With many of the cable and telecom major players now having entered (or re-entered) the highly competitive world of home security, the big question up until now has been about service: can they actually deliver? After all, some of these companies are notorious for their poor customer satisfaction records. To be honest, those of us who have been protecting US homes and families for decades never considered that these new entrants would offer technology that was unproven, or even non-functional. But for one high-profile company’s offering, that is now exactly what’s in question. And this recent article from CE Pro makes a compelling case that robust and reliable technology should never be taken for granted – especially when your peace of mind is at stake.
Verizon has been rolling out its home automation and monitoring service to FiOS users across the country over the past few months. When Verizon announced the service as an affordable alternative to professionally-installed control and security systems, some CE pros were concerned. We’ve seen off-the-shelf systems come and go over the years, and for the most part they remained a small niche for people who knew what they were doing and were willing to live with a few glitches. However, when consumers buy a system and service plan from a huge company like Verizon, they expect it to work.
Of course, the Verizon system is not even professionally monitored, so it’s hard to call it a security system at all. Most homeowners want the peace of mind that comes from knowing the police or fire department will be dispatched. But even a “self-monitored” system should perform as advertised!
Verizon Off to a Bad Start
Apparently things aren’t so rosy with Verizon’s new endeavor. Verizon customers are reporting a slew of problems, exacerbated by Verizon’s customer service technicians’ inability to correct the issues. According to the customer comments on Verizon’s Home Monitoring and Control Forums, the problems vary from network issues to incorrect device alerts. In one instance, the system kept changing the user’s temperature without being authorized to do so and kept sending alerts that a closed, locked door was open.
What’s Causing the Problems?
Was some of this user error? DIY systems are usually more complicated than end-users anticipate, but when something goes wrong, they blame the manufacturer (or service provider). Electronic House, CE Pro’s sister publication, has reached out to Verizon to review the system, but Verizon has declined all requests. As the only consumer magazine that specializes in home control systems, you’d think they’d appreciate our feedback. Here are just a few of the customer comments on one thread titled “Sorry-but good-bye home control” (Editor’s note: Some of the spelling errors were corrected to make reading of the posts easier):
- I liked the idea of monitoring. I got the camera, two locks, and the dimmer. I was able to use it for a few days via iPhone. Then there was an update to the app. Then I could never sign in again. Tech help told me there are a number of people with either Apple or app problems. Verizon does not seem to know where the problem is. They were suggesting I take my phone to an Apple store and ask them to roll back the OS. Apple does not allow that. I waited a few days and got fed up. Why should I pay a subscription for something that does not work with no fix in sight? I called billing and a very helpful guy canceled my subscription and got me a return label (e-mailed) from the Home Control division. It was fast. Now I hope they credit me the first payment on the equipment.
- I am about to return my equipment as well. No sense paying for something that doesn’t work and Verizon seems to have no interest in fixing. I cannot view the recordings from my cameras on the home control website. I reported this issue on Dec 12th and it was escalated. It is now Jan 19 and Verizon still hasn’t looked at the issue. I have been told no less than 4-5 times someone would contact me within 48 hours and no one would. Most companies someone would be fired for treating a customer like this and ignoring them for 5-6 weeks.
- Yeah, I am about to return it as well… I get Activity logs that say the cam’s are recording but you cannot view them. Did some rebooting… now the indoor camera will not record unless I manually run the mode… The dimmer option is cool… but I can do that with timers from Home Depot…
- Same boat here… real close to canceling home monitoring. Heather at Verizon was messaging me via pm trying to help but when it turned out that home monitoring devices don’t work as well as advertised and/or their techs cannot diagnose problems as they are unfamiliar with z-wave and I asked to return the equipment all of a sudden she stopped pm’ing me. Amazing.
- I am having the same issues to include the email alerts that I get have the correct DTG (Date Time Group) however, when you go and look for the time of the event it is an hour behind EST. How can I fix this. Also I would like to have the ability to add to this system an alarm alert to let me know when a mode is triggered rather than just an email or text as that won’t wake me up.
- In addition, when I get an alert that an event has been triggered and I go to view it the system is down more times than it is up and I can’t view what the event is. I was just recently on a trip out of state and I could not view from my mobile app on my iPhone as well as on my Mac the event or recording of it.
Here’s My Favorite
I just recently hooked up the system in my house and it was great until this weekend. The website on the computer and phone have been down this whole weekend. The weekend is when I would like to use it as we may be out of town or just out and about. Last night the system kept turning my heat, through the thermostat, on and off without reaching the set temp of 69 degrees. I kept getting text messages telling me my front door was opening and closing while I was sitting in front of a dead bolted door. I have tried to log in to the website via computer about every two hours this whole weekend and it keeps telling me that information is not available, try back later. I was so excited about getting it and have used it a lot prior to now but I can’t see paying anything for a system that I can’t access when I want. I called about another small issue the other day and it took 20 minutes for Verizon to find someone who knows the system; the rep that answered the phone didn’t even know what I was talking about and asked me if I was talking about some type of alarm system. I can see if I called the wrong number but I called the number that the home monitoring website told me to call for tech support. When I called they didn’t even give an option on the automated phone system for the home monitoring tech support. Looks as though I too will have to go through the trouble of repacking everything back up and sending it back before I hit the 30 day limit for not being satisfied. Too bad…
As a “real” alarm company that is focused on protecting homes and families, FrontPoint welcomes the advertising dollars that these new entrants are spending to increase public awareness of interactive monitoring services – exactly the advanced features that FrontPoint has offered since our inception in 2007. We also expect that the more people research their options, the more they’ll choose FrontPoint. As the leader in wireless home security, we specialize in the best protection: that’s why we’re the #1 ranked alarm company in the US, with peace of mind that is safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And a FrontPoint system works!