ADT Customer Escalates Complaint: Finally Gets Resolution

Posted by , , at 10:17 pm

Fair is fair, and I’ve stated before that no company is perfect. That goes for alarm companies just like every other industry – even for FrontPoint! But just as in other sectors of the economy, some companies do a better job meeting customers’ expectations than others – and are perceived as superior service providers. In the alarm industry, where one large company (ADT) seems to dominate all the others, it’s easy to find evidence that bigger does not always mean better. Just check out the Better Business Bureau, or Google the name of the company and add the word “complaints.” Then sit back – you may be reading for a while. Here’s a disappointing story from The Consumerist, an on-line publication associated with Consumer Reports, that describes one customer’s endlessly frustrating battle against our industry’s 800 lb. gorilla.

When Matthew signed up for home alarm system service from ADT, he was promised that he would have no problem moving his service to a new home when he moved. So he signed a two-year contract. No problem! Until at his new home, he had to deal with a new salesman. One who insisted that he would need all new equipment (of course) at the new place even though what he had at his old place is almost new. Months later, he’s playing chicken with ADT. If he stops paying his bill, he’ll be hit with an early termination fee and have to pay for the equipment. If ADT lets him install his existing equipment and actually use the service he’s paying for, the salesman will look weak or something. Nobody can win this game.

The Customer Tells His Own Story

You would think it is just as easy as 1-2-3…but now 6 months later ADT has “dropped the ball.” I am a small business owner that works from home, and love some all-American home monitoring peace of mind. As a Consumer Reports junkie, I sure did my shopping … But there it was dangling right in my mailbox, a flyer that had the answers to all my problems, a moving rebate. I would have never signed on the dotted line if it weren’t for reassurance from the salesman that the moving rebate was my answer to my planned relocation.

Background on the Move

One month before the move, I make the call and met a new salesman at my new residence in the same area some 4 miles away. You would think we would be pow-wowing about where to put the still shiny equipment in the new place, but I am bombarded with upsells and new two year contracts (I needed a new 2 year contract so that he could beg his managers to keep me for another two years and force me to buy new equipment, for I would be violating my contract by moving and claiming the moving rebate as written in my contract). I insisted that even though my new place was larger, I wanted to just keep the same equipment and just add on sensors as needed.

Then it Gets Weird

The salesman began giving me financial advice, telling me that if I didn’t give ADT my social security number I could most likely cancel my credit card and jump ship with my now useless pile of $600 security equipment. I may be rounding up, but that is still a big financial win for ADT. I remain persistent/resistant/give-me-my-rebate. The salesman tells me he will have to check with his manager whether or not he could redeem the rebate in my contract.

Where’s Waldo?

Since then the salesman can never seem to get a hold of his manager, or figure out what to do with me. Each time I called, he said his manager was sick, out of town (I begin to wonder if he is working for Waldo). The day before I hand my keys in to my old residence I call again to see what they are going to do with my equipment, the salesman tells me to take it down myself. Really? What is the point of having a rebate if I never get to use it?

Hard to Make This Up

So I take it down…three months go by and I call only to play phone tag, trying to reach someone who can help me. Everyone person I talk to knows about the rebate, wants to hand me money over the phone, but the salesman that I got lampooned by keeps drawing blanks. And I don’t want money as much as the system installed at this point. After I call in to complain they have the same guy call me back! I can’t believe it! The first words out of his mouth are, “Hey Matt, I guess I dropped the ball here we need to go back to square one…” I hang up. So far only upsells, no rebate.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction…

Three more months go by. Now we are just playing chicken…by the contract if I fail to pay, they can void my contract and make me pay up in god knows how many fees. But I don’t fit into any of their reasons for dropping, not even, “it is too expensive to keep your equipment up” because my stuff is brand new and wasn’t faulty. Here I am, charged through the wazoo, making payments, getting no service and ironic letters in the mail telling me my equipment isn’t sending a signal. So I call in and demand to speak to a manager, and I get his voice mail…I name names, and let him know I am not happy. So here I am, 6 months later with $300 in service charges, $600 dollars of equipment in storage, and a “Moving Rebate” that I can’t seem to claim. Sad day for a very unhappy ADT customer.

Finally, a Happy Ending

Then The Consumerist entered the fray, with some widely read posts about the situation that got the attention of ADT folks at a higher level. It’s a shame it took so much work, but the good news is that the customer’s situation was finally resolved.

I have to say I am very excited about the response I got from the Consumerist blog…considering it was enough to get the corporate level ADT consumer relations to comment from the other side of the country in Florida. Essentially after a little pushing I not only got refunded for my monthly payments, but also partial equipment costs and no ETF. Fair deal considering how much work it took just to get a reasonable response, and we both avoided small claims court. I really hope that the best efforts of ADT corporate start reflecting more on the local level for their sake. So, ADT Corporate WIN, ADT Local FAIL: always check-out your local ADT/security company reviews before letting one of their salesmen into your home.

This tale reminds of what happened when ADT acquired Alarmguard, my old company. In the first twelve months, ADT lost 30% of the Alarmguard customer base, mostly for poor service delivery – and it was almost impossible to get the attention of any who could solve a problem. It’s just not good service, and does not even come close to providing peace of mind for the end user.

Too Big to Care?

With well over 6,000,000 alarm accounts, both homes and business, ADT is by far the largest provider of electronic security in the US – if not the world. With that number of customers, it’s only fair to expect that ADT will receive its fair share of complaints. Plus, the Internet has certainly made life tougher for service providers in general. But ADT is reporting an annual cancellation rate of 13.5% – in other words, roughly one out of every seven ADT customers walks away each year.

A Better Alternative

How about a fully programmed and comprehensive wireless alarm system where you can even set the equipment up yourself in half an hour, then then enjoy the most advanced features you’ll find in home security and home automation? Then, if any issues occur, your alarm company can remotely troubleshoot the problems, and ship replacement equipment to you overnight if needed. These systems are out there, and FrontPoint offers just such a solution. And when it’s time to move, you simply take the system with you: no charge, no contract extension, and no hassle. That’s security with convenience.

As one of the few nationwide providers of advanced home security, FrontPoint regularly competes against ADT and other large companies who seem to act as if bigger automatically means better. As a younger and more nimble alarm company, FrontPoint has led the alarm industry with peace of mind that is safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And we care deeply about every customer review we receive – both positive and negative. That’s why we’re the leader in wireless home security, and  the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.

Comments (8)

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  1. G Man B

    I came to Frontpoint from ADT, and my experiences pretty much mirror Cole Chesnut’s.

    I got a rude text from an ADT rep telling me that in three days my alarm would not properly communicate with the base station without an upgrade. I could not have this upgrade done on such short notice, and said as much. He then rudely told me if I didn’t want the service to call and cancel the service.

    I complained about this on their Facebook page, not rudely, no profanity, simply stating facts, as I am here. ADT responded by deleting my post and blocking me from posting on the page.

    I did my homework and found Frontpoint, and immediately cancelled my ADT account and told them exactly what happened. I do not and will not tolerate such disrespect and disregard from anyone, least of all someone who supposedly provides me a service.

    Now they have been calling and emailing me trying to get me to come back. I laugh in their faces if I feel like picking up. I told them to fire the rude texting representative, fire the lazy participation trophy winners who blocked me from the Facebook page, fire the idiots who don’t send fire or police out when they are supposed to, and hire some worth a darn employees as opposed to the incompetents they have now.

  2. Pam

    ADT doesn’t take care of their existing customers. Been a customer for over 16 years, pay a monthly fee for the maintenance plan, and now I need most of my contacts replaced due to wear and tear that are causing repeated false burglar alarms. ADT gave me four different quotes: $1,318, $800, $700, and $300. I shouldn’t have to pay anything with a maintenance plan. I was told the job was too big for it to be free, as well as, other lies. But they give free products to new customers as an incentive package.

  3. Robert Denney

    I too have been having trouble with ADT. I signed up for a 3 year contract and was told that when I moved from my rental home that I could take the equipment with me, so when I purchased a home that is what I did. I uninstalled and installed system at my new residence. I called ADT to come out and turn it back on and when technician showed up I told him that I just wanted it turned back on. He said that he had never had someone do this and that I would have to sign a new contract at which time I told him that I was not doing that. So he called his boss to get approval to do this, after contacting his boss he said that he could do as I requested. The system was turned back on and he left. I had about 7 months left on the contract. I called in to ADT about 3 months later to pay the remainder of contract and was the informed that I had put on another 3 year contract. I have made many attempts to speak with them about how I was lied to by their technician and no one seem to care. I have stopped paying them hoping that this would get someones attention but to no avail. I have sent the notice of cancellation with the original activation date that was initialed by the technician with his bosses name that approved what I had requested. Still no response, I am very disappointed in their customer service. All I wanted to do is to pay for what I had originally signed up for. I feel that all ADT cares about is the money if they have to lie to people to get it. I did not have any new equipment installed but they still expect me to pay for 3 more years, give me a break. Every time I call they can never seem to get someone on the phone that can do anything about it. My advise to anyone considering a security system is to go local, ADT does not care about the customer only the dollars.

    • Cole Chesnut

      ADT’s marketing is great, but their service sucks. Period.

      ————————————–
      The basic reasons why I want to cancel my account are;

      — I have been paying for 4 years for ADT’s service, which I have come to realize has provided 0 value. Even worse, it has provided a false sense of security.

      — After having the alarm set up initially, I changed my phone number and notified ADT. Periodically I have called ADT for service updates, etc., and each time, ADT still has the old, inactive number and not the current one. ADT has failed this simple task at least 3 times now…

      — During the course of periodic equipment updates from ADT, 3 times the ADT technician failed to show up at the scheduled time because of the wrong phone number. I have lost a lot of money waiting.

      — Each time, ADT promises bill credit, which I never get. Now I am owed $150 in bill credits.

      — If the alarm goes off, I don’t get a call.
      ————————————–

      ADT sent letters explaining a mandatory equipment upgrade. We scheduled an appointment for a 4-hour window on Thursday Jul-28. The technician finally showed up as the window ended and explained that I didn’t answer the phone. Of course, because ADT failed to correct the phone number again.

      All of the service technicians have been polite and competent including this one. He took care of the equipment upgrade right away. He could not change my phone number on record, but told me that I could register for myADT.com to change phone number, etc.

      Sunday Jul-31 2016, I tried to register for myADT.com, but couldn’t because… wrong phone number. Called ADT customer service who recommended that I register for myADT.com…

      Suddenly I realized that I should not trust ADT with my security.

      I requested to cancel my account and was told that “customer retention” is not available today. I only want to cancel my account, which is a simple matter. Apparently ADT can’t handle that without creating a hassle.

      I called back on Monday, Aug-1 to cancel service. After 25 minutes on hold while the hold message repeated “estimated wait time 5 minutes” finally got a live person. I repeated “cancel my service” for 5 minutes until the ADT representative complied and told me a confirmation number, but only after she read a condescending script including lines such as, “I’m sorry to hear that you no longer want to protect your home and your family.” I asked for confirmation by email, which is against ADT policy apparently. Was told that I would receive a postal letter in 7-10 days.

      On Wednesday Aug-10, no letter yet. Checked the credit card account and saw that ADT billed for another month yesterday, though they finally gave me some of the credit owed.

      I called ADT, and surprise, they don’t have a record of my cancellation. Requested immediate cancellation again, they still won’t email confirmation.

      Even though, our 2-year contract expired 2 years ago, ADT now insists that per contract they require 30 days notice to cancel. And I should receive a letter within 7-10 days after the minimum 30 days notice.

      Looking on ADT’s Facebook page, I noticed dozens of other people posting similar complaints. I posted mine and was told to call Customer Service or register for my ADT.com.

      I tweeted the @ADT and their CEO @NarenGursahaney with a link to my post on Facebook. About 5 minutes later, ADT deleted my post, banned me from their FB page, and started deleting all negative reviews from others.

      No real response from ADT, just obstruction and deception. I did get a call from “Digital Reputation Management” within a few hours though…

      All I want to do is cancel my service. No contract, no strings attached, but ADT just won’t let go.

      Finally, I called my credit card company to block charges from ADT.

      ADT = rich marketing, poor service.

      Time for another class-action lawsuit against ADT…

  4. Alan

    Pretty horrific customer service from ADT. Why am I not surprised? (Hint: read previous posts on thus blog or do some general googling on ADT reviews, etc).

    Glad this case had a happy ending supposedly, but I find that premise hard to swallow unless this customer’s time is worth little to nothing. Sounds like another $1000 or so of this person’s time and effort was involved, time never compensated for.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – good observation. I have been watching the hoopla about ADT becoming a standalone public company (it happened on October 1), and thinking that they are going to have some challenges. For one thing, their customers cancel at a high rate – about one in seven every year, which is above the average for the industry: ADT should be way better than that. Also, and this may be related to the high cancellation rate, they have had a lot of trouble getting any real traction on growing their customer base over the past five years. If not for buying Brink’s/Broadview, which was about 1.4 million customers, they have been pretty flat. Let’s just say I have not purchased any ADT stock yet! Thanks again.

  5. Alan

    Pretty horrific customer service from ADT. Why am I not surprised? (Hint: read previous posts on thus blog or do some general googling on ADT reviews, etc).

    Glad this case had a happy ending supposedly, but I find that premise hard to swallow unless this customer’s time is worth little to nothing. Sounds like another $1000 or so of this person’s time and effort was involved, time never compensated for.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – good observation. I have been watching the hoopla about ADT becoming a standalone public company (it happened on October 1), and thinking that they are going to have some challenges. For one thing, their customers cancel at a high rate – about one in seven every year, which is above the average for the industry: ADT should be way better than that. Also, and this may be related to the high cancellation rate, they have had a lot of trouble getting any real traction on growing their customer base over the past five years. If not for buying Brink’s/Broadview, which was about 1.4 million customers, they have been pretty flat. Let’s just say I have not purchased any ADT stock yet! Thanks again.

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