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William B. Esq.
William B. Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 3229
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing individuals and businesses.
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Thank you for taking my note! Our Home Alarm system sold

Customer Question

Thank you for taking my note!

Our Home Alarm system sold us under the belief that the company's rep was covering everything we needed to consider when signing up. He was very very commanding of the situation. We trusted him. He had assumed that our old company had a three year lease. However, he did not ask us to get the paperwork to find out nor did he get on the phone to speak with our other alarm company.
Came to find out from our old company that they did NOT recv the handwritten note that our rep supposedly sent to them stating that we were switching companies.
As a result, the old company told me when I called to make the final payment that I had a contract to pay for because I was breaking it! I told them that the new alarm company
had promised to pay for the remaining balance of the contract if there was any.

The old alarm company said they had not been contacted to disconnect service and they would continue to bill us monthly OR we had to break the contract and pay up.

We called the NEW alarm company and told them that the OLD company was not going to release us from the contract without our paying for the remaining two or three years which came to $1,030.00
The new company does not want to take responsibility for not reviewing our old contract and for not calling the old company to find out if there were any stipulations we were not aware of--such as an extended contract.

Not only that but the old company told me that I had renewed my three year contract over the phone for another two years! And that I had done that in 2011--not long after the death of my former husband. I had called one day to make a complaint about a window they had neglected to secure with equipment--actually the tech they hired did not make the window operational.
I went unprotected for one year! The company would not reimburse me by giving me one free year since that was the time they had failed to secure the most vulnerable window in the house!

Neither company wants to take responsibility for taking advantage of me at times when I was trusting them. The first company never should have gotten me to renew another two years when I was upset--I did not even sign anything! I do not think they have my voice on the phone. All I have is their word for it!

I want to take my case to small clains court or find a way to settle this problem. My present husband and I are considering calling the bank and having the auto-charges/auto withdrawals blocked.

Would you advise us? We appreciate your help so very much! God bless you! Deana and Tim
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

CalAttorney2 :

Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. I would like to assist you with your legal question today.

CalAttorney2 :

If you were told something that was false, that caused you to enter into a contract, that was a fraudulent misstatement.

CalAttorney2 :

The fact that you were told by a sales representative that the termination fee would be paid so that there was no out of pocket expense is a material misstatement. If you relied on this statement in making the decision to purchase the new service and they failed to provide that termination fee, you would have an actionable statement for fraud.

CalAttorney2 :

The only issue that may possible occur is that the additional fee was not included in your written agreement. This is likely not determinative of your case as the verbal statement was key (and more importantly was not contradicted by your written agreement). The company itself is bound by the oral statement of its agent the salesman.

CalAttorney2 :

To enforce your rights under a cause of action for fraud, you can file a claim in small claims court. California's small claims court allows for claims of up to $10,000.00. The following are the links to helpful publications by the California State Courts, and the California Department of Consumer Affairs:


http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm


http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/


 

CalAttorney2 :

I hope that my answer was of assistance to you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you for your business!

William B. Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 3229
Experience: I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing individuals and businesses.
William B. Esq. and 5 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Bill, for wading through my unedited letter! Your information was very helpful. As I was skimming through it I was speaking with representatives with Vivint Alarm Systems. I had proposed that Vivint, and the sub (?) company for whom the rep was a go between (?) and the representative/sales person--that we all take responsibility for the mistake for ethical and moral reasons. To do that we would all pay 1/3 of the 1,030. that Monitronics wanted for me to pay so that I could then be released from the contract.


Thanks be to God--AND to YOU the parties involved agreed to do the right thing so that the business relationship could be maintained and we could more importantly learn a good lesson AND feel good that we had treated each other in a manner that honored our humanity. That touched my heart!


 


I then told the parties I would like to get back to them tomorrow to discuss the final solution. The reason I gave was that I wanted to speak with Monitronics. You see, Monitronics signed me up verbally over the phone for another extended two years. This was in 2011. The verbal agreement was made when I was under duress. I had made the call initially to rep[ort to Monitronics that the most vulnerable window in my house was left unsecured for one year! They did not take responsibility by offering me a free year--to make up for the year they had failed to secure my home. Instead they offered some free technology that did not make up in cost at all for the one year...They sent out a tech which I was made to pay for to install the new equipment.


Then, they asked me to extend my contract for two more years. I do not remember this because I was so emotional about the year my house was unsecured. Monitronics said I verbally agreed to renew and extend the contract. I can't believe I would have done that--but they clain they have a recording of my voice! I wonder if they ever sent me a copy to sign re: this matter. I do not think they did!


It would be wrong for any of us --Vivint, the Rep, and my husband and myself to pay for the breaking of the contract at all--for the two year extended...And I think Monitronics should make good on the one year they did not fulfil their contract and protect me.


They made me believe that I had no recourse and the best they could do was to give me more technology equipment.


What would you say to that, Sir? Thank you so much for your help! I appreciate you very much! Deana


 

Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The extension is most likely valid. While the condition that you agreed to the terms under were less than reasonable, I do not believe it meets the legal definition for duress.

Similarly, the issue with their failure to provide adequate security for your home is not actionable (only because you did not suffer any loss due to such a failure). To create a valid cause of action you must show damages.

The company should have done something more to recognize the fact that they didn't deliver what you were paying for, but there doesn't seem to be a cause of action.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the info, Bill. The new company has talked about the fact that under Ca law they believe that the old company should have given me a copy in writing re the verbal agreement.


 


There is literally no proof that an agreement was ever made at all.


 


In a few minutes, I will speak to the first company and ask them if they will send me a signed copy of the agreement to extend.


 


The issue of the year my house being poorly monitored is no longer an issue for me. The point you made is clear. I also realize it is an issue separate from the other complaints.


 


Getting out of the contract, however, could be a reasonable expectation of mine because as it appears the former security company is amiss to say the least--it is their word against mine--unless of course, as I said they can provide legitimate proof that I made the agreement.


I guess my question to you would be, am I correct in asking for written proof--a document with my name signed by me?


Is a verbal agreement strong enough? Or would they have to prove that they at least have a recording of my voice?


 


Thank you! Deana

Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Dear Customer,

The oral extension agreement is almost certainly valid. So long as the company confirmed that you were the individual responsible for the account at the time that they spoke with you, and that the provided a clear and concise statement of the terms of the extension, the agreement will be enforceable. (The issue of the voice recording is not really an issue, it may be used as evidence if the issue is pushed to a court proceeding, but it does not necessarily make the agreement more or less enforceable).

This is only a review of the statutory provision, review your contract with the old company, there may be additional requirements within the contract that require an an extension to be in writing.

If the new company believes that there is a code, statute, or policy that makes your agreement unenforceable, they should make the effort to cancel the contract (after all they are the ones that said they would take responsibility for canceling the old contract without a fee to you, and they are responsible to you for any costs associated with the cancellation).

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