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verifying you're dealing with someone who has authority / customer changes name / fraud claimed
July 31, 2018
verifying you're dealing with someone who has authority
    Question for you. We have a commercial building we have a Commercial All in One agreement with for monitoring and access control. 
    The building manager just relayed to me that the person who originally signed the contract is no longer with the company and to remove him. 
    We have been working with this building manager for quite some time so they have the ability to make changes and such; however, I'm not certain if we should call that person who was the original signer to confirm that they are no longer with that company?
Megan Ingala
Watchmen Security
    Call the person who signed originally? No, but get verification that you are now dealing with a person with authority. You do that by calling your subscriber's business; perhaps the person who called you to let you know of the change in personnel. Ask for the change in personnel in writing, on the subscriber's company letterhead. 
    Accepting a change in contact or request for passcode changes or any changes, for that matter, could be risky. If the person making the change lacked authority you could be in trouble. Just image taking a phone call and shutting down monitoring, or opening access controlled doors, or ignoring fire signals, all requests initiated by a person with criminal intent.       
     You have a right to know who your customers are, and you have a responsibility to know who they are. 
customer changes name
    I have a client who has officially changed its corporate name. Do I need them to sign new contracts?
Matthew De Gennaro
    A change in name would not require a new contract. It's the same entity, only with a changed name. But be careful and make sure that it truly is a name change and not a new entity. If it's a new entity then you do need either a new contract [the better choice] or an assumption of the old contract.
fraud claimed
    A commercial customer claimed we defrauded him because he was not aware of the term when we had him sign a new agreement in the fall of 2017 for the new opening and closing service he requested. He never paid for the services and 6 six months later he went with a new company. Moreover, he was a long-term client who signed those agreements several times over the years. Can we hold him to the contract?
    Fraud is a very serious charge and it's thrown around a lot more than it should be. It connotes almost criminal intent; criminal conduct. Customers often seek to avoid the contract by claiming they were fraudulently induced to sign the contract. That's what your customer is claiming. You have not provided any facts that would support a claim of fraudulent inducement, and I doubt there are any such facts. What would those facts look like? A salesman who said it was a month to month contract and didn't give the customer a chance to read the contract. A salesman leaving the term blank until after it was signed and then filling in a term longer than discussed. [or any term - the contract should not be altered after its signed without written consent]. 
    Let's assume that no term was discussed. You presented the contract and the customer failed to read it or just didn't notice the term, but signed the contract. If the "term" was a mutual mistake, then the contract can be avoided or changed.      But if it's a unilateral mistake, a mistake by the customer only, it's binding. 
      Whether you should try holding this subscriber to the contract raises other considerations and issues. You describe the customer as "long-term" customer, so I am guessing this is a contract you intended as a renewal contract. Maybe you didn't do any new work; all you did is continue monitoring, which you would have done under the original contract as it renewed month to month. Technically you can hold the customer to the new contract, but you may encounter some resistance if there was no "new" consideration. Even a price drop would constitute additional consideration. For $125 filing fee we could commence an arbitration and see how it goes.          
     Send it over to our collection department. Contact our Head Paralegal Kathleen Lampert at or 516 747 6700 x 319 for assistance and to get started.
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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
516 747 6700