Forensic Tip of the Month: Cover Yourself for Each Service Offered

SSI contributor Jeff Zwire shares why integrators should never use burglar alarm contracts for CCTV surveillance systems.

When designing and installing CCTV surveillance systems, and then providing remote viewing capabilities and other services to your customers, it is vital your connection and interface are done properly. This is not only due to the functionality and reliability requirements of the system(s) you were contracted to install, but also liability concerns in the event your system fails; or your connection and/or interface fails or negatively impacts the customer’s overall computer network.

Remember, never use burglar alarm contracts for CCTV surveillance systems, and avoid homemade contracts. The last thing you want to do is have no contracts, contracts that are outdated and/or contracts that were not drafted by lawyers who specialize in our industry.

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In fact, you should have properly drafted contracts for each service you provide – purchase, lease, inspection and maintenance contracts; three-day notice of cancellation documentation; certificate of completion and acceptance forms and work orders – all incorporating in the critical legal protections and limitation of liability, third-party indemnification, waiver of jury trial, limitation on actions, subrogation waiver provisions, and the like. If not, then you should not be providing these services.

Likewise, you must verify that each service is disclosed to and covered by your insurance policy. Use an insurance expert who specializes in our industry. Should facts in such a claim be favorable to you, that combined with proper documentation and methodologies provided by your company may be defensible and help protect you from liability and/or minimize the litigation risk.

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About the Author


Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, FACFEI, CHS-IV, SET, CCI, FASI&T, MBAT, writes Security Sales & Integration’s “Security Science” column. He is also president of IDS Research and Development, an alarm and security consultation, expert witness and training authority providing nationwide services on all issues related to alarm and security matters. He can be reached at (201) 287-0900.

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