Summer door knocking is in full swing, so home alarm salespeople are already out in droves – probably in your neighborhood. These “door knockers” are still giving the alarm industry a bad rap. Ongoing reports of aggressive sales tactics, fraudulent and deceptive sales practices, and even stealing customers from other alarm companies are all too common, and come in from across the US, often from local branches of the BBB (Better Business Bureau). I recently read this report from Palm Beach, Florida, which describes the steps taken by one state to force the door knockers to clean up their act. It’s bad enough when you have to protect yourself from burglars – now you have to watch out for the alarm companies, too!
Pinnacle Security has settled a claim with the Florida Attorney General’s Office after consumers complained that the door-to-door sales company misled them, according to The Palm Beach Post. State officials reviewed about 335 complaints, primarily made by senior citizens against Pinnacle’s high-pressure sales practices.
Consumers stated that Pinnacle falsely told them that the company represented other security operations or claimed that those companies were being taken over by Pinnacle. Additionally, customers said the company overcharged them when they attempted to cancel their contracts and failed to replace or repair broken equipment.
Fines & Reforms
As a result of the settlement, Pinnacle will compensate clients it misled or overcharged. The company will also donate $25,000 to Seniors vs. Crime, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and protecting Florida’s senior citizens, and pay $100,000 for investigative fees and costs. Pinnacle has also agreed to remodel its business practices, including giving customers aged 70 or older 30 days to cancel their contracts instead of three days.
That’s funny – FrontPoint has always given its customers 30 days to cancel an agreement, with no risk whatsoever. When you make sure people are informed up front, and there’s no pressure to buy, you can do that. Too bad the AG did not make Pinnacle offer that 30 days to all their customers!
Check the Reviews
I often recommend that alarm shoppers check the BBB and other review sites to research the company represented by that polite but often pushy young person at your door. But remember, the door knockers are well trained to close the sale right away – they know if they allow you time to comparison shop and check reviews, the odds of getting you to sign on the bottom line decrease significantly. Here’s some great insight into how door knockers ply their trade – definitely worth the read
Most of these door knocker alarm companies are based in Utah – and ironically, it’s the UAA (Utah Alarm Association) that is encouraging all of its member companies to adopt the Electronic Security Association’s (ESA) code of ethics, which focuses on providing excellent service to customers.
What You Can Do – Five Great Tips
- In the first place, be very careful about who you let in your house in the first place. There are lots of stories in the news about burglars posing as alarm salespeople to case your home. More and more homeowners are now shopping on-line, and doing research on their own schedule.
- Check with BBB for a Business Review to see if a prospective company has a positive marketplace record and ensure it promptly dealt with any of the issues that may arise. Check other reviews sites as well, like Yelp and Epinions. You can even Google on the name of the company, adding the word “reviews” – you’ll be amazed at what you find.
- Compare apples-to-apples bids on similar systems. Do not forget to factor in an initial installation charge, as well as monthly monitoring charges. What does it cost to add equipment over the basic “teaser” system? That’s when it can get expensive. Prices vary widely, so do your homework.
- Does the system offer safer cellular monitoring? How about advanced interactive services? And how well does the company support these services? This is another area where BBB complaints can really tell the story: once you get past the aggressive sales pitch, you are still trusting your home and family to the quality of the service.
- Find out the length of a monitoring contract. Consider the following questions before you commit yourself to a long-term contract: what is your recourse if you are not satisfied with the services provided? Does the company offer the standard three days, or is there a 100% risk-free 30-day trial, like the one you get with FrontPoint?
When you check FrontPoint on the BBB site – and we certainly hope you will – you’ll see that we have the fewest complaints over the past 36 months of any nationwide alarm company. That’s because we’re the kind of company that consumers like to deal with. On the other hand, FrontPoint has more positive on-line reviews than any nationwide alarm company that we can find – also a very good sign that you can trust FrontPoint with your peace of mind.
As we’ve said before, FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we won’t be selling that way in the future. The best home security customers are the people who are 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. Our systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the leader in wireless home security – and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. We’re the best when you want interactive, wireless protection and peace of mind. And it also explains why FrontPoint has the best customer reviews in the business. See for yourself!