Door Knocking Scams in the News Again: Lawsuit Filed by Ohio Attorney General

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Yes, summer is almost over, but the constant complaints about seasonal door knocking alarm sales programs are still rolling in. Remember, these are the outfits whose representatives come to your door with an offer that is just too good to pass up. Of course, these deals are often just that: too good. And the high-pressure sales pitch – and even the fraudulent and deceptive tactics – that have come to embody door-to-sales in the alarm industry have now irked one more Attorney General to the point of filing a law suit: this time in Ohio.

Even the Federal Trade Commission has Warned

These high-pressure hucksters are routinely in trouble, as you can tell from checking their poor reviews, countless complaints, and the fines, lawsuits, and other government actions listed on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website. Even the Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about these folks.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a lawsuit charging Utah-based Vision Security LLC with misleading Ohio consumers and failing to honor their cancellation requests. “This business came to consumers’ homes and pressured them into buying security systems,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Representatives misrepresented the costs and sometimes lied about the company’s identity. We are seeking restitution for past customers and protection for future customers.”

Details on the Suit

According to the lawsuit, Vision Security is based at 508 West 800 North in Orem, Utah. It sells home security systems to consumers, typically requiring five-year contracts. The Attorney General’s Office has received 15 complaints against the business, six of which are unresolved. In their complaints, consumers said the business made misrepresentations, such as indicating salespeople were with the consumer’s current security company, and failed to honor their attempts to cancel.

These are classic complaints, including the misrepresentation claims, where a door knocker pretends to be from a homeowner’s existing alarm company. As word has gotten out on door knockers, and it’s harder to make the sale, some of them are resorting to lies and downright fraud to sign up new customers.

It’s Probably Much Worse

More Ohio consumers may be affected; hundreds of complaints from consumers nationwide are on file with the Better Business Bureau. Attorney General DeWine’s lawsuit charges the business with multiple violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act. Counts include making misleading representations and failing to honor consumers’ three-day right to cancel. DeWine seeks consumer restitution, civil penalties, and injunctive relief. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office receives dozens of complaints a year about security monitoring services. Many of the complaints involve home visits.

What Can You 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.

Why Worse This Summer?

The rest of the alarm industry agrees that door knocking this summer has hit new ethical lows. Reasons include fierce competition in recruiting door knocking sale personnel, huge hiring bonuses to lure sales managers and sale reps away from other door knocking companies, and a shakeup among the top companies who sell this way. It’s known that the obscenely high sales commissions paid to college students selling door-to-door result in some door knockers engaging in overly aggressive selling – or even obliterating the truth to make a sale. As mentioned above, some cases involve poaching subscribers from other alarm companies. And while the door knockers claim such behavior is limited, or old news, recent lawsuits such as the Ohio action refer to ongoing fraud and deception.

Harder to Sell Door-to Door

As many door knockers know, the bad news is out: customer complaints and horrible reviews continue to accumulate. Remember, door knockers don’t want you to research them: the complaints are too many and too easy to find, along with low ratings from the BBB – to say nothing of more attractive offers from other alarm companies with 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. We make home security and home automation safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And best of all, you never have to answer that knock at your door.

Comments (5)

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  1. Artie Gregorsome

    Great analysis , For my two cents if you a Form ea 954 , my wife filled out a fillable version here https://goo.gl/iRcsfH

  2. Alan

    Glad FP is keeping the spotlight on these shady operators.

    I highly recommend people getting “No Soliciting” signs. I did about a year ago or so, and have had not one solicitor that I know of since. Many/most jurisdictions forbid most solicitors from disregarding these signs. Even those that are technically able too apparently still respect the sign. And if someone does not, that is reason enough to be more suspicious.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – excellent point, and good advice. Thanks!

  3. Alan

    Glad FP is keeping the spotlight on these shady operators.

    I highly recommend people getting “No Soliciting” signs. I did about a year ago or so, and have had not one solicitor that I know of since. Many/most jurisdictions forbid most solicitors from disregarding these signs. Even those that are technically able too apparently still respect the sign. And if someone does not, that is reason enough to be more suspicious.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – excellent point, and good advice. Thanks!

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