Established 1976

  Metropolitan Burglar and Fire Alarm Association
                              New York, Inc.

Suffolk County's Proposed Ordinance: What It Means to Dealers

February 05, 2005 9:48 PM | Alan Glasser (Administrator)

Suffolk County's Proposed Ordinance: What It Means to Dealers
Attorney Ken Kirschenbaum examines some of the subtle points of the proposed alarm ordinance for Suffolk County, N.Y.
Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq.

[Editor's Note: Ken Kirschenbaum, an attorney with Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, a New York law firm that often deals with legal cases involving the security industry, shared his thoughts on the Suffolk County legislation. While this may seem to be a regional issue, the points Ken makes are valuable across the country for all alarm systems dealers.]
Here is the definition of who is responsible for a false alarm (as spelled out in the ordinance): "An alarm owner may appeal the validity of a Notice of False Alarm and request a hearing. The appeal must be made in writing to Consumer Affairs within ten days of the alarm owner having received the Notice of False Alarm."
As I read this definition it could include the alarm company who installed the alarm and leased it to the subscriber. Since I believe the intent of the legislation is to impose the burden on the end user the legislation should be clear in that regard; it's not as presently drafted.
Of course the determination of a false alarm is arbitrary. Leaving that determination up to the department of consumer affairs takes the process out of the criminal justice system, with its checks and balances. The department of consumer affairs is not equipped to handle judicial criminal matters, and this legislation includes the penalty of misdemeanor, which is a crime. The employees at consumer affairs are going to make that determination?
The fine is against the "alarm owner who shall continue to operate an alarm system...." Does that mean the alarm company who owns and leases the system? The term "alarm owner" is not clear enough to exclude the alarm company. This should be corrected to read "alarm end user."
False alarm fines of course are a source of friction between the alarm company and the subscriber. Since the legislation, or some form of it, is revenue raising motivated, you have to believe that it or something like it is going to pass. How should you deal with it?
Your contracts have to be clear that false alarm fines must be paid by the subscriber.
You need to be more careful in your installation and service so that false alarm are not your fault. If you think that a manufacturer is to blame then stop using its product. The subscriber is going to depend on you to install and service the system properly, and will have every right to complain if you don't do the right job and the subscriber gets fined, no matter what the contract says about who pays the fine.
But this is a great opportunity for you to sell alarm verification as a way to reduce false alarms. I'd push CCTV with Internet and central station monitoring.
So let's hope the legislation gets cleaned up. Let's hope that it is handled by the criminal courts and not consumer affairs, that you make sure you have contract protection, that you improve your installation and service and train subscribers better in use of system, and that you sell more verification systems, such as CCTV.
About the author: Kenneth Kirschenbaum, Esq., is an attorney at law with Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, PC, out of Garden City, N.Y. He can be reached via his website,

Just so you know... we put this NEW site on line Jan 7, 2013 and it is STILL under construction.
Please e-mail us back with errors, suggestions, or updates you may have. Thanky You In Advance! Alan.

Disclaimer The information provided at web site should not be construed as giving business, legal, or other advice. Information provided on this web site is intended to allow the public and members of MBFAA access to public and association information. While all attempts are made to provide accurate, current, and reliable information, the MBFAA recognizes the possibility of human and/or mechanical error. Therefore, the MBFAA makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, currency or suitability of the information provided by this web site, and denies any expressed and implied warranty as to the same.

Links to Other Sites
This web site contains links to other sites. MBFAA is not responsible for the privacy practices of such web sites. A link does not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint or accuracy of such web sites.

Metropolitan Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of New York, Inc.
PO BOX 54, Brooklyn, NY 11204-0054
PHONE: (718) 894-6712

Copyright © 2021 /2022 Metropolitan Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of New York, Inc.

"Every Day, In Every Way, This Site Gets Better And Better"
Come back often

Last modified: May 19, 2022 and so far
  HTML Hit Counter
have viewed this page.

3D Animated Flags by

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software