Are You Ready to Eat False Alarm Fines?

The city of Flint (Mich.) has decided to enforce a law to fine alarm companies for reporting false alarms. The city figures it costs it $79 to dispatch a cop.

Meanwhile, the Burglar Fire Alarm Association of Michigan (BFAAM) is trying to change the procedure, claiming that fining alarm companies does not encourage end users to fix their alarms.

I have a solution for alarm dealers in Michigan. Read and use the provision in your Standard Alarm Contract that states that the subscriber will hold you harmless and pay any false alarm fines. Just add the fine to your next invoice. When the subscriber complains that it didn’t see that clause in the contract, I hope you can pull out a signed Disclaimer Notice that has another provision to the same effect. You need to place the onus on the city to explain to your subscriber why a fine is being imposed.

How much does the City pay the alarm company when an alarm turns out to be something other than a “false alarm?” Alarm companies should start sending invoices for “reporting a crime.” After all, isn’t that every citizen’s responsibility? Sure, and the police have the obligation to provide police protection.

The BFAAM should charge the city for its savings in personnel. How many more cops would be needed to patrol without electronic alarm? By the way, send the fire department an invoice, too.

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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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