Legal Question in Business Law in California

Three of my senior friends purchased an alarm system from ADT. They were not pleased with the service. They only had the service for a few months. Another Alarm company, Guardian, salesman sold them a new alarm system and told the that he would take care of settling the contract with the ADT alarm system. He told them he would take care of everything. To their surprise they were billed a monthly service fee from both companies. The new alarm company said they would honor the salesman promise and pay off the other company as soon as they receive an invoice from them from the other alarm company. Is it okay to stop payment of funds to the old company? These women are in their 80's on limited income.

Asked on 7/08/13, 5:50 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Nothing you have said suggests that ADT has breached its contract or agreed to make any changes. It probably does not even know that your friends are dissatisfied or have a new contract with Guardian. Under those circumstances, your friends are still required to honor their ADT contract unless and until ADT says otherwise.

Presumably Guardian will make good on its promise. But ADT does not have to compromise its claim. It can require payment as set forth in your friends' contract, though it likely won't care if the money comes from Guardian instead of your friends. If Guardian doesn't work something out with ADT, then it will be Guardian that has breached and not ADT. And if Guardian fails to make a deal with ADT, your friends will still have to honor their ADT contract.

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Answered on 7/08/13, 5:59 pm

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

To clarify: When I said "your friends will still have to honor their ADT contract", I meant that they will not be excused from their obligations under that agreement. Barring some very unusual circumstances, the law will allow them to breach the contract -- provided they are willing to pay whatever damages they might owe due to the breach.

Their contract may say what will happen in the event of a breach. It may very well say that, if either side sues the other for a breach, the losing party must pay the winning party's attorney fees and costs. So your friends should be very careful about whether and how they breach their contract.

Of course, the time for them to consider these issues was before they signed on with Guardian.

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Answered on 7/08/13, 6:03 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

I agree with Mr. Hoffman. A contract is valid and enforceable until it expires or is canceled or discharged in some manner permitted by law. Merely finding another supplier you like better does not terminate the contract, nor does the promise of the Guardian salesman have such effect unless and until he fulfills his promise. The ADT bill should be paid.

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Answered on 7/08/13, 8:39 pm
Joel Selik

It sounds like their are breaches of contract (ADT) and possible elder abuse. An attorney farmiliar with this issues should be consulted.

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Answered on 7/09/13, 9:49 am

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