Simplisafe Warns Customers About Alarm Fines

By: Ari Erenthal, Published on Mar 17, 2017

Simplisafe markets themselves as a 'better way' than traditional professional alarm companies.

However, in one key way, Simplisafe hides the alarm permitting process from their marketing material, only making it clear after the system is purchased.

In this note, we examine Simplisafe's approach and contrast it to the permitting process with traditional professional alarm companies.

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Simplisafe *******

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Simplisafe ****** *********** ***** *********

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***** *** *** ********* **** Simplisafe's approach.

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Comments (12)

Counterpoint: I was curious, so I asked multiple ADT customers if they knew permits were required in their municipality (they were all local, so I know that they are, in fact).

None of them had ever heard of an alarm permit. And I'd find it hard to believe ADT did it for them, considering there are typically fees involved, and personal information for contacts. So is this just a Simplisafe problem, or an industry issue?

I'm curious how intrusion companies normally go about this. Is there a clause in their proposals putting it on the customer? Do they go so far as to directly discuss it? I'm interested to hear what folks here have to say.

ADT will send you a link to the permit application if the county or town requires it.

Vivint does it for you and the user doesn't have to take any action.

 

 

We actually fill out the paperwork for the customers that live in cities that require them.  If they do not send them in along with their check.......

In my area, I would venture that 95% of resi systems either aren't registered or don't meet the registration/license criteria.

From: Who Displays Residential Alarm Permits?

Some of the first things I do when receiving a call from a new customer, to install a system, is to make sure I have an active business license in the municipality where the customer's home or business is located.  Your contractor's license and/or state alarm license does not mean you can skip the business license.

Next, I check the alarm ordinance, whether they have one, and what the requirements are for the alarm company.  Do they require an SIA CP-01 alarm panel?  Does the alarm company file the application for the customer? 

I've had customers who asked me to repair or upgrade a local (not monitored) alarm and they are adamant about not registering their alarm with the city/county. I've turned them down because the local jurisdiction penalizes alarm companies for working on unregistered alarm systems, regardless if they're monitored or not.

Also, when meeting with the customer I have the alarm ordinance and application in hand, printed from the municipality's website, which I give to the customer.  In my contract I mention the alarm ordinance and who's responsibility it is to secure a permit.

My quote always mentions whether an alarm permit is required and who's responsibility it is to register the alarm.

I've had customers who asked me to repair or upgrade a local (not monitored) alarm and they are adamant about not registering their alarm with the city/county. I've turned them down because the local jurisdiction penalizes alarm companies for working on unregistered alarm systems, regardless if they're monitored or not.

How is that enforced?

It's one of those instances where I would not like to find out. 

Reading some of these ordinances, I've found that many are different in many ways.  I had one municipal ordinance that required the alarm company to email, fax or contact the police department each month with a list of ALL their customers in their city.  I did that for several months and finally  I emailed the officer handling the alarm permits and asked about the necessity of monthly lists of ALL customers.  She told me to discontinue this practice.

The city's that penalizes alarm companies for installing, upgrading or repairing an unregistered alarm have steep penalties.  How would they enforce this?  Possibly this way; the alarm triggers, sounding an outdoor bell or siren, the homeowner is not present, a neighbor calls the police.  If it is a false alarm the homeowner will be fined for operating an unregistered alarm, requiring them to fill out an application, the application usually asks who installed or serviced the system, and when the system was installed.  This is where my exposure to legal issues can be problematic.

Under the same scenario, the alarm turns out to be a real event and police reports are generated, these reports are routed to the person enforcing the alarm ordinance who makes inquiries and, ultimately, I am in the loop.

I don't think it is worth it for the alarm company to ignore this requirement.

I'm curious if businesses like Simplisafe obtain a business license from each municipality in which they sell alarm monitoring services?  As a licensed contractor, I have to maintain a business license in multiple jurisdictions just to monitor my customer's alarm systems.  Is Simplisafe, and others like them, held to the same requirement?

Or, if Simplisafe is monitoring through a major Central Station, are they maintaining annual business licenses in each jurisdiction where their customers are located?

Simplysafe uses COPS monitoring station and COPS is nationwide which maintains all the licenses and permits for each states.

So, are the licenses held by COPS, in all 50 states, business licenses? Or just a state alarm company operator license?

In addition to my state alarm company license, and contractors' license,  I'm required to hold a business license in every city and county where I have monitored customers.  Are these big Central Stations required to do the same?

Delaware has a statewide permitting agency called Crywolf. We have to sign each customer up with them online and they provide a permit number, and thats it. No fees associated with signing up but I think how it works is the police send records of false alarms to this company who tracks this and fines the customer after a certain number of false alarms. 

If a subscriber is unlucky enough to miss or ignore the email, they run of fines or even jail time.

Cellmate #1: Whaddya in for?
Cellmate #2: Burglary job, and you?
Cellmate #1: Burglary install job.

 

 

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