I’ve made it pretty clear that I have little patience (or sympathy) for alarm companies that give our industry a bad name. Sadly, there are more than enough bad actors out there. One might expect that companies purporting to sell peace of mind would not stoop so low… but think again.
Of course, some of the door knocking alarm companies are at the top of my list for pet peeves, because of their overly aggressive sales tactics that often include fraudulent and deceptive practices: the fines, lawsuits, and other legal actions taken against these companies are well documented. But there are other tactics in use besides door knocking, as shown by this recent article from Indiana. Now it’s not just opening your door salespeople you have to worry about – it’s even answering your phone!
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Hoosiers should be wary of calls and door-to-door solicitors offering home security or alarm systems. More than 150 consumers from across the state recently filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office after receiving unwanted calls, including robocalls, offering home security systems. Zoeller’s office tracked the illegal out-of-state calls to Justin Ramsey, owner of Loyal Marketing, LLC, and subsequently filed a state lawsuit.
A Clear Warning to Homeowners
“Consumers should be cautious when receiving an unsolicited call or knock at the door from a home-security salesperson,” Zoeller said. “High-pressure or deceptive sales tactics are often used by scammers to convince you to buy an expensive alarm monitoring contract or replace your current alarm monitoring company. Hoosiers can usually expect an uptick in these types of solicitations leading into spring.”
He’s got that right! Spring into summer is when these hucksters are the most active. We know a lot about how these companies operate.
Real Money – and a No Show
A Hamilton County Superior Court judge awarded the state a Default Judgment against Ramsey which included $4.375M in civil penalties after the defendant failed to respond. Zoeller said the judgment marks the second highest total amount awarded to the state in a case involving telephone privacy violations, and his office will aggressively pursue what is owed to the state.
What to Look Out For
Zoeller said unscrupulous solicitors may make you a limited-time offer and pressure you to make a quick decision. Consumers should be on alert for offers of free security systems which are often attached to pricey, long-term system monitoring contracts. A salesperson may also tell consumers that their current security company has gone out of business or was purchased by the salesperson’s company, or may even use scare tactics by mentioning a rash of burglaries in your neighborhood.
Robocalls Mostly Illegal
In Indiana, most robocalls are illegal regardless of whether or not your number is registered on the Do Not Call list. Exceptions include calls from school districts to students, parents or employees and businesses advising employees of work schedules.
Zoeller advised Hoosiers that legitimate telemarketers will not call those numbers registered on the state’s Do Not Call list and that those who are on the state’s protected list should treat any unsolicited call as a scam and hang-up immediately.
How Alarm Companies Should Operate
Alarm companies should meet or exceed certain guidelines. They are encouraged to implement policies and procedures that provide the highest standards of quality and consumer protections. Let’s face it, safety and security is what this business is all about, so potential and existing customers need to be treated with respect. Sales reps need to conduct their business dealings with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. They also should act as reasonable and responsible citizens in the communities in which they work.
- They need to clearly identify themselves by name, company and purpose of their solicitation to the potential customer at the beginning of their sales pitch.
- The salesperson also needs to be properly licensed and registered in compliance with all the applicable laws ordinances and regulations.
- A sales representative must immediately leave a homeowner’s premise upon request. If there is a “No Solicitation” sign posted on a residence, a salesperson should not approach the home.
More on What You Can Do
Consumers should utilize the following tips to protect themselves regarding door-to-door sales:
- Be wary of high pressure tactics. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t answer the door.
- Get all verbal promises in writing. Otherwise, they may not be honored.
- Read the fine print. Check the length of the contract and all costs, including equipment, installation, and monthly monitoring fees.
- Understand your right to cancel. For door-to-door sales, sellers generally must give you three days to cancel and they cannot start the installation or any service until after the cancellation period has ended.
- Take your time. Don’t sign a contract until you have carefully reviewed it.
The fact of the matter is that it pays to shop, so take your time: you’ll find more generous offers from other alarm companies with far better reputations and service records – like FrontPoint. When you’re ready to learn why we are the nationwide leader in wireless home security, just check us out online. You’ll find that FrontPoint has more positive reviews than any US alarm company. We make home security and home automation safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And best of all, you’ll never have to answer that knock at your door – or worry about an unsolicited phone call.