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Help: How to rescind Grand Alarms Ltd. monitoring service?

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  • Jan 23rd, 2012 9:02 pm
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Apr 21, 2004
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Help: How to rescind Grand Alarms Ltd. monitoring service?

My builder, Rosehaven, contracted the alarm system to Grand Alarms and damn, I signed the Agreement in June 2010 without having read the contract's terms and conditions. The reason I signed it was because Grand Alarms was the one tasked to install conduits and speaker rough-ins, and I was thinking all the terms and conditions had pertained to payment/non-payment and the contractor's recourse as the lady representative did not give me or my wife time to read the contract in detail but had even told us we can discuss about the alarm system at a later time. It was my mistake for not having done proper due diligence but here's where the problem lies:

The lady we dealt with, Victoria, said, at the time of the meeting:

that the equipment will be ours once the contract term is over but the agreement says it will remain Grand Alarms

that contact length can vary from I believe 1 to 5 years but this agreement says it's enforceable to 5 years

that it was okay not to have a landline but now the agreement does say it will require one. I've been on VOIP for the last two years and am not switching back to land line, just for the monitoring services.

Because the alarm system is free to use for 1 year, courtesy of the builder, is there any recourse or way for my wife and I to cancel this contract? Closing date isn't until November 3rd but then Grand Alarms had already installed the equipment. We were only at the home site for PDI last week but we never saw the equipment being installed or tested. The builder would not have been able to provide the 1-year free monitoring service had Grand Alarms not installed the proper equipment. So can this argument be used to rescind the contract, i.e. it was the builder who gave us 1 year of monitoring service for free and so installation of the equipment would have been necessary, the problem is the other 4 years down the road?

I'd rather rescind the contract now than have to live with the 5 years with this service provider since what the representative did is horrible by fudging what she knew was stated in the agreement just for us to sign


For people previously in similar situations, is there any way I can rescind this agreement? I've read through them now and the fee included is $25 + taxes /month.

It was really my mistake for having believed what we were told verbally (my wife the witness) but I'm quite surprise the lady had misrepresented the terms of the contract to get us to sign it. Can we seek a lawyer or some organization to null the contract? The problem I see is that the contractor can take the equipment off and leave dry walls in bad shape.

I think there's been a few RFDer who skipped Grand Alarms' service. I am hoping some of you can help us.

Thanks in advance.
18 replies
Deal Guru
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Feb 24, 2003
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First off, I would contact Victoria and explain the situation to her. I would also remind her about your initial conversation and see how she reacts. I realize that this will be a very stressful situation but you need to stay calm, maybe even a little passive. Just listen to what she has to say and then explain your situation and suggest possible solutions that would benefit both parties. You may have to go so far as to ask her or her supervisor how much it would cost to terminate the contract and keep the equipment. This will allow you to keep the drywall intact and let you choose an alarm company after you move in.

I would also recommend that you make notes of who said what during each and every conversation and/or meeting you have with respect to resolving the issue.

Good luck!

Edit: You may be able to use the fact that Victoria misrepresented the terms and conditions of the contract to have the contract terminated.
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audit13 wrote:
Oct 28th, 2010 10:43 pm
First off, I would contact Victoria and explain the situation to her. I would also remind her about your initial conversation and see how she reacts. I realize that this will be a very stressful situation but you need to stay calm, maybe even a little passive. Just listen to what she has to say and then explain your situation and suggest possible solutions that would benefit both parties. You may have to go so far as to ask her or her supervisor how much it would cost to terminate the contract and keep the equipment. This will allow you to keep the drywall intact and let you choose an alarm company after you move in.

I would also recommend that you make notes of who said what during each and every conversation and/or meeting you have with respect to resolving the issue.

Good luck!

Edit: You may be able to use the fact that Victoria misrepresented the terms and conditions of the contract to have the contract terminated.

Thanks. I will give the company a call tomorrow but it's likely Victoria will not be picking up the call. I'll talk to the other representative who called me.

Termination as per contract is payment of 75% of the fee over the life of the contract but the contractor maintains ownership of the equipment. The lady either was very ignorant about the terms and conditions (doubtful) or blatantly lied to us by saying that the equipment becomes ours after the contract ends. I was surprise as she said it didn't matter whether it was a 1 or 5 year contract and this didn't make sense to me since there's cost involved in installing the monitoring equipment.

There was really misrepresentation as she said we could talk about whether to go with the alarm or not in a subsequent time. Three things that were material to the contract she had misrepresented clearly and most likely she was aware of this. Thinking it was a harmless contract because we were having conduits and rough-ins done, I gladly signed off on it.

If anyone can point me out to an organization that deals with unethical business behavior, my wife and I would surely appreciate your help.

EDIT:

Found this. The issue is about buying off the equipment outright as no money has been provided for service yet (barring those other conduit and rough-in upgrades that been fully paid for) since the first year monitoring is free (though I don't think I want to take advantage of that).

http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/C ... _File.aspx
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If it were me, I would not mention that you may use these misrepresentations as a means of terminating the contract when speaking with the company's representatives. I'm sure that this company has encountered this situation before and probably has a standard line of defense to such a claim.

If the contract were terminated as a result of the misrepresentation without compensation to the alarm company, they may demand the return of their equipment which would mean opening the walls of your home. This is why I highly recommend a negotiated settlement whereby you purchase the installed equipment at a reasonable price.
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audit13 wrote:
Oct 28th, 2010 11:13 pm
If it were me, I would not mention that you may use these misrepresentations as a means of terminating the contract when speaking with the company's representatives. I'm sure that this company has encountered this situation before and probably has a standard line of defense to such a claim.

If the contract were terminated as a result of the misrepresentation without compensation to the alarm company, they may demand the return of their equipment which would mean opening the walls of your home. This is why I highly recommend a negotiated settlement whereby you purchase the installed equipment at a reasonable price.

Those are good points and I'll keep them in mind.

Anyone know what a reasonable amount would be for the entire monitoring system?

I'll probably write Ministry of Consumer Services around the same time too to get the complain formal and in writing. To the Ministry, I will of course mention the representative's misrepresentation.
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Any idea on what was installed (i.e. number of door and window sensors, smoke and CO2 detectors, keypads, wireless remotes, etc)?

I renovated my home and my General Contractor had an alarm company install the equipment without a monitoring contract because I paid for all of the equipment and installation up front.
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Or should I raise the issue of misrepresentation so that I can take it to the next step with the Ministry of Consumer Affair? My wife and I were present and she concurs that although not verbatim, those were what she heard too from the representative. I would not have signed had I known we would be locked for 5 years, not get ownership of the equipment after the contract ends, and would need to add a landline when I don't have one currently (been using freephoneline since Feb 2009). Anyone have experience with the Ministry and have been able to force the other party into a mutual win-win agreement?


Individuals violating certain sections of the act are liable to a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment of up to two years less one day. A corporation can be fined up to $250,000.
--> this should be enough deterrent for Grand Alarms not to rip the equipment of my home.

Filing a Complaint

Follow these simple steps to file a complaint:

1. Review your rights to find out whether you have a complaint that falls under our Ministry’s authority.

2. Write a complaint letter to the business to see if they can resolve the problem for you. Remember to keep a copy of your letter and proof of delivery. It is also a good idea to keep records of any other communication you have with the business.

3. If you are unable to resolve the complaint with the company, contact us for help. You can either:
* Call us: 416-326-8800 or 1-800-889-9768; TTY: 416-229-6086 or 1-877-666-6545;
* Submit your complaint online, or
* Download and complete a hardcopy of the complaint form and mail, fax or e-mail it to us at:

Ministry of Consumer Services
Consumer Protection Branch
5775 Yonge St. Suite 1500
Toronto, ON M7A 2E5
Fax: 416-326-8665
E-mail: consumer@ontario.ca
[OP]
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audit13 wrote:
Oct 28th, 2010 11:28 pm
Any idea on what was installed (i.e. number of door and window sensors, smoke and CO2 detectors, keypads, wireless remotes, etc)?

I renovated my home and my General Contractor had an alarm company install the equipment without a monitoring contract because I paid for all of the equipment and installation up front.

I may look stupid in front of everyone on RFD since the schedule of equipment was on the first page of the two page agreement but I was told to sign the agreement so that the other stuff (conduit, speaker rough-ins) can be installed. Also, we were not walked through the various clauses and was just asked to sign and was told we could defer discussion of the alarm system and whether we wanted to subscribe to it at a later time. Had I read the whole agreement in front of the representative, I would have realized she was not telling the truth about major aspects of the service offerings. :(

Not a whole lot if you ask me, though I have no experience in alarm systems. How much would these cost roughly including mark up? Grand Alarms would not have installed any extras, that I'm sure of.
  • magnetic contacts on delayed front door
  • magnetic contacts on rear door
  • magnetic contacts on main door leading from home to garage
  • magnetic contacts on all main floor openable windows
  • magnetic contacts on all basement openable windows
  • one multi beamed, dual element, pulse count, passive infrared motion detector
  • one internal siren by master control panel
  • one digital keypad
  • one 8 zone master control panel upgrade to power master control panel with self contained digital communicator
  • auxiliary standby, rechargeable battery, one 16 vo
lt AC transformer

Weird thing is, right underneath this list, it says:

At the scheduled date of installation, the subscriber agrees to provided a standard voice telephone line (which may just mean the CAT5 cable) and electrical outlet required for the operation of the alarm.
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Sep 3, 2007
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OP, this probably does not help you, but for others, so they don't fall into this trap.

I remember not too long ago when my builder had Grand Alarm called me to meet with them for these services. I remember RFDing Grand Alarm few days before my appointment and had read all the things I should know before signing anything. I walked in, told them where I wanted the 3 cable and 3 phone outlets for my house, which were included in the price of the house and walked out. I only initial and signed the floor plan where I marked those outlet positions.

Mind you, later, when the guy from Grand Alarm came to do the work during construction, I was able to pay him directly and did all sorts of wire and vacum run as I needed at over 90% savings.
Deal Addict
Apr 2, 2007
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Personally I would now go to my builder and indicate that you want their assistance with voiding what you have signed due to misrepresentation. You could indicate jokingly that unless this gets resolved to your satisfaction you will give the builder no leeway whatsoever concerning the building of your house. If you get no satisfaction tell the builder you are plan on hiring a representative to attend the walk through on your behalf and to deal with all PDI's and to ensure all construction is up to snuff. Builders and their supers hate dealing with these external reps as they tend to cost them time and money correcting items most homeowners just live with.

The builder has a stake in this as they probably have the bulk of items put in at no or minimal cost by Grand Alarms who are looking to build their monthly income billings.

The builder will have more clout than you.

I would also request my lawyer to write to Grand Alarms and your builder indicating the items misrepresented indicating you want the contract voided and returned to the 1 year free use. The main purpose of getting it documented by your lawyer this way is hopefully the company will not respond which if you then sue down the road in small claims court will indicate they didn't deny the misrepresentation and this might sway the SCC arbitrator or judge to find in your favour.
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GTT1 wrote:
Oct 29th, 2010 9:14 am
Personally I would now go to my builder and indicate that you want their assistance with voiding what you have signed due to misrepresentation. You could indicate jokingly that unless this gets resolved to your satisfaction you will give the builder no leeway whatsoever concerning the building of your house. If you get no satisfaction tell the builder you are plan on hiring a representative to attend the walk through on your behalf and to deal with all PDI's and to ensure all construction is up to snuff. Builders and their supers hate dealing with these external reps as they tend to cost them time and money correcting items most homeowners just live with.

The builder has a stake in this as they probably have the bulk of items put in at no or minimal cost by Grand Alarms who are looking to build their monthly income billings.

The builder will have more clout than you.

I would also request my lawyer to write to Grand Alarms and your builder indicating the items misrepresented indicating you want the contract voided and returned to the 1 year free use. The main purpose of getting it documented by your lawyer this way is hopefully the company will not respond which if you then sue down the road in small claims court will indicate they didn't deny the misrepresentation and this might sway the SCC arbitrator or judge to find in your favour.

Thanks GTT1. I'll communicate this to the lawyer as well since I'll be meeting him early next week.
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So now I talked to Victoria over the phone and she openly admits that all those things she had mentioned were accurate and that the agreement she made me sign was a generic one. :confused:

I asked if I can just buy out the equipment and she says she will ask the manager for the amount but she thinks it's about $900.

We'll see. I've already drafted an email to the lawyer responsible for the closing and will keep it handy.
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alanbrenton wrote:
Oct 29th, 2010 11:01 am
So now I talked to Victoria over the phone and she openly admits that all those things she had mentioned were accurate and that the agreement she made me sign was a generic one. :confused:
So you accepted a verbal assurance before, despite what was WRITTEN in the signed contract, and you're taking her at her word again?

Good luck with everything.
That's the end of my rant.
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Toukolou wrote:
Oct 29th, 2010 11:05 am
So you accepted a verbal assurance before, despite what was WRITTEN in the signed contract, and you're taking her at her word again?

Good luck with everything.

Just sent her an email. I want this to end amicably so don't want to drag/involve the lawyer just yet. Meeting with him next week so I can ask for advice in person.
-------------
Thanks for reassuring me that some of the clauses on the agreement
will not apply because our builder is Rosehaven:

In brief:

That we can opt for 3, 4 or 5 years of service
That after the contract is over, the equipment will be ours
That a landline is not necessary and VOIP will do.

Because we may decide to not go with any alarm monitoring services
with Grand Alarm or any service provider, for that matter, could you
please ask your manager how much it would cost us to buy out the alarm
equipment already installed in our property? Because you mentioned
the agreement was generic, I'm not sure if all these were actually
installed:

[*]magnetic contacts on delayed front door
[*]magnetic contacts on rear door
[*]magnetic contacts on main door leading from home to garage
[*]magnetic contacts on all main floor openable windows
[*]magnetic contacts on all basement openable windows
[*]one multi beamed, dual element, pulse count, passive infrared motion detector
[*]one internal siren by master control panel
[*]one digital keypad
[*]one 8 zone master control panel upgrade to power master control
panel with self contained digital communicator
[*]auxiliary standby, rechargeable battery, one 16 volt AC transformer

We'd like to maintain a good working relationship with Grand Alarms
and would like to compensate, at a reasonable cost, the work performed
and equipment already installed.

If we judge the amount a little steep and we decide to go with the
alarm service, could we obtain an amendment to the agreement that
would clearly state the following items?

That we can opt for 3, 4 or 5 years of service
That after the contract is over, the equipment will become ours
That a landline is not necessary and VOIP will do.

Thank you for your help and have a pleasant weekend.

Kind regards,
------------------
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Jun 7, 2005
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First off, you should be talking to your builder and the alarm company before posting on RFD and looking up legal action.

The alarm company shouldn't have a problem charging you for the equipment and install with no contract, but expect it to be close to $1500 if they charge for labor. After that you can use your alarm as a non-monitored (just the siren will sound). You say you want to use VOIP, as in you won't have a useable phone outlet near the alarm? As long as you can get a dial tone to the main panel it will work.

Hope this experience makes you a little more diligent when signing papers in the future.
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