I am reading more complaints and warnings on door to door alarm salespeople – it’s rare that a day passes where I don’t see a “Google Alert” on pushy tactics or fraudulent behavior. Most of these negative consumer experiences involve one of the Utah-based companies specializing in door knocking, but there are variations. One trend is for burglars to pretend to be alarm sales door knockers to case your house (watch for a future post on that trend!), and the other is today’s topic: even ADT’s authorized dealers can go “over the top” in how they try to sign up new customers. In this report from KMBC in Kansas City, Missouri, it’s clear that one company didn’t just push the envelope of ethical sales – they tore it in half!
Some residents in the Waldo area said they have been intimidated by someone selling alarm systems for ADT. Residents told KMBC’s Cliff Judy that ADT salesmen even claimed they were working hand in hand with Kansas City police.
The Bogus Pitch
Homeowner Toni Zaner said a man in an ADT polo shirt offered to reactivate her security system. “He said it was a $1,200 activation fee and that Kansas City police would be covering the cost of that to help out the area,” Zaner said. “The first thing he said is he was working with the Kansas City Police Department. Of course, I knew that wasn’t true.”
Along with claims of working for the homeowner’s alarm company to gain entrance, of referencing non-existent crime statistics, this is a common ploy of door knockers – but not of ADT dealers. ADT is normally more disciplined, and comes down hard on dealers who cross the line and risk giving ADT a bad name.
“Just ‘Cause It’s Legal, Don’t Make it Right”
Police said they are not partnered with ADT, and the company has hired a third party to sell alarm systems in Kansas City. KMBC’s Judy reported that ADT has a license to sell and install the systems, and there is nothing legally wrong. But Zaner and her neighbors said they did not like the sales tactics that they saw.
Zaner said that at one point the salesman asked for her birthday, made one phone call and had her Social Security number. “I snatched it from him, and I asked him to leave,” Zaner said. “Just don’t believe it. Even if they’re dressed in uniform and it looks like they have official documentation, just don’t fall for it.”
Advice from the Victim
“This is beyond aggressive marketing. This is intrusive,” one homeowner said. ADT told Judy that it is the largest alarm system company in the United States, and every summer the company receives complaints of copycat companies trying to sign up customers. ADT confirmed that the salesman was an authorized dealer, but said the sales tactics were not acceptable. The company said it is considering severing ties with that dealer.
This was no copycat – it was a bona fide ADT Authorized Dealer. While I can be somewhat sympathetic to ADT for the times when copycats are at work, I certainly hope in this case they fire the dealer. ADT’s reputation should be much more important than the new accounts created by one rogue dealer.
FrontPoint is happily removed from the dealer scene, as a truly “next-generation” service provider. ADT is primarily “old school,” focusing on traditional, less reliable security. In fact, ADT has not considered safer cellular monitoring a priority, and interactive monitoring like that already offered by FrontPoint (including video, home automation, and mobile apps) is only now being offered by ADT. While FrontPoint has been providing these smarter alarm features for over three years, ADT only recently announced its new Pulse product offering, and the jury is still out on how well they will support it (here is an update on pricing and other aspects of Pulse, since you can’t find anything on ADT’s web site!).
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