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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 116143
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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Researching to see if my current security monitoring contract

Customer Question

Researching to see if my current security monitoring contract is legal in CA. I do not owe for any installed equipment, but am still bound to 100% of the total contract. No buyout or liquidation, simply the entire contract. So I am trying to find out if what they are doing is legal or if we have some form of recourse to lower that amount. We have a copy of the contract.
JA: The Consumer Protection Lawyer will need to help you with this. Anything else I can tell the Consumer Protection Lawyer before I connect you two?
Customer: That's the gist of it. I have a copy of the contract which will tell them everything they need to know.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Consumer Protection Lawyer about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
What specifically do you think is not legal about it?
You can upload a copy of the contract?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Attached is the contract. Normally there is a buyout clause or liquidation... a percentage of the total we would need to pay for early termination. After speaking with their management, I was told they have no such thing and we are liable for 100%. We do not own any equipment from them and the amount on this contract does not cover any physical equipment that was provided to us. The contract is for service only. They claim it's pre-sold to a monitoring company up front and no buy out is available. I did a bit of research on my own and it seems like there are some protections in place against this... for excessive contract liquidation costs to protect the consumer. We offered them to pay a percentage of the contract, even a high percentage, but their stance is that's not an option and that it's 100% or nothing. So I am trying to find out from an expert in the field if that is legal, as I have seen articles about lawsuits filed against ADT for similar practices. At this point it's more about principle. We are willing to pay a reasonable amount to cancel a service we won't be using anymore for the next 2+ years. But they want 100% or nothing. Are there any consumer protections against this kind of practice? Binding someone to a service only contract for 3 years without any option or clause for early termination outside of 100%? The only clause in the contract for 90% is due to death/sale of home. We already had a fully completed 3 year contract with them that was paid on time for 3 years, and this is simply a renewal they caught us on while busy and not paying proper attention. So while I understand we signed and agreed to it, I wanted to know if any consumer protection existed against it, as not having any option for early termination of a service only contract doesn't seem reasonable. Thanks for your input. Please let me know if you can make out the attachment ok.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It is not true that "normally there is a buyout or liquidation clause." In fact, there is no CA law saying there has to be any type of termination provision in this type of service contract. The contract DOES have a cancellation provision. The cancellation provision of paying 90% of the total is not illegal under the CA code. Here is the CA Consumer Affairs page so you can see there is no requirement that they have to allow you to even cancel the contract. http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/alarm_companies.shtml
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the information. If that is the case, and there is no protection against this, then I have my answer. I found online articles listing suits filed against ADT for charging too high a cancellation for contracts, so I thought it was something that had protection. If there is nothing else we can do, then I'll start looking into other options. Thanks
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
There were suits filed against ADT for contracts that were not in conformity with the business and professionals code. The problem is in CA that when people read the contract if they agreed to those terms and the contract is in the form proscribed in the law, the consumer is stuck with that contract. Here the contract follows the law, which means you have to seek to negotiate with them or to transfer the contract to a new owner if you are selling the property.

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