The in crowd

Westco joins Advantek’s lawsuit against ADT
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Tuesday, March 1, 2005

DENVER - Westco International SRL became an additional plaintiff and class representative in a lawsuit against ADT Security Services in January - joining Advantek Pro, which originally filed the case against the security giant in February 2004.

Westco motioned to intervene as an additional plaintiff and class representative in the lawsuit, which contends that from 1997 to 2003 ADT breached its contract with dealers enrolled in its authorized dealer program.

“Westco has the same issues as Advantek,” said Kirk Mueller, an attorney with Fognani Guibord & Homsy, the firm handling the case. “ADT has competed with it to take away customers, miscalculated attrition rates and charged a connection fee that exceeds connection costs.”

It is just one of the numerous lawsuits filed in jurisdictions across the country against ADT during a time when its dealer program was at its peak after being sold to Tyco.

Mueller said that a number of other dealers have showed interest about joining the lawsuit - currently in the class action certification phase - once it is certified as a class action.

“We’ve been contacted by scores of dealers,” Mueller said, “but until we have a class certification they need to stand on the sidelines.”

Briefing on the class action status is expected to be complete in April.

John Hoffe, president of Westco, said at one time the company was the thirteenth largest dealer in ADT’s dealer program. The company, which launched in Canada and was a member of ADT’s program there, moved to California on the advisement of ADT and joined the company’s U.S.-based program in December 1999.

“We left a business that was very viable in Canada to take part in the ADT dream,” Hoffe said.

But as the company grew to 15 locations, 250 employees and $20 million in annual revenue with a presence in the western part of the United States and Canada, Hoffe said ADT began manipulating numbers and made excuses to not follow through on agreements within the dealer contract.

“To not honor the things that you were asked to do in good faith is no way to treat your dealer group,” Hoffe said. “To be cast the way we were cast and to have the numbers manipulated the way they did was completely ridiculous.”

Hoffe said Westco - the corporate entity is no longer in the security market - completed its three-year agreement with ADT in 2001.

“We did what we were asked to do and to come up with excuses to not fulfill what they had to do is not the way business is run,” Hoffe said. “I understand business, but this is not the way business is done.”