Beware the Alarm Salesperson at Your Door: Summer is Peak Season for Door Knockers – and Scams.

Posted by , , at 11:55 am

The warnings are flooding in from all across the US: attorneys general in many states, local law enforcement, regional offices of theBBB (Better Business Bureau), AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons), and even the granddaddy of them all – the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). And what are they all warning about? Door knockers, specifically the ones selling alarm systems. Fraudulent and deceptive sales practices are causing complaints in the thousands, and some door knocker alarm companies have even had their licenses revoked in numerous states. Here’s a snippet from the recent AARP warning on door knockers:

Some are not salespeople at all. They’re just impersonators trying to find out about any existing alarm system you have. They may ask to come inside to inspect your home. What they’re really doing is casing it for a possible burglary. But some of the real alarm salespeople who will visit millions of homes this summer are thieves as well. They will target you with high-pressure pitches, scare tactics or outright lies to try to persuade you to sign up.

Slamming – a Common Practice

One common ploy is known as “slamming:” the salesperson falsely tells you that your current alarm company has gone out of business and has passed your account on to another firm. (Guess whose?) Fall for this one and you can be saddled with double billing, higher service fees and hassles when you wise up and try to cancel the new provider.

Of all the various complaints, this one is the worst – and is the primary cause of many of the suits filed by states such as Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Illinois against door knocking alarm companies. And even ADT has sued at least one of these companies for the same thing.

A Case Study

A sales rep told Minnesotan Mary Jackson, 88, that her existing provider had gone belly-up, then pressured her into signing a contract with a new company. “The man just walked into my home and put in a new box before I could do anything,” she recalls. “He was very pushy.” When she learned that her old company was still in business, she tried to cancel the new service — and was told she’d need to pay $3,000 to do that.

What You Can Do

We’ve already heard reports of happy FrontPoint customers being approached by door knockers, saying that they are “taking over” the FrontPoint account – and need to install new hardware, and get a new contract signed. Don’t be fooled – there is no such program! If you have any questions, please call FrontPoint directly: we’ll put these scam artists in their place. The good news is that FrontPoint subscribers are the most loyal and least susceptible to slamming of any alarm customers: it just makes sense, since with FrontPoint you pay less, get more, and have the benefit of advanced features combined with world-class service. The folks at AARP have some great advice on how to deal with door knockers, and so does FrontPoint – and this advice is not just for retirees!

  • Don’t let anyone into your house on a first call. Instead, ask for printed literature and a business card — a badge or ID can be forged — and use the information to check out the company. Make sure to look for information about it on the websites of the Better Business Bureau and your state’s attorney general. If you decide to pursue the service, call the company to come back for a second visit.
  • Ask about company alarm licensing, and individual licensing – many of these sale people are not licensed, or their companies aren’t.
  • Ignore claims that an offer is for a limited time only and that technicians are ready to immediately install the system. Reputable companies let you compare bids and engage in a comprehensive review of your security needs: if you are forced to buy on the spot, it’s probably not an offer that will stand up to scrutiny and research.
  • Ask for all procedures in writing. If the alarm sounds, does the company first notify you or the police? Will you be charged for false alarms? What’s the early termination fee?
  • Ask about safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive services – and what they really cost – since you want the best services, and because door knocker companies generally charge a premium price for equipment and monthly fees.

FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we don’t plan to sell that way in the future. That’s only part of why FrontPoint has an “A” rating with the BBB – instead of an “F,” like some door knocker companies. The best home security customers are homeowners looking for a system in the first place, and with home security expanding to including to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand is increasing. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the #1 choice in the US and Canada for interactive, wireless home alarm systems. And it also explains why we have the highest customer loyalty in the business. Just read the FrontPoint reviews!

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