Don’t Shortchange Your Customers When It Comes to Tech Choices, Central Station Selection

Legal expert Ken Kirschenbaum explains why you you need to be sure that you are responsibly performing your services.

Don’t Shortchange Your Customers When It Comes to Tech Choices, Central Station Selection

Should your central station be using redundant route and carrier diverse Internet pipes? I leave the technical issues to others. Whether a central station needs more than one communication path and whether dealers will be answerable to their subscribers if the central station is not up to date in its technology and offering the latest and greatest in its security services, is the question I can address.

All you really need to do is listen to your own advertisements and promotions. Your market and your customers believe you are in the life-safety protection business, and rightly so.

It’s quite a leap from “We provide protection to your family or business 24/7, blah, blah, blah,” to “We are not going to be liable for our own negligence or breach of contract.”

The law supports your contractual protection, and you are a fool if you are not taking full advantage of that contractual protection by using the Standard Form Agreements. However, contracts, as important as they are, are not all you need to protect yourself.

Sure, you need E&O insurance in sufficient amounts of coverage, but that’s not this month’s article. You need to be sure that you are responsibly performing your services. Why would that be necessary if you can fall back on your contract for protection from claims?

Because knowingly and persistently providing substandard services is a good way to end up on the losing end of a lawsuit, definitely if you don’t have a contract and maybe if you do.

Knowingly using inferior products and services that ultimately contribute to another’s damages is close enough to gross negligence to raise concern. It’s one thing if you don’t know, even if arguably you should know.

It’s another thing to actually know and not care, or be willing to risk the safety of your subscribers because you were too lazy to make a move or motivated by your own financial interests.

So, do you think it’s OK to use the cheapest central station if that central station is able to offer those prices because of its substandard services? Do you think you have met your responsibilities because you use an expensive central station, even though you know that the central station does not utilize the best central station monitoring practices?

I can’t opine on whether one or more communication paths is necessary, or which ones are better than the others. All I can do is assure you that someone out there knows, and they will be happy to testify against you at a trial.

The latest technology may not always be the best and is not always required, but you would be remiss in not taking a close look at it and making an informed decision if it does offer better protection, because better protection is something your subscribers expect.

Of course, selecting a central station is only one aspect of your operation that you have to consider. A few other matters that come to mind that you need to consider are:

  • the manufacturer you use and equipment you select
  • how you train your employees
  • how you select your subcontractors
  • what third-party vendors offering interaction and remote access you select
  • what continuing training you invest in for yourself

You need to have adequate answers to how you arrived at your decision in each of these matters. When something goes wrong, the alarm equipment or alarm services didn’t operate to the subscriber’s expectation, you will be justifying your decisions.

Think about it now and if you’re not comfortable with your answers, make changes. When the claim comes you will be asking yourself why you didn’t take the time to reflect on this article and take the time to investigate alternative ways to better protect your subscribers and live up to all that hype you used to get those customers.

About the Author


Security Sales & Integration’s “Legal Briefing” columnist Ken Kirschenbaum has been a recognized counsel to the alarm industry for 35 years and is principal of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, P.C. His team of attorneys, which includes daughter Jennifer, specialize in transactional, defense litigation, regulatory compliance and collection matters.

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