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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32775
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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I am in process of opening a store in Palm Beach, FL. On the

Customer Question

I am in process of opening a store in Palm Beach, FL. On the 8/13 I received the visit of an agent of ADT offering to sell the alarm services. I already had all the equipment needed (left by the previous tenant). Then he told me that I would need to pay just a monthly fee, no installation charge. Based on his information I understood that the contract could be cancelled anytime.
The day after the installation the alarm apparently detected an intrusion and I received a call from them. I was already home and I drove to the store, about 30 miles, to find that it was a false alarm. I spoke with the customer service and the lady scheduled for Saturday 10am an over-the-phone check-up with me that would fix the problem. She scheduled it to happen Saturday 8/15. Nobody did. As the alarm went off again on Monday, I spoke with customer service and the person kept me waiting for 10 minutes while she was trying to schedule the visit of a technician. After that time I disconnected the phone, waiting for her to call me back, as she had all the details of my account including my cell number. She never did. On Tuesday the alarm went off again and I asked to transfer the call to the Supervisor of the Customer service dept. I told her my story and she apologized for the situation and told me that she scheduled the technician visit for Tuesday of the following week. I told her it was not acceptable because: 1- if security is important as they claim I cannot be without the alarm for another full week or 2- the security is not important and therefore I don't need the alarm.I told her that I was going to cancel the contract. On Wednesday I called the sales person and told him that I was going to cancel for the reasons above. He told me that he would send a technician in two days and he would confirm this morning. He didn't. After 1pm I sent him a message telling that I was going to cancel the contract. I called ADT and ask them to cancel it. They told me that the contract is a 3-year contract and if I cancel it I would have to pay $1,600. I could never read the contract because it was not a paper document. It was ion his tablet and I signed it digitally on the tablet. After 5 to 10 minutes of talking he told me that he received the information that the technician is scheduled to be in my store tomorrow and he will give me 2 months free of charge (September and October).
Unfortunately I can't trust in a company like that and I want to cancel the contract. What should I do in order not to have it cancelled without being charged?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

Unfortunately, there is only one route here that may work.

Hire a local attorney to write them a letter explaining that they have violated the terms of the agreement by failing to provide a service that is reliable or to correct the problem within a reasonable time and therefore you are rescinding the agreement. They can also go into the fact that you didn't see the contract and weren't provided a copy.

If that doesn't work then the only option is to sue them for breach of contract and ask the court to grant you a rescission of the contract as well as your attorney's fees. If there is anything that is reported on your credit report you can also ask the court to order them to correct it or you can even ask your attorney to ask the court to issue an injunction at the beginning of the case preventing them from reporting anything until the case is resolved.

Most attorneys have dealt with security companies or internet providers or some other provider who has similar issues with long term contracts so it won't be hard to find someone to take the case. You can go to www.lawyers.com and under area of practice enter "consumer law" or "civil litigation".

There is really no other way to resolve the matter, assuming they won't just agree (which they won't) because there is no governmental regulatory agency that controls them or which will handle a contractual dispute like this so you have to go to the courts.

If your question has been answered completely then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This looks like a medicine that will cause the same damage as the sickness. Attorneys are expensive and the court is unpredictable. With ADT I can at least receive a service (bad or not) and I will pay in installments. The amount of money does not justify it. What about consult with the Attorney General for the Florida state? I am 70 years old and in some situations I get protected by being a senior citizen, I think.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, what about the small case court?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

You can certainly report it to the AG but it is really just a contract dispute and they aren't going to be able to take any action. Your age likely won't make a difference since it is a business contract and the issue is that you don't believe you should be bound by the contract and they believe you should be. ADT is one of the bigger services and there is not going to be anything fundamentally illegal about their contract. The AG doesn't get involved in contractual disputes, just cases where the contracts are illegal or fraudulent or a business practice is fraudulent.

Small claims court is limited to a $5000 total in Florida. Normally if you are trying to get the contract declared void or rescinded then you have to look to the total amount of the contract over its entire term. While they may have said the penalty is $1600, if you are going to pay more than $5000 over the entire term of the contract then you can't use small claims court. If the amount of the entire contract is less than $5000 then you can use small claims court but ADT will be represented by a lawyer so you have to be prepared for that.

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