Summer is high season for some alarm companies to knock on doors, which means numerous complaints and alerts from all over the US on aggressive and fraudulent sales practices. Warnings abound from the BBB (Better Business Bureau), the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), and even AARP – and every week I read of another town revoking the door-to-door license from one or more of these companies, most of which are based out of Utah. With several million homeowners being approached each summer, many who give in to the well-rehearsed (and often high-pressured) sales tactics develop buyer’s remorse later. But in a recent report from Berrien County, Georgia, one new alarm customer was upset immediately: by the loss of a family heirloom, which was apparently stolen by the alarm company technician installing the system. Seems like the last person you should have to worry about…
Berrien County investigators arrested a man they say stole a ring from a home while installing an alarm system. Investigators received several complaints about a Utah-based alarm company aggressively trying to sell their products over the holiday weekend. Investigators say they’re moving on to other towns and they want people to be careful before they buy anything from solicitors. Investigators say this ring was recovered from a Valdosta apartment where 20 year old Corey Macmurdo was staying. They say he’s part of a group traveling through South Georgia selling and installing alarm systems.
Barely Time to Think
One of the hallmarks of the door knockers is that they attempt to install the system almost immediately after the sale. The FTC requires a three-day right of rescission, often referred to as the “cooling off period” for sales made in the home. With plenty of sales pressure up front and company insistence on the system being installed immediately, it doesn’t leave the homeowner any time to consider their purchase. In fact, the FTC has issued a bulletin warning consumers about these alarm companies – and used the term “home alarm sales scams” in their alert. These companies move fast!
“They came into Nashville over Memorial Day Holiday weekend. By Tuesday Wednesday they were in Douglas,” said Berrien County Investigator Steve Miller. Macmurdo is from Mapleton, Utah. He was charged Wednesday with theft by taking. Tuesday morning, Linda Stone called Berrien County investigators to report the ring had been stolen. They sold the alarm to her on Sunday and installed it Memorial Day (the next day). “Apparently one of the installers while in the house had opened up a drawer and stole a family ring,” said Miller.
Details on Door Knocker Company
The company is Vivint and investigators say the group puts these signs up in people’s yards after the systems are installed. They randomly knock on doors. Once a sale has taken place, the alarm systems are installed that same day or the following day. Linda Stone told us over the phone she thought she’d never get her ring back. It belonged to her mother who’s been dead for 25 years. She calls it a miracle and thanks investigators.
What You Can Do
Investigators say you should take time to check out a company before you buy an alarm system from them. It’s also not a good idea to leave workers unsupervised in your home. Lisa Davis, the spokesperson for Vivint says Macmurdo has been fired. She says the company has zero tolerance when it comes to these activities and that they really appreciate the action of the investigators. She says this is very unusual for the company and that they’re taking care of the customer.
I’m sure this kind of incident is unusual: otherwise we would certainly hear about it more often. It’s just a shame it had to happen at all – and is a good reminder why many of the best wireless alarm systems today are ordered over the phone or Internet and designed to be easily set up by the homeowner in only half an hour. No salesperson or technicians in your house – now that’s an improvement! Here’s a link to a great list of tips to follow when you hear that knock on your door.
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 the people who are looking for a system in the first place, and with home security expanding 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 – and beware that knock!