CAA Prevails in Securing Exemption From Senate Bill
The California Alarm Association (CAA) has secured a blanket exemption from a senate bill that would have prevented automatic renewals for California alarm contracts.
The legislation, SB 340, requires any business making an automatic renewal or continuous service proposal to clearly disclose terms of the offer to the consumer and obtain their approval. The CAA argued that existing regulations already govern the alarm industry in this area.
Jon Sargent, CAA past president and industry relations manager for ADT in the West, tells SSI the legislation was broadly written and initially intended to regulate the automatic renewal of magazine subscriptions because of consumer complaints.
“It wasn’t targeting the alarm industry, but because of the way it was written we got caught up in it,” he says.
However, the alarm industry is already regulated through the Department of Consumer Affairs via the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.
“The main foundation we came up with was the alarm industry must always have an alarm contract enforced for service,” Sargent says. “We’re already regulated here. The renewal contacts are necessary to protect the customers.”
The alarm industry is one of the few industries that received exemption from the bill.
Electronic Security Association (ESA) is urging alarm dealers nationwide that have disputes with customers over the automatic renewal of contracts to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the customer. Efforts to appease customer complaints are necessary to avoid any potential consumer-driven legislation in the future.
ESA expects the renewal issue to arise in other states throughout the 2010 legislative season and is calling on industry personnel to voice their concerns when new legislation is introduced. According to Sargent, if the industry doesn’t provide the feedback, it will suffer the fallout.
“You have to be in the game to play,” says Sargent. “You have to be involved in your state or regional alarm association and within the ESA. Whether you are a large or small company, if you aren’t involved, you don’t really have a say and you can’t do any constructive work in legislation on your own.”
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