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?
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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."
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...
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
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