Can Alarm Companies Stop Cable Providers, Telcos From Stealing Customers?

Dear Ken,

It has come to my attention that both Time Warner Cable and AT&T are gearing up to start installing alarms as the latest threat to our industry.

Are there any laws or regulations to prevent them from doing so, such as anti-trust? What can be done? These companies have an unfair advantage and access to our customers. At the very least, it might be business contract interference.

Your thoughts are appreciated!


I believe Verizon has entered the security industry. While it’s natural for any business that works in homes and commercial premises and operates 24/7 to be enticed by the alarm industry, I think these big operations are in for a rude awakening.

If they think that their [rude] automated answering system that bounces you around until it disconnects or frustrates you enough to hang up, or operators who don’t mind putting you on hold for 20 minutes, are going to be tolerated by alarm customers, they need to think again. That’s not going to cut it in the alarm industry because there is a big difference between having phone lines down or lacking cable service and alarm response. I am not going to accept an automated phone when my alarm is activated and I am trying to prevent a false alarm dispatch.

Anti-trust isn’t going to work because the cable and phone companies don’t, theoretically, have a monopoly. However, I am not an anti-trust attorney. These companies don’t really have your customer list and information; they may just have the same customers for different services.

I can understand alarm company owners being frustrated by the prospect of this competition. Perhaps better organized and certainly better funded, except for a handful of alarm companies.

Better pricing and better service is probably going to be the best option to compete.


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About the Author

Ken Kirschenbaum

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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