Can I cancel my alarm service since I’ve completed my original2 year contract even though the company said they automatically renewed the contract?

I called to cancel my alarm service. They claimed that even though I had completed my original two-year contract they could automatically renew the contract so I could only cancel if I paid through their new contract date. Since I always pay my monthly bill by check in advance to avoid credit card charges they threatened to charge me an extra $5 per month if I didn’t allow them to use my credit card for payment I do not receive invoices and was never notified of any contract renewal. I was cancelling the service because I can no longer afford it. I certainly can’t afford to pay for the next 8 months.

Asked on December 8, 2011 under General Practice, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Look first at your contract with the alarm company--does it contain any automatic renewal clause, or statement of what happens if you continue paying as per the contract after the initial period is done? If the terms of the contract provide that it automatically renewed (or renewed unless you specifically provided notice of nonrenewal), that would be legal and enforceable. So would a provision stating that the act of paying after the contract was up would constitute renewal.

Then check your correspondence to/from them: did you say or do anything that would indicate an intention on your part to renew? Authorizing payment or continuing to pay when the contract ended, if you did so, might constitute an agreement to renew.

In short, if either the contract provided for renewal or you did something evidencing renewal, you are probably obligated; otherwise, most likely not.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.