Door Knocker Scam: Another Alarm Company Steals Competitor’s Customer, Gets Caught

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The home alarm industry is more cut-throat than ever, as increasing reports on alarm sales scams demonstrate. Many long-time alarm veterans (myself included) attribute a sizable chunk of the bad press and escalating complaints of fraud and high pressure sales to one alarm sales business model in particular. One thing is clear: there’s no way to justify one alarm company blatantly “poaching” customers from another alarm company. Poaching can be hard to prove, but lawsuits do happen (as when ADT sued door-knocker Pinnacle Security for poaching ADT’s customers). Now Pinnacle is back in the news, in this recent article on poaching in Omaha, NE, for poaching from a different alarm company. If you get the impression that I think door knocking in general is at least partly to blame for alarm industry reputation issues – you’re right.

If you get a knock on the door from a home security salesman, be on the alert. An elderly Omaha woman claims to have been fooled into buying a second alarm system she can’t afford. Late Saturday afternoon, a home security salesman knocked on Bobbie’s door at 132nd and Harrison, but she wasn’t alarmed. “They walked up and saw my alarm sign. I thought all along they were with SEI because that’s who I have, and that’s the impression they gave me.”

Getting at the Truth

SEI (Security Equipment, Inc.) tells “Six on Your Side” it doesn’t sell door to door or install systems on weekend evenings. Not until after the contract was signed and the salesman replaced the SEI sign with a Pinnacle sign did Bobbie realize she wasn’t dealing with SEI, but a different company. Bobbie’s daughter faxed a cancellation notice to Pinnacle on Monday.

These Pressure Sales Cab Be Hard to Undo

“They still deducted it from my account,” said Bobbie. Pinnacle Security withdrew the first payment from her checking account on Tuesday. “Whether or not it’s a viable system really isn’t the point,” said Bobbie’s daughter, Wendy Geiger. “The point is that they didn’t show good ethics and we don’t want their product.” Bobbie didn’t realize she would still have to pay $60 quarterly on her contract with SEI even though that panel had been switched out Saturday night by Pinnacle, which charges its own monthly fee.  Fifty-three more bucks a month is not in my budget.”

Finally, a Happy Ending

SEI reinstalled its alarm panel and hooked Bobbie back to its system. Wendy hopes her mom learned that before signing any contract, alert the kids. Pinnacle Security took a first payment of $53 out of Bobbie’s checking account. A company spokesman promises that money will be refunded, saying Pinnacle prohibits its salesmen from pretending to be with a homeowner’s current security system just to get in the door.

Not all door knocking companies poach, and even at the companies who are less strict about poaching, it’s not every salesperson that engages in this type of fraud. But this story represents a classic example of poaching: a door knocker sales rep pretending that he or she works for the homeowner’s alarm company. It happens too much. By the way, the companies that focus on door knocking for alarm sales are easy to find, based on their trail of bad reviews, law suits, fines, and warnings from the BBB and even the Federal Trade Commission.

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. Alarm companies with integrity don’t allow their employees to resort to these tactics – and fire them immediately if it happens. The problem is that some alarm company cultures don’t make it sufficiently clear what is acceptable, and what is not.

With home security evolving to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand for total peace of mind – and for FrontPoint – is increasing. We offer systems that 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 think twice about letting that door knocker in your home.

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