What Are the Legal Concerns When Implementing ECV?
The following discussion among central station managers addresses enhanced call verification (ECV). Central station procedures do not have to be spelled out in your monitoring contracts, and can be changed from time to time. Reasonable procedures, and especially those that comply with accepted and customary trade practices as well as local authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) requirements, are implied in the contractual relationship and expected by the end user subscriber. Here are a few of the comments:
I have read many stories about adopting ECV. What are the legal concerns for alarm companies? Are others just mailing letters with a change of policy date and changing policy over the phone? Are companies having the customers sign new contracts with ECV indicated on them? It seems our contracts protect us, but what are others doing? Please advise.
Florida was one of the first states in the nation to mandate ECV three years ago. We immediately went ECV for all of our dealers — inside and outside of Florida. We notified our dealers of our move to ECV along with the benefits — reduced false alarms and fines, more customer contact and higher level of service, etc.
All dealers were in agreement. Customers took to it immediately. We had a few that disagreed — banks and others who deemed that they had high exposure to losses — but when advised of the opportunity to reduce false alarms and fines, it was no longer an issue. ECV makes sense for all parties.
We notified our customer base with their client verification form mailing adding a short information blast in a colored strip stapled to the form and asked them to indicate the numbers they wanted listed as ECV (if any) directly on the verification form, sign it and return it to us. This did not change globally for all accounts only accounts that indicated their approval (which most did) for ECV calls. Most of our customers were grateful for the chance to save on false alarm fines and even with ECV apprehensions are still happening.
We had five arrests this month and each account had ECV numbers as well as the premise so the few seconds it takes to call an ECV number does not add much to the handle time.
We implemented ECV last winter and early spring after seeing the success other companies and had with it. I decided to turn it into a marketing campaign as we had just upgraded and totally revamped our website. It worked quite well with a little under 75 percent of the customers going with the ECV option as well as cutting down on false dispatches to the police department. I would recommend that you follow the SIAC guidelines for it (i.e., burglar only).
First, most of our monitored customers are more concerned with false alarm fines than security, so they were/are happy to comply with ECV.
Second, when we implemented this many years ago, we sent out letters and emails to all our customers with their invoices. We continued to follow-up with any who did not comply, mostly by individually stuffing a special reminder (on yellow paper) with their invoices.
We have only a few monitored customers to cannot comply for various reasons. We see no need for contractual changes.
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