Question:  What To Do when Sub Cancels Service   
    We would like to know what to do when customers request cancellation of their security alarm accounts “effective immediately” or on some specified date.  They often owe for months remaining on the contract. 
    Is it correct for us to discontinue the monitoring at the central station on the date they request even though we are billing them for the remaining months on the contract?  Or, should we continue to monitor the security alarm system through the period for which we are contractually obligated?
    Our concern is that if we discontinue monitoring on the requested date we are not fulfilling our contractual obligation and we are billing the customer for the contracted months.  If we have canceled the service on a date prior to the term end date, could we have some liability issues if there is an alarm event?
    Thanks very much for helping us with this.
Bonnie R
    Often what you can do, and conversely can't do, is addressed in your contract with the subscriber.  I'll assume you have the Standard Form Agreements with your subscribers [which I know you do].  You frame the question with the additional fact that the canceling subscriber owes you money.  You should know that if the subscriber owes you money that has already been involved or is already owed then that subscriber is in breach of the agreement and you can terminate services if you want to.  But that's another scenario.
    Your subscriber requests cancellation, and may even give you the precise date of cancellation.  You are correct in thinking that your acceptance of these instructions may prejudice your rights on the balance of the contract.  We have many instances where subscribers we are suing for balance of contract claim that the alarm company [our client] allowed them to terminate without penalty.  Most of the time the subscriber has assumed or inferred this by the alarm company's acquiesce of the cancellation notice without comment.  That's a mistake.  Upon receipt of a request to cancel service, either immediately or at a date certain, you should notify the subscriber that there is an agreement that the subscriber remains responsible for.  The Standard Form Agreement contains a liquidated damage provision that requires the subscriber to pay 80% of the balance of all recurring charges for the term of the agreement.  Also, in some form agreements, the subscriber is responsible for 80% of the value of equipment or software.  After you review your agreement and the specifics for that canceling subscriber, you should notify the subscriber that will comply with termination of services but that you expect the contract payments to be made by the subscriber.  You should calculate what's owed and send a final invoice.   At the same time you may as well send it over to my office for collection.
    As far as your concern for liability, there won't be any.  If you are monitoring fire that requires you notify the AHJ of termination of services then be sure to send the notice.  Otherwise, you can simply comply with the request to terminate.  
    If the notice of termination coincides with the termination of the contract term, and you're not owed any money, though not required, I think it's a good idea to confirm termination of services in writing.
Question:  how should you communicate your writing
    What are your thoughts on mailing w/ tracking versus certified?
Jacqueline Jones
    Unless your contract requires that you communicate in a specific way, such as certified mail, over night mail or personal delivery, you can send your notice by regular mail.  Don't waste your time and money on certified mail, registered mail, over night mail.  While you may have proof that you sent an envelop to your subscriber you will still need someone to swear that a particular letter was prepared, put in the envelop and mailed, and that's all you need.  If you want to be more cautious then go to the post office and get proof of delivery to the post office.  That's a lot cheaper.  What's important is that you sent the notice, not so much that your subscriber, who half the time won't accept the certified mailing, got it or read it.
    You can also send by email or fax.  Keep proof of the communication.  If you can get the key pad to flash "no monitoring service" I would also be good with that.