Each year we find new and exciting ways to leverage the internet – whether to view family photos, stay informed on current events or find the best restaurants. In one of our popular blogs last May, Peter advised us to use internet research prior to buying an alarm system. In the same post he also shared tips on some unsavory industry sales practices, designed to take advantage of consumers.
The blog was entitled Beware of “Free” Alarm Systems, but the broader message is, “you’re the boss of your own buying decisions.” No company should try to pressure you into making a snap decision that parts you with your hard-earned cash. And some companies that seem to be offering a great deal, might not actually be upfront about the bottom line charges involved.
Fortunately, online reviews and recommendations are certainly not limited to restaurants or travel destinations. Consumers are stepping forward in record numbers to share their experiences about products and services of all types, including home security. In addition, many websites and organizations exist to help protect consumers from improper business practices.
One of the most reputable consumer protection agencies is, of course, the Better Business Bureau. The BBB compiled this useful list of 9 tips designed specifically for alarm system shoppers:
Nine Great Shopping Tips from the BBB
- Contact at least three companies before selecting an alarm service provider, and ask if they screen employees before hiring.
- Check with BBB for a Business Review to see if a prospective company has a positive marketplace record and ensure it promptly dealt with any of the issues that may arise.
- Once you have narrowed your search, contact your state department of consumer protection to be sure that the alarm company is a licensed contractor if as required by law. Remember, not all are required to be licensed: it depends on the state, and the alarm company’s business model.
- Compare apples-to-apples bids on similar systems. Do not forget to factor in an initial installation charge, as well as monthly monitoring charges.
To read the rest of the tips from the BBB, click here.
Like the BBB, FrontPoint strongly encourages research before you make any major purchase, especially a home security system. The safety of your home and family should be placed in the hands of a company you can trust. When you research FrontPoint , you’ll learn two very important facts: 1) FrontPoint has more positive online reviews than any nationwide alarm company; and, 2) FrontPoint has fewer complaints than any nationwide alarm company. This unbiased feedback from customers and third parties can go a long way toward enhancing your peace of mind.
But what about cost? No one tries to pretend that price isn’t important. And some alarm companies still try to draw customers in with the allure of “free” alarm equipment packages. Unfortunately, this package is rarely, if ever, enough to actually protect your home. Once you add on the missing ingredients that you really need, the total price is far from Free. And these alarm companies are also notorious for hidden fees that they never got around to mentioning during their sales pitch – like fees for activation and installation, as well as monthly increases for the safety of cellular alarm signaling.
From Day 1, the policy at FrontPoint is 100% transparency and upfront pricing. There’s no mystery over what you will pay for a FrontPoint system, and what you will get for your security dollar. Our packages are simple, straight-forward, and completely customizable. The price for each piece of equipment is clearly listed on our website. Your monthly costs won’t increase if you add new sensors. Every monthly monitoring plan automatically includes cellular alarm signaling – for no extra charge. And every monitoring plan covers you for fire, environmental threats and medical emergencies, as well as intrusion. We offer a complete package, because our #1 goal is to keep you safe, while making your life easier.
Telemarketing, door-to-door sales and cold-calling are also annoying tactics that FrontPoint has never undertaken. We only sell to people who actually want a home security system and have contacted us. And then we extend outstanding service and customer care. No wonder we get so many rave customer reviews!
Don’t Be Bullied
Some alarm companies still use pressure sales tactics to intimidate consumers and get a quick sale. Common tactics include the Time Pressure approach, with reps saying, “You must buy now.” You might hear a line like, “This is a one-time-only offer. If you’re not ready to commit, I’m going to offer this deal to someone else.”
Some security companies also employ door-to-door salespeople that are often very aggressive. In some areas, heavy-handed techniques have become such a problem that local jurisdictions passed legislation prohibiting or limiting door-to-door selling.
So we’re back to the main message: you’re the boss. No one should pressure you to buy. Take all the time you need to get the full picture, fully reviewing all offers. Ask all the right questions, and understand every aspect of the costs involved, specifically extra fees for cellular, activation, installation, interactive/remote control and even shipping. Discuss the offer with your family and friends. Check out the customer reviews. And pick then the alarm system that’s best for you.