Terminating an alarm company contract early

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We recently moved from a rental house in the Seattle area where we had Protection One alarm service. We were approximately 15 months into the 3 year contract. They are billing us for the remainder of the term, nearly $700. Needless to say, I would prefer not to pay for service we will not be using. Has anyone had any experience terminating such a contract early, particularly with Protection One?
Thanks
Dan
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Dan wrote:

I'm sure there are terms in the contract covering this. You need to find that contract and read it to learn what you agreed to. Could be they're trying to get more than they're entitled to, but isn't the first thing on my thought list.
Assuming it is what the contract says, you don't have much of a basis for anything, but you might try and see if they'd accept a settlement for half, say. After that, you can just walk I suppose, and make them come after you, but when they do you will definitely lose and end up w/ collection costs besides.
If it doesn't give them that right, then you show them what it does say and pay that...
Seems pretty straightforward to me -- read the contract.
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...

I'm not disputing the terms of the contract, I'm asking if anyone has had a similar experience with this or another alarm company.
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Dan wrote:

If they have a contract, what difference does it make? They can choose to enforce it at their pleasure. I can see wanting to somehow get out of coughing up $700, but if that's what the contract says and that's what they're asking for, don't see you have much recourse. Guess you could give the contract to an attorney and see if there's something in it that could give you a right to break it, but one would presume they had a team of legal beagles draft it initially. If there were a widespread issue here like a class action suit or somesuch, I'd expect an internet search would turn that up quickly...
imo, ymmv, $0.02, etc., of course...
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Soooo, then you DON'T have any direct experience?
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It appears to me that (a) he *does* have experience with contracts in the real world in general, and (b) you don't.
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Your opinion of my knowledge of contracts is baseless (as well as irrelevant), since I have expressed no opinion on the contract. I merely asked if anyone has had this PARTICULAR experience, and what came of it.
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You don't seem to understand that other persons' experiences are similarly irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the terms of *your* contract.
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Wrong. If there is a history of this company in particular or the industry in general adjusting these claims if someone bitches enough (as companies will often do in consumer relations), and I learn this from several others who've had the same experience and had them do so, that is knowledge I can use to my advantage. ONCE AGAIN, that is what I was asking for, NOT amateur lessons in contract law.
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Dan wrote:

As Doug notes, I do have experience w/ contracts enough that I don't sign things w/ such onerous penalty clauses. (It's a primary reason I've never got a satellite service because I won't accept the terms of the agreements they propose and it's never been a high-enough priority to try to negotiate something I would/could agree to.)
So, no, I don't have a direct experience w/ whichever company it was you asked about, no, but I don't need that to know what the options are if, indeed, the contract has those terms in it. I would assume they're enforceable unless an attorney can find an "out", as suggested before, or they would voluntarily accept a settlement or there is some general class action or other order from a State AG or similar against them that would be effective in your local jurisdiction.
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You will need to read (and understand) the contract that you signed. You did keep a copy, right? Three years sounds like a long time. My father once told me, "Never sign a paper that you don't understand."
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Phisherman wrote in message ...

I don't think understanding the contract is the problem in this case. I think he doesn't want to pay what the contract states. At least that's my take.
Cheri
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Dan wrote:

I have no such experience; however, I know that similar contracts - those calling for a service to be rendered in the future - have not been upheld when the service cannot be provided for any reason...you dying, you moving...
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dadiOH wrote:

My understanding has been those have been for service, not cancellation charges. I still think it depends on the terms of the contract and his best bet is to ask either local legal advice or his State AG's office if there's an out for these types of agreements...
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It's probably doesn't make financial sense to hire an attorney, but the AG thing is a good idea. Thanks.
Dan
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The AG may be a good idea if the office has somethingb helpful to say, but if they don't have something helpful, it doesn't mean much. They are not your lawyer and they mostly know about illegal activities, and not about all the arguments that will win in court.
You'll end up talking to a clerk, not a lawyer, and even if a lawyer, he won't have the time to go over all your options or possible arguments. The alarm company is not doing anything illegal by writing a contract that favors themselves. That doesn't mean a court will enforce it, or that they won't settle for less than the full 700 to avoid fighting about it, and paying their own lawyer's fees.
I'm not suggesting anyone get free service with this kind of argument, but if you can't work out some substitution, you'll be getting no service, so it's reasonable for them to compromise. If they had a month to month rate, maybe that amount plus finally offer another 50 dollars, or 100, in addition to the monthly rate minus what you ahave paid.

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mm wrote:

That's not the purpose in calling them -- the point is to find out if their office has made any declaration against a particular firm in general in the pertinent jurisdiction. It's the kind of thing OP is hoping for--that, or a class-action suit or some such.
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I didnt' want him to perhaps overestimate what you had said.
I said that it's good to call them if they have something helpful to say, like you mention here, but if they don't have anything, that doesn't mean he has no alternatives.
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I'll have to agree with the other poster who suggested
1) Try to get the new tenant to take over the payments
2) Try to get it transferred to your new home (congrats BTW)
You might see if the previous tenants are/were paying for it at the same time you were. You might have a case if they were charging twice for the same service. And FYI, just because something's in a contract, doesn't always make it legal (though I'm guessing it probably is).
TV/radio stations often have a consumer advocate, who loves to bust big companies who take advantage of the little people. Contact them.
Warn the new tenant, so he doesn't fall into the same trap.
If it's not too late (and if it's legal), remove the alarm company's stickers so no one else falls for it.
Good luck.
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Thanks for the reply. I don't see that happening, but I have asked the landlord if he knows if they have activated the system

Thanks, If I had been thinking, that's what I would have done. Unfortunately, the new house had a system by ADT, so I just activated that.

Agreed.
Not a bad idea, especially if it turns out the new renters are also paying.
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