Stories about high pressure home alarm sales continue to crop up all over the US, with a recurring complaint that these “door knockers” (alarm sales representatives) use fraudulent or deceptive practices, high pressure sales techniques, or target homes that already have a monitored alarm system – with another company! The complaints sometimes escalate into legal action by state and local jurisdictions. Here is another story about a governmental action taken against a door knocking alarm company, this time in Ohio:
Pinnacle Security agreed to refund $75,000 to Ohio consumers to settle state charges that it violated the Consumer Sales Practices Act and the state’s Home Sales Solicitation Act. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who announced the settlement Tuesday, said Pinnacle customers who want to be included in the settlement have 60 days to file a complaint with his office.
Background on the Ohio Suit
In 2010, Ohio sued the Utah-based home security company, accusing it of selling security systems to Ohio homeowners by misrepresenting the costs. The suit also accused the company of failing to honor cancellation requests and failing to provide three-day cancellation notices. DeWine said 169 consumers have filed complaints against the company with his office, with the company or with the Better Business Bureau. They are already in line for refunds. Others who believe they were wronged by Pinnacle should file a complaint within 60 days with the Ohio attorney general’s office.
General Warnings Issued on Door Knockers
There have been repeated warnings from people who take these issues very seriously: attorneys general in many states, local law enforcement, regional offices of the BBB (Better Business Bureau), AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons), and even the granddaddy of them all – the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). And they all warning about door knockers, specifically the ones selling alarm systems. These companies are racking up complaints in the thousands, and some companies have even had their licenses revoked in numerous states. Here’s a snippet from the recent AARP warning on door knockers:
Some are not salespeople at all. They’re just impersonators trying to find out about any existing alarm system you have. They may ask to come inside to inspect your home. What they’re really doing is casing it for a possible burglary. But some of the real alarm salespeople who will visit millions of homes each summer are thieves as well. They will target you with high-pressure pitches, scare tactics or outright lies to try to persuade you to sign up.
We’ve had periodic reports of FrontPoint customers being approached by door knockers, saying that they are “taking over” the FrontPoint account – and need to install new hardware, and get a new contract signed. Don’t be fooled! If you have any questions, please call FrontPoint directly: we’ll clear up any questions. The good news is that FrontPoint subscribers are the least susceptible to “slamming” of any alarm company: our customers pay less, get more, and love the combination of advanced features and world-class service. AARP has some great advice on how to deal with door knockers, and so does FrontPoint - and this advice is not just for retirees!
- Don’t let anyone into your house on a first call. Instead, ask for printed literature and a business card — a badge or ID can be forged — and use the information to check out the company. Make sure to look for information about it on the websites of the Better Business Bureau and your state’s attorney general. If you decide to pursue the service, call the company to come back for a second visit.
- Ask about company alarm licensing, and individual licensing – many of these sale people are not licensed, or their companies aren’t.
- Ignore claims that an offer is for a limited time only and that technicians are ready to immediately install the system. Reputable companies let you compare bids and engage in a comprehensive review of your security needs: if you are forced to buy on the spot, it’s probably not an offer that will stand up to scrutiny and research.
- Ask for all procedures in writing. If the alarm sounds, does the company first notify you or the police? Will you be charged for false alarms? What’s the early termination fee?
Also, make sure you ask about safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive services – and what they really cost – since you want the best services, and because door knocker companies generally charge a premium price for equipment and monthly fees.
FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we don’t plan to sell that way in the future. That’s only part of why FrontPoint has an “A” rating with the BBB – instead of an “F,” like some door knocker companies. The best home security customers are the people who are looking for a system in the first place, and with home security expanding to including to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand is increasing. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the #1 choice in the US and Canada for interactive, wireless home alarm systems. And it also explains why we have the highest customer loyalty in the business. Just read the FrontPoint reviews!