I'm sorry we don't provide service for...

... customers with a past due balance.

Typical timeline: Day 1 9:45PM Them: We can't arm the alarm. It must be broken... Us: Ok, bypass the problem zone and we will stop by to fix it in the morning. Day 2 10:00am Door contact torn off dooor replaced. Day 3 Time unknown. Customer invoiced.

Day 35 Past due notice sent. Day 65 +/- Past due notice sent Day....

Day 120 + Them: Can you tell us about the activity on our alarm? Us: Sure this should answer your question. Oh by the way, you have a past due invoice and we don't perform service for anybody with a past due balance. You might want to take care of that before anything else comes up. Them: Oh, we didn't know there was a charge. We thought all those statements marked urgent payment information required were just our monthly activity reports. We will take care of it right away Us: Ok, Thank you.

Day 160-180 +/- Them: (message left with service) The alarm is beeping. Can you fix it?

...five minutes later Us: (After checking alarm history) Hmmm low battery.

Call 1 Premise: Busy Call 2 Premise: Busy Call 3 Premise: FAX MACHINE ?!? Call 4 RP 1: Voice mail full Call 5 RP 1: Voice mail full (verifiy number with directory services) Call 6 RP 2: Disconnected Call 7 RP 3: Don't work there anymore.

Check accounting system for any alternative numbers. Hmmm... Customer has substantially past due balance. Oh, well they will call back when it gets too annoying.

Day 190+ Sent past due notice. With note. "We are continuing to receive 'low battery' signals from your alarm system. We would be glad to stop by and take care of that for you, but we do not perfrom service for customers with past due balances. Plase pay your past due balance and schedule service to replace your low battery."

Day 200+ on Sunday morning. Them: The alarm is beeping can you fix it. Us: You have a low battery, but unfortunately we do not perform service for custoemrs with a past due balance. Them: Oh, I thought we took care of that after I talked to you last time. Us: Sorry, we have not received it. Hence why you have received several past due notices since then. Them: Oh, well is there anything you can do for us? Us: (subvocalized) You want us to do weekend (overtime) service for you for a problem you have had for several weeks even though you have a past due balance that you have deliberately ignored for 2/3s of a year? Outloud: I'm terribly sorry, but we do not perform service for customers with a past due balance. You can call us on Monday to settle this isue. Them: Well its beeping. Is there anythign I can do to shut it up? Us: With that particular panel the only way to permanently stop the beeping (and still have an alarm system) is to replace the bad battery. Sorry. Them: Can you help us? Please give us a call on Monday to take care of the the payment issue and we will be glad schedule a time to replace your battery for you.

Back and forth period.


Ring Ring (CID says same client) They can go to voice mail Ring Ring (CID says same client) They can go to voice mail Ring Ring (CID says same client) They can go to voice mail Ring Ring (CID says same client) They can go to voice mail

Never left message with voice mail.

Maybe they will call on Monday and make arrangements to pay their bill, and maybe they will call some other alarm company to change their battery. That would be nice. I can write them off as a bad debt and they can be somebody else's collection headache.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
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Following is an alternate solution which has worked for one small alarm company in the past, typically on a Sunday morning or during the middle of a holiday weekend.


Them (with 90+ days past due balance): "The alarm is beeping. Can you help us."

Alarmco: "Certainly. We'll be right over. We will need to have your check for the past due balance plus the service charge for today's visit plus the price of the battery when we arrive."

The response was invariably affirmative. On one occasion the client tried to duck when the service man arrived, pretending he had to "run to the store" and would be right back with the check. Alarmco told him to call when he got back and they would return to fix his alarm. He sat down and wrote the check.

Other than that the few times alarmco had to do this the check was handed over upon arrival. Technician wouldn't even bring tool kit from the truck until the check was in hand though.

One time a customer paid for a service visit with a rubber check. Alarmco called him several times at his store to inform him the check had bounced. His wife / business partner would always insist he wasn't around but she'd "give him the message." This got a little old so after a month or so alarmco called him at home. The wife again answered. Alarmco explained they were about to cancel the monitoring service and would no longer service the system.

Client, who supposedly wasn't home at the time, got on the phone and began cursing. Alarmco offered to disable alarm and cancel the debt. Client said, "Go ahead. I don't give a #### what you do."

Next morning: Client opens door to store and horn sounds immediately. Client enters code. Nothing. Enters code again. Nothing.


Client: "Hello, this is [client]. I need someone to service my alarm."

Alarmco: "Sure thing. There will be a fee of $70 for the service visit PLUS the past due balance PLUS the $30 returned check fee."

Client: "No problem. I have my checkbook..."

Alarmco: "Fees are payable in cash at the time the technician arrives."

Client: "[jiminism deleted]... Oh, alright! When can you get here?"

Alarmco: "would you prefer an afternoon or morning visit?" :^)

Reply to
Robert L Bass

As a 3M Canada service center, we often get calls to check out drive-thru intercom systems... and those drive-thrus are notoriously bad with paying their invoices. Most times we get shuffled back and forth between the franchisee and the head office debating over who has to actually pay for things.

So most of them are now > Following is an alternate solution which has worked for one small

Reply to
Matt Ion

Do they get a monthly bill for monitoring? Do they pay it?

If they're not paying their monitoring bill, would you consider (in this case) to remotely re-program the panel to not call you anymore (because they're a dead-beat) and hence leave them un-monitored? Or might that lead to a law suit if they got broken into?

Taking this further, what if the panel signals some trouble such that it can no longer work properly - but the customer thinks it's still working? Would you perform service on it to get it working - even if they're a dead-beat? If you don't, and there's an intrusion that is not detected, they might sue you.

I'm just wondering how service or monitoring outfits deal with the possibility of a law suit in cases where the owner is a dead-beat (and he gets broken-into) while necessary maintainence (or even monitoring) has been withheld because of a past-due bill.

Side tangent:

Is it normal for monitoring and service companies to be the same outfit? If not, then does the service company get paid by the monitoring company? Seems that would be better than getting paid directly by the customer.

Reply to
Alarm Guy

As a matter of course, whenever anyone wishes the monitoring disconnected, or in rare cases, is disconnected for non payment reasons, I always send the party a registered letter advising them:

1- Of the exact date of disconnection, giving them 30 days notice to find another supplier 2- I no longer provide ANY kind of service or warranty whatsoever on their equipment, even at a service charge. 3- I advise them that it is in their best interests to advise their insurance company of disconnection of monitoring service to ensure that they don't find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to make a future claim when their insurance company has not been collecting the proper premiums, and 4- Thank them for their business, and invite them back at some future point in time.

When I can, I also dial in and delete all relevant station receiver information and turn the dialers off.

Only once did I have anyone refuse the registered letter and it was returned to me by Canada Post and held in the clients file (just in case....).


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...after they pay a healthy deposit or several months' service up-front.

Reply to
Matt Ion

I feel for ya. I haven't a single client that's over 45 days... I consider myself "blessed"... 85% are automatic withdrawl... Works wonders for the "bottom line"...

Reply to
Frank Olson

Oh yeah.....


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