customer refuses even a 30 day automatic renewal, another solution to the problem would be that the security provider makes sure to send certified return receipt notification 30 days prior to the expiration of the contract advising the customer to either sign a new term contract or service will be terminated as of the expiration date-which ever approach the security company follows, it is my opinion that the company must terminate service as of the contract end date to insure they don't wind up providing service without the certainty of the protection of the limitation of liability clause.
Dennis Stern, Esq
            The alarm company should not assume the duty of notifying the customer that the contract has expired.  It’s just one more thing that can go wrong.  If a customer refuses even a month to month renewal the appropriate position is make sure there is no notice requirement.  In fact the contract should make clear that there will be no notice.  The Disclaimer Notice should also address this issue.  It should make clear that when the contract expires, so does the service, without notice.  If this approach doesn’t compel the customer to agree to month to month, consider walking away because this issue is not likely to be the only challenge to the Standard Form Agreement.

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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