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who needs to sign contract / lightning damage is not covered August 26, 2017

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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who needs to sign contract / lightning damage is not covered  
August 26, 2017
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who needs to sign contract
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Ken
We signed a new customer ( All In One Residential ) that is a renter of the home. She is the only person on the lease. She now has a live in boyfriend that is not on the lease.  Should he sign as well?   What if she does not want him to sign since this relationship may be temporary or if he does not want to sign and be held responsible for the contract if she fails to fulfill her obligation. How do you keep up with boyfriends and live ins if we never know who may or may not be living in the home or using the security system. She also has a babysitter that comes into the home would she need to sign if she uses the system.
name withheld
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Response
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    It is essential that you have a written contract with your subscriber before you do any type of alarm, security or fire work.  Here your subscriber is the tenant.  She is the one who has the passcode and who pays you, and even if she isn't the one paying you [maybe the owner pays you] she is the one who can call and request service or cancel an alarm.  You don't need a signature from everyone who comes into the house or on the property.  If the subscriber wants them on a call list or authorizes them to cancel an alarm and shares the passcode, that still doesn't require that they be on the contract.  They can be added to the contract, and then you'd have a direct contractual relationship with the boyfriend and others who come onto the property, but it's neither practical or necessary.  
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lightening damage is not covered
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Ken,
    Got a question for you that I hope you can offer an opinion on.
    We have a residential customer who is using our monitoring services.  It’s also new construction, a home that we wired and installed the security system in.  The home experienced a surge of some sort, possibly lightning strike and a number of window contacts were affected and no longer work.  The customer contends that they should be covered under a warranty but our contract excludes lighting strikes (Acts of God) etc.   We have explained that aspect of our agreement terms and that it is not a warranty item but have offered to repair the damage at a greatly reduced cost.  The home owner is not satisfied.   As is often the case in these times, the customer has taken to making claims that we are not honoring our commitments and through social media etc. is venting his dissatisfaction.   He filed a complaint through the BBB which we have responded to  which we know can  work through their mediation process but we are weighing out what would be better for us in the long run.   Do we repair at our cost and hope it resolves things?  Do we allow him to cancel with us without penalty?  Do we allow the mediation through BBB to run its course?   If we repair at our expense does it create precedent that we should avoid?   
      We pride ourselves on being customer driven but also know that agreements we use are there for a reason.   Any input would be most welcomed.
Jaime 
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Response
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    I'm not sure what your warranty and service terms are, unless you use the Standard Form Agreements.  If your contract excludes lightening damage or electrical surges, as the Standard Form Agreements do, then obviously you are under no legal obligation to do the repairs for free.
    Did you offer surge protectors, or just a limited warranty excluding electrical damage?  Did you use a Disclaimer Notice which would confirm that you offered lot more equipment and services?  
    As a practical matter it will probably be cheaper to do the repair than participate in the BBB mediation and monitor and worry about the social media bashing.  Then there's the issue of whether you want to retain the customer and what is the best course of action to do that.  
     You want an opinion,  I'd probably do the repair but make it clear it wasn't covered.  If I got up on the other side of the bed that day, well I might say something else.
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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