Frequent readers of this blog know that I don’t hold a soft spot in my heart for alarm company operators who give this industry a bad name – for any reason. And that includes companies whose sales tactics include high pressure, fraud, and deception to make a sale. These predatory practices are not unique to any one business model, but they do seem to crop up more often with alarm companies that knock on doors.
The complaints about these door knockers number in the thousands, and the stories about homeowners victimized by them can be heartbreaking. Moreover, the toll on alarm industry credibility caused by door knockers continues to mount up. In fact, even in Canada it’s gotten pretty bad – so bad that there are newspaper articles about door knocker scams, like this one from Edmonton, Alberta. It’s a great write-up of how these hucksters operate – and has plenty of good advice that applies on either side of the border.
Homeowners need to avoid unscrupulous door-to-door alarm salespeople. They are the ones exerting high-pressure tactics in an effort to put one more sale on the board. Unfortunately door knocking can be an effective way of generating monitored accounts, so unless you live in a city that outlaws door-to-door solicitation, get used to it.
- The ‘neighbourhood special’ is a popular hook with these characters. You’ll be sure to hear about your neighbours down the street and around the corner who just purchased a system.
- Sometimes door-to-door alarm salesmen will resort to scare tactics like telling the homeowner there have been break-ins in their neighbourhood. All the door-to-door salesperson is doing is getting the homeowner worked up and thinking about their vulnerabilities whether warranted or not.
- These folks are tuned into making as much money as possible off people’s insecurities. They may come at you from the angle they are only targeting two or three families in the area to market a product line.
- Or you may get approached by someone claiming your security company has gone out of business with intent to replace or upgrade your system. The next thing you know, you are sitting down with a complete stranger giving him or her all your personal information including credit card, social insurance and driver’s license numbers.
Who Are These Door-Knockers?
In case this is a new topic for you, door knockers are the outfits whose representatives show up uninvited with a home security offer that is just too good to pass up. It is a sad fact that the absurdly high sales commissions paid to college students selling alarms door-to-door result in some door knockers engaging in overly aggressive selling – or even obliterating the truth to make a sale. That’s why I love this article from Edmonton – it really spells out the tricks these companies use, and also has some good recommendations.
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.
The Sad Truth About Alarm Door Knockers
Door-to-door alarm companies have generated thousands of complaints about overly aggressive sales tactics and serious misrepresentations. Get a full explanation on how the system works. And remember these companies sell phone and Internet connections that can easily be defeated by cutting the lines.
Cellular is Safer
Make sure you have a cellular back-up in place. And above all, don’t make any snap decisions. Always take time to think about your investment. Anyone who pushes you to purchase a home alarm system is not someone with whom you want to do business.
More on What You Can Do
Consumers should utilize the following tips to protect themselves in 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.