ADT Pulse Cost and Reviews: Is Pulse the Right Answer for You?

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I continue to monitor ADT’s new Pulse product, including periodic checks of the Pulse web site – which remains oddly silent on cost for both equipment and monthly services. The site also omits a description of the actual alarm monitoring component: this lack of transparency has caused a lot of confusion about how Pulse works. Months after the release, it’s really not clear to most people how ADT’s long-overdue Pulse interactive features relate to how the system communicates to the monitoring center. But today’s topic is more about ADT itself, and how Pulse is playing out in the marketplace. As it happens, the way Pulse is perceived is partially driven by how folks view ADT as a service provider. And here’s an interesting example:

Warning- Do not do business with ADT Security. I was promised a rebate for installing a more expensive system – Pulse… That was 3 months ago and numerous phone calls that continue to be ignored. I called the local office and spoke to the same young lady over 8 times. She made many promises, but still has done nothing, and now she ignores my calls.

Alarm Company Reviews Say a Lot

This is not the first review of the Pulse platform I’ve shared – this post from last month revealed a different problem: Pulse service was reportedly unavailable in a portion of Florida. But this latest review comes from the colorfully named www.pissedconsumer.com, a site I found by accident. FrontPoint has only been mentioned there once – and only in the context that an alarm customer discussed his choice of FrontPoint to replace the system/company he was unhappy with. Here’s the rest of the recent review on ADT.

I had this service at my old location, at the time I knew that I would be buying a home and asked about the move and how that would impact my contract. I was told that it was month to month. Well it was not honored as month to month so I had to install at the new location or pay over $900.00. So here I am with this ridiculously expensive system, no rebate, and no service. Take this advice – find a different alarm service.

Other Alarm Company Review Sites

We do have some other review sites we like a lot, and we’re not alone: our own surveys indicate that on-line shoppers rely on customer reviews as a significant factor in their purchasing decision. You may also want to check out www.complaints.com and www.ripoffreport.com for any product or service you are considering: they are two of the better sites out there for unvarnished feedback. Just type in the name of the company you are researching – and the results appear. By the way, you won’t find FrontPoint on either site.

More on Pulse – and ADT

While the reviewer quoted above does not specifically comment on the Pulse system or how it works, he does describe it as “ridiculously expensive.” It’s been my experience that people are willing to pay more for great products and/or great service – but when the product or the service (or both) come up short, it’s hard for consumers to justify the expense. We already know that pricing for the ADT Pulse packages is on the high side for what comparable alarm equipment can cost – and the same holds true for the monthly services, although Pulse is still missing a critical level of protection. Once you throw in perceived lackluster customer service, it can be a tough sell.

ADT seems to still be figuring out the best way to deploy Pulse, even for its existing customers. And ADT still won’t allow its Authorized Dealers (who represent about half of ADT’s residential sales volume) to sell the two higher levels of Pulse: Advantage and Premier. Go figure.

Really the Best Technology?

Remember, all the interactive services with Pulse Advantage and Pulse Premier are available only over your Internet connection, so if you lose your Internet connection for any reason (not that uncommon), all the “cool” stuff goes away, including the remote control and notifications that other companies (like FrontPoint) make available 100% of the time over a safer GSM cellular connection. It pays to understand how these services work – and the best alarm companies explain it very clearly

Incredibly enough, even with the two higher levels of service (Advantage and Premier), the actual alarm monitoring can still be provided over a vulnerable, traditional phone line – easily cut by an intruder. Since we all know the main reason for having a home alarm system is to deter and detect criminals, it amazes me that for $57.99 a month (the cost of the Premier level), you would be paying for old-school monitoring over a copper phone line. And don’t forget Crash and Smash protection: Pulse costs more, but does not offer this important feature.

FrontPoint is only one of several companies that remain ahead of ADT on technology. We are also the only US alarm company to use safer cellular monitoring in 100% of our systems – from day one. No wonder FrontPoint is ranked the #1 US alarm company for wireless, interactive home security. FrontPoint, GE Security, and Alarm.com: an undefeatable combination. Even with Pulse, ADT is still in our rearview mirror, and their poor reviews won’t help them catch up.

Comments (8)

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  1. Sickened

    This review is so biased is sickening. Just because you can bold out scary words about how bad everything but this company is doesnt mean it true. I honestly hope no one who reads this actually thinks any of it is true.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment: just goes to show that it’s a big world out there, with lots of opinions – on almost everything!

  2. Sickened

    This review is so biased is sickening. Just because you can bold out scary words about how bad everything but this company is doesnt mean it true. I honestly hope no one who reads this actually thinks any of it is true.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment: just goes to show that it’s a big world out there, with lots of opinions – on almost everything!

  3. Alan

    Not that it matters much, but I fully agree with your assessment, Peter.

    Keep up these periodic ADT/Pulse updates. They may get sold, and that may be their only hope of righting that titanic. Present owner Tyco certainly doesn’t seem capable.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – Of course your opinion is highly valued here – you are one of our earliest and most loyal subscribers! Thanks for your comment. Yes, ADT may or may not be on the block, but the mere hint of a substantive change in ADT’s approach to customer service is sustaining to a lot of their customers. After Tyco (ADT’s parent) bought my old alarm company, Alarmguard, customer attrition soared: we had been running at just under 10% annual customer cancellations. In the twelve months after ADT took over the accounts, that number jumped to 30%. And the biggest reason: decrease in service level.

  4. Alan

    Not that it matters much, but I fully agree with your assessment, Peter.

    Keep up these periodic ADT/Pulse updates. They may get sold, and that may be their only hope of righting that titanic. Present owner Tyco certainly doesn’t seem capable.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – Of course your opinion is highly valued here – you are one of our earliest and most loyal subscribers! Thanks for your comment. Yes, ADT may or may not be on the block, but the mere hint of a substantive change in ADT’s approach to customer service is sustaining to a lot of their customers. After Tyco (ADT’s parent) bought my old alarm company, Alarmguard, customer attrition soared: we had been running at just under 10% annual customer cancellations. In the twelve months after ADT took over the accounts, that number jumped to 30%. And the biggest reason: decrease in service level.

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