Home Alarm Systems – What To Do When Yours Doesn’t Work

Posted by , , at 11:11 am

It’s scary to learn that your alarm system doesn’t work – especially when you learn the hard way. That’s why reputable alarm companies strongly encourage you to test your system at least monthly. The best alarm companies take it even further: they use advanced technology to test the communication path to the monitoring center on a regular basis: up to several times a day. Now that kind of reliability gives a sense of security! Here’s a story about an alarm user in North Carolina whose faith in his alarm system – and in his alarm company – was severely shaken.

A Raleigh man says the idea of a security system gave his family piece of mind. However, homeowner Egbert Gracias says after it went off a few times and he got no call from the monitoring service, he realized there was a problem. But more than two months after reporting it, he says the system still didn’t work.

What He Did Next

“I called customer service and told them it’s going off, no one is calling us, and they looked and said yes, it looks as if we aren’t getting any signal from your house either, so we did a test and figured it wasn’t working,” Gracias said. He says a technician was then sent out to his house. “He diagnosed the issue that when the alarm goes off it dials out but the monitoring center is not getting dialed from my phone system,” Gracias said.

Caught in the Middle

Gracias says he got in touch with his phone provider, but he was told everything was fine on their end. So Gracias went back to calling his alarm company. He claims he was promised someone would be out, but nothing. “If you can’t fix it by this weekend I want to disconnect the system, because there’s no point in paying you when you don’t understand the point of a security system,” Gracias said.

A Standard Alarm Industry Complaint

With no fix, Gracias tried to cancel, but was denied since he’s under contract.  “My system is not working, I’m paying them to monitor the alarm system and they don’t even know it’s not working,” Gracias said. “This has been going on for three months now.” It was then when Gracias says he also learned his contract was sold to another company, Safe Home Security. While another company originally installed the system in 2006, the president of that company said they sold his contract to Safe Home Security four years ago, and Safe Home Security is responsible for taking care of the issues. But to do the right thing, Security Force’s president sent a technician out to fix Gracias’ alarm system.

There are two common themes here: the first is that plenty of alarm companies create accounts, only to turn the service and monitoring over to another party. My post on the ADT Authorized Dealers explains how this works, and it’s true that many other alarm companies do the exact same thing. The second theme is the sense of felling “trapped” by a monitoring contract, and this is a recurring topic on the complaint web sites that cover alarm companies – addressed in this post on alarm company reviews.

Getting Attention – and Results

Frustrated, Gracias got in touch with ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. Wilson got in touch with Safe Home Security and Security Force Inc., the company Gracias originally signed up with in 2006.  “Within a couple hours of her sending an e-mail I got a call from the president,” Gracias said. He says the president of Security Force Inc. assured him his problem would get corrected.

So in the end it worked out, but it was not easy. You certainly shouldn’t be calling the local television station to get attention from the service provider that you supposedly trust to protect your home and family. And by the way, you shouldn’t have an alarm system that depends on a phone line, either! FrontPoint is the nation’s only alarm company using 100% cellular monitoring – the safest, most reliable protection you can find. That’s just one of many reasons why FrontPoint is the leading provider for interactive, wireless home security across the US and Canada. Another reason is the fact that we do test your system’s cellular communication path several times a day, and a third is our long list of five-star online reviews. And by the way – when you have questions, you’ll always be calling us.

Comments (15)

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  1. Jerry Wright

    We had the same problem with Security Force Inc. In Raleigh, NC it went off two different times no one came out and the police or we were never called and they never even came out to fix it when I called them! So I stopped paying and they turned it over to the credit agencies. We also have a frind we know that also had (SFI) and their house burnt to the ground theirs never worked either so don’t use these people at all!!!!!!!

  2. kirito robe

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  3. Richard homer

    I see that alarms companies are the same, when there alarm doesn’t work correctly and you tell them that you will cancel. They say ok but you still have pay the bill until the contract is up. I don’t believe that they can make you pay when there service is at fault and they can’t fix the problem. So I will send a letter of canceling there service and notify the bank don’t pay onthe acvount

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Richard – thanks for your comments. We are sorry to hear that you are having issues with your alarm system, even if that system is from another alarm company. Everyone deserves peace of mind, especially when they are paying good money for a sense of security. That being said, I would like to point our that not all alarm companies are the same in terms of customer satisfaction. We have earned our outstanding reputation in part because we work with every one of our subscribers to make sure that they are happy with FrontPoint – starting with our transparent marketing, our consultative sales process, and our world-class support. All these factors combined are what have earned us the highest reviews of any nationwide alarm services provider. It’s no accident – it takes a lot of work from all the teams here at FrontPoint to make that happen. And when it comes to fixing problems, that is something we pride ourselves on doing particularly well. We hope your current situation works itself out to your satisfaction. Thanks again for your comment.

  4. Richard homer

    Securiy network alarm goes off when not activated this has happened 4 times as a result the police come. I told them I going to camcel

  5. Glade Thompson

    Alarm selling companies are not security companies. The best way to tell the difference is if you can have the personal phone number to your account manager. My company was as cheap as any one and no time contract was required.Certified alarm services out of Utah is a real security company and will give you your account manager’s cell # for less money than any door to door sales company. look them up

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Glade, for your comment. I happened to notice when reviewing the minutes of the November 3, 2011 meeting of the Utah Alarm Security Licensing Board that you have been accepted by the Board as the Qualifying Agent for Certified Alarm Services. While I certainly agree with some aspects of your comment, it’s a bit difficult for me to take your observations as objective and dispassionate, when in fact you are representing the company: when you say “My company,” your words could be interpreted as if you are a customer, vs. an employee. A recommendation from an employee carries a different kind of weight, as I’m sure you understand.

      In addition, I did “look them up” (meaning Certified) on the Internet, and this is what I found at the company’s web site under the heading, “Our Company:”

      “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc tristique tortor eget nulla eleifend feugiat. Donec nulla felis, vulputate fringilla ultrices id, congue et odio. Integer urna orci, pellentesque eget interdum a, iaculis tempus odio. Integer ante magna, pulvinar ut ornare nec, tempus at erat. Mauris quis sem eget arcu volutpat cursus non eget tortor.”

      I suspect your web site is still under construction. We wish you all success, and heartily agree that the door knocking alarm companies do not represent the future of the alarm industry.

      • Glade Thompson

        Peter, Yes I used a poor choice of words it was not my intention to be deceptive just discriptive of how to tell the diference. I am their Qualifier but I own a service company and am serviced by them for monitoring. My account manager is Nick Pagnani and I informed him of his poor website, he informed me he’ll get it up and running. I’m happy someone actually read what I wrote and responded. Thank you

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Thanks, Glade, for the clarification. There are certainly many alarm companies providing high levels of service, in addition to FrontPoint – after all, there are roughly 13,000 alarm service providers ion the US! My point is that some of the big names out there – not just the 800 lb. gorilla, but also some of the more notable door-knocker companies, are more focused on creating new customers than they are on taking care of their existing accounts – and it shows in their on-line reputations, and their cancellation rates.

          As for reading reading and replying to your comment, that’s our job: after all, this forum is meant to be a vehicle for the honest exchange of ideas and information. If we only post the comments we like, then how credible are we? It’s one of our goals to be as transparent as possible in just about everything we do – be it marketing, sales, or social media. Thanks again, and good luck to Nick and his company. Thre is always room at the top for good providers!

  6. Glade Thompson

    Alarm selling companies are not security companies. The best way to tell the difference is if you can have the personal phone number to your account manager. My company was as cheap as any one and no time contract was required.Certified alarm services out of Utah is a real security company and will give you your account manager’s cell # for less money than any door to door sales company. look them up

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Glade, for your comment. I happened to notice when reviewing the minutes of the November 3, 2011 meeting of the Utah Alarm Security Licensing Board that you have been accepted by the Board as the Qualifying Agent for Certified Alarm Services. While I certainly agree with some aspects of your comment, it’s a bit difficult for me to take your observations as objective and dispassionate, when in fact you are representing the company: when you say “My company,” your words could be interpreted as if you are a customer, vs. an employee. A recommendation from an employee carries a different kind of weight, as I’m sure you understand.

      In addition, I did “look them up” (meaning Certified) on the Internet, and this is what I found at the company’s web site under the heading, “Our Company:”

      “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc tristique tortor eget nulla eleifend feugiat. Donec nulla felis, vulputate fringilla ultrices id, congue et odio. Integer urna orci, pellentesque eget interdum a, iaculis tempus odio. Integer ante magna, pulvinar ut ornare nec, tempus at erat. Mauris quis sem eget arcu volutpat cursus non eget tortor.”

      I suspect your web site is still under construction. We wish you all success, and heartily agree that the door knocking alarm companies do not represent the future of the alarm industry.

      • Glade Thompson

        Peter, Yes I used a poor choice of words it was not my intention to be deceptive just discriptive of how to tell the diference. I am their Qualifier but I own a service company and am serviced by them for monitoring. My account manager is Nick Pagnani and I informed him of his poor website, he informed me he’ll get it up and running. I’m happy someone actually read what I wrote and responded. Thank you

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Thanks, Glade, for the clarification. There are certainly many alarm companies providing high levels of service, in addition to FrontPoint – after all, there are roughly 13,000 alarm service providers ion the US! My point is that some of the big names out there – not just the 800 lb. gorilla, but also some of the more notable door-knocker companies, are more focused on creating new customers than they are on taking care of their existing accounts – and it shows in their on-line reputations, and their cancellation rates.

          As for reading reading and replying to your comment, that’s our job: after all, this forum is meant to be a vehicle for the honest exchange of ideas and information. If we only post the comments we like, then how credible are we? It’s one of our goals to be as transparent as possible in just about everything we do – be it marketing, sales, or social media. Thanks again, and good luck to Nick and his company. Thre is always room at the top for good providers!

  7. Alan

    Yep, so many people out there paying for nothing, and an even larger amount paying for next to nothing. The illusion of security, not security.

  8. Alan

    Yep, so many people out there paying for nothing, and an even larger amount paying for next to nothing. The illusion of security, not security.