More Complaints Lodged Against ADT by Former Brink’s Customers

Posted by , , at 2:15 pm

It’s now been well over a year since ADT acquired Broadview Security (the name that Brink’s Home Security adopted not long before selling out to ADT). After Brink’s was absorbed, the alarm industry wondered aloud what would happen to the one million-plus loyal and happy Brink’s customers: after all, Brink’s was famous for excellent customer service, and ADT was known by many for just the opposite. I’ve continued to watch the industry press and the alarm company review sites for indication of how it’s going, and there is increasing evidence that it has not gone well. There are plenty of former Brink’s customers lodging complaints against ADT, and by reading them you can learn a lot about ADT’s business philosophy. Here’s a great example:

Where to start? Originally we had Broadview Security, which was bought out by ADT. We loved Broadview, by the way. Anyhow, we moved during the buyout and contacted them to install the new security system in our home – and that’s where all the problems started.

This is a common theme in these complaints – I loved my old company, and we had good service. Brink’s/Broadview was known for outdated technology (they were inexplicably late in changing over to wireless sensors and cellular monitoring), but their customer service was first rate. As an alarm company known for excellent service, we actually miss them as a competitor: they were good for the alarm industry as a whole.

The Sordid Details

We went through probably 4 or 5 installers, all whom either did only part of the job, or installed equipment incorrectly, or damaged our home. They put our siren in our garage (which is insulated to block sound), so we can’t hear it if it goes off. The motion sensor randomly went off, and when we tried to get it fixed they never showed up. No one has showed up yet, and it’s been over a year fighting with them.

Sounds like a good case for systems that don’t require a technician – like FrontPoint!

More Bad News

Originally a manager promised us everything would be fixed, and we would receive 3 months free once it was corrected for all our trouble. Well, of course it hasn’t been fixed, but we continued to get billed. All we want is the system installed correctly, and we will be happy to pay our monthly bill. But we refuse to pay for a security system that hasn’t worked properly from the beginning. Oh, and every time one of the phone reps said they would fix it and get back to us all we got was a collection bill in the mail. Avoid ADT and go with a another company if you can, to save yourself from this terrible customer service.

Why Existing Customers are Like Gold

Most businesses have learned that it costs a lot less to keep an existing customer than it does to create a new one. That’s certainly true in the alarm industry, which is why smart companies treat their customers well, since every customer they retain is one less they have to replace as they grow. In fact, low customer attrition is one of the biggest “value drivers” in the home security sector.

Great Customer Reviews are Also Like Gold

Earlier this week I posted on alarm company review sites, since so many folks research and shop on line. This recent ADT complaint was posted on a site I follow named www.ripoffreport.com. Like most review sites, this site has more negative than positive commentary. I am happy to report that when you search the site for FrontPoint, there are no complaints found: just like almost every alarm review site you can find, including the BBB (Better Business Bureau)! FrontPoint is more about good news. And by the way, our customers move their FrontPoint systems from one home to the next at will, with no new contract, and no monitoring increase.

On-line shoppers quickly learn why we are the nationwide leader in interactive, wireless home security: our long list of five-star reviews spells out very clearly why we’re the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Being on top means we have to prove ourselves in every aspect of our business – and with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And best of all, there is never a salesperson or technician in your home. Now that’s peace of mind!

Comments (30)

Post a Comment | View Comments
  1. Kathy Kalt

    When ADT purchased Brinks/Broadview, we saw no change. Our system was installed in spring
    2008. In February 2014 we had “water bugs” installed in our basement after a neighbor (with the same model as ours) suffered a terrible loss when their water supply line gave way just inside their
    basement wall. I called for the installation of the water sensors. The “customer service” agent had no idea what we were talking about. She sent a technician, who had to return a second time with
    the correct items. We never saw or talked to someone in the billing department, except for the
    installation. We are moving and ADT has the nerve to charge us $429. for early exit from our contract. WHAT CONTRACT? WE SIGNED NOTHING!

  2. Nicole

    I never experienced anything bad, really. My bill stayed the same, service the same. However, why weren’t we offered any ADT equipment when they took over. I had to pay for signs and decals? I still have the brinks equipment, when we should have the updated keypads and other security features.

    • barry wallace

      I was disappointed with ADT when hired as a small business sales rep. Customer service took a backseat to production and fallout and cancellations were figured into the weekly sales forecast. these being new customers cancelling. negative management style flowing downward, mindless internal obstacles prohibitive to sales production, churn and burn treatment of new hires. never again.

  3. Samuel A Mistry

    I am a Sales Rep at ADT. Over the years, ADT gotten so large and pure profited minded that they forgotten the small simple things. That is, their employees and customer wants and needs are simple; they need prompt human interaction and don’t want to be treated like cattle going to the slaughter house. I believe my blog site spells this out (http://adtcomplaintsurvey.blogspot.com). Peter, please feel free to leave any comments you like on my blog site and do leave your site in your comments. I will not delete any of your comments or words and will publish any comments from you onto my blog. Even though we may disagree on different factors, the ones we both can agree on; are the customer and employees taken care of. I can appreciate fairness, constructive criticism, and different views. Thanks.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Samuel – thanks so much for your post, and for the link to your site. Your comment about customers wanting “prompt human interaction” is, we think, right on the money: and perhaps that is a large part of why FrontPoint enjoys such a high rating from its customers. We know there will always be challenges, issues, and problems, since no company is perfect, and we all make mistakes. What separates the good companies from the bad ones, many people feel, is the speed with which the company fixes the issue, and the obstacles (or lack thereof) that exist for the customers to get what they need, want, and expect. And as for employees, we are proud to say that FrontPoint has just been named a “Best Place to Work” in Virginia for the second straight year. This award is based purely on employee input, derived through a detailed survey that is sent to every employee. It appears we are doing something (or things) right for our employees here at FrontPoint, and that is reflected in how our employees treat our customers. We think that our Core Values have a lot to do with our success: Build Trust, Dream Big, and Be Awesome. Thanks again – and I will post a comment on your site. You are performing a valuable service for ADT employees and customers alike: the biggest company in the industry can – and should – do better.

  4. Samuel A Mistry

    I am a Sales Rep at ADT. Over the years, ADT gotten so large and pure profited minded that they forgotten the small simple things. That is, their employees and customer wants and needs are simple; they need prompt human interaction and don’t want to be treated like cattle going to the slaughter house. I believe my blog site spells this out (http://adtcomplaintsurvey.blogspot.com). Peter, please feel free to leave any comments you like on my blog site and do leave your site in your comments. I will not delete any of your comments or words and will publish any comments from you onto my blog. Even though we may disagree on different factors, the ones we both can agree on; are the customer and employees taken care of. I can appreciate fairness, constructive criticism, and different views. Thanks.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Samuel – thanks so much for your post, and for the link to your site. Your comment about customers wanting “prompt human interaction” is, we think, right on the money: and perhaps that is a large part of why FrontPoint enjoys such a high rating from its customers. We know there will always be challenges, issues, and problems, since no company is perfect, and we all make mistakes. What separates the good companies from the bad ones, many people feel, is the speed with which the company fixes the issue, and the obstacles (or lack thereof) that exist for the customers to get what they need, want, and expect. And as for employees, we are proud to say that FrontPoint has just been named a “Best Place to Work” in Virginia for the second straight year. This award is based purely on employee input, derived through a detailed survey that is sent to every employee. It appears we are doing something (or things) right for our employees here at FrontPoint, and that is reflected in how our employees treat our customers. We think that our Core Values have a lot to do with our success: Build Trust, Dream Big, and Be Awesome. Thanks again – and I will post a comment on your site. You are performing a valuable service for ADT employees and customers alike: the biggest company in the industry can – and should – do better.

  5. SK

    Hey,

    Just some general commentary on the relative levels of ADT customer service from a current employee in sales:

    – Relative install quality can vary greatly from district to district and even installer to installer. Some installers and districts within ADT are very good and some are horrible. Very inconsistent.
    – My experience with ADT 800 numbers is that they are built to confound and confuse customers. Always try to reach local district offices if possible, not brokers mind you, but company district offices.
    – Since going public, ADT has done nothing but increase rates, fees, and drive up subscription costs on existing customers to try to protect profit. They are doing so at the expense of never to be regained market share/customer loss.

    I’ve been at this company working for close to two years now, and I’d never consider their alarm systems for my house. In my experience once the systems are installed, they work pretty well, but the costs far outweigh the benefits of a cheaper, just as effective solution from local vendor.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, SK, for your comment. If there is anything that is more meaningful than a review from a customer, it’s a review from an employee. I know from personal experience that ADT is a very large and complex organization, and that the quality of a customer’s experience can vary widely from branch to branch. ADT purchased both of the companies I used to work for (SecurityLink and Alarmguard): after they bought Alarmguard, I went to work at Tyco, ADT’s parent, and spent a couple of years finding more companies to acquire and fold into ADT. Boy, did I learn a lot! For one thing, ADT lost 30% of Alarmguard’s customers in the first year – mostly for service-related issues. But the attitude at ADT was the biggest surprise: where problems existed, ADT seemed to feel they were too big to make any real changes that would help the company (or the customers). And it started with the simple act of a customer trying to reach someone who could resolve a problem, as you correctly observe. As for the rate increases, that is one of the biggest reasons for ADT customers to cancel, which they are doing at very high rates. ADT reports attrition of about 14%, which means one in seven customers leaving every year – that is above the industry average. But that number is based on monthly fee $, not on the number of accounts. If you use the number of accounts that cancel, real cancellation is (we hear) closer to one in six customers leaving every year. That is a terrible record, and it makes it harder for ADT to grow, which they need to do now that they are a standalone company.

      The fact that you would not get an ADT system yourself is perhaps the most telling of all. Well, I know a company that charges less than ADT, provides more value and service, and has the best reputation of any nationwide alarm company – and we’d love to help you feel protected and connected in your home!

  6. SK

    Hey,

    Just some general commentary on the relative levels of ADT customer service from a current employee in sales:

    – Relative install quality can vary greatly from district to district and even installer to installer. Some installers and districts within ADT are very good and some are horrible. Very inconsistent.
    – My experience with ADT 800 numbers is that they are built to confound and confuse customers. Always try to reach local district offices if possible, not brokers mind you, but company district offices.
    – Since going public, ADT has done nothing but increase rates, fees, and drive up subscription costs on existing customers to try to protect profit. They are doing so at the expense of never to be regained market share/customer loss.

    I’ve been at this company working for close to two years now, and I’d never consider their alarm systems for my house. In my experience once the systems are installed, they work pretty well, but the costs far outweigh the benefits of a cheaper, just as effective solution from local vendor.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, SK, for your comment. If there is anything that is more meaningful than a review from a customer, it’s a review from an employee. I know from personal experience that ADT is a very large and complex organization, and that the quality of a customer’s experience can vary widely from branch to branch. ADT purchased both of the companies I used to work for (SecurityLink and Alarmguard): after they bought Alarmguard, I went to work at Tyco, ADT’s parent, and spent a couple of years finding more companies to acquire and fold into ADT. Boy, did I learn a lot! For one thing, ADT lost 30% of Alarmguard’s customers in the first year – mostly for service-related issues. But the attitude at ADT was the biggest surprise: where problems existed, ADT seemed to feel they were too big to make any real changes that would help the company (or the customers). And it started with the simple act of a customer trying to reach someone who could resolve a problem, as you correctly observe. As for the rate increases, that is one of the biggest reasons for ADT customers to cancel, which they are doing at very high rates. ADT reports attrition of about 14%, which means one in seven customers leaving every year – that is above the industry average. But that number is based on monthly fee $, not on the number of accounts. If you use the number of accounts that cancel, real cancellation is (we hear) closer to one in six customers leaving every year. That is a terrible record, and it makes it harder for ADT to grow, which they need to do now that they are a standalone company.

      The fact that you would not get an ADT system yourself is perhaps the most telling of all. Well, I know a company that charges less than ADT, provides more value and service, and has the best reputation of any nationwide alarm company – and we’d love to help you feel protected and connected in your home!

  7. Joe

    We purchased our home with a Brinks system four years ago, and went through the Broadview/ADT transition. We completed our contract, and fell on hard times. We own the (worthless) hardware, and were told the system would be usable as a local alarm.

    What they don’t tell you is the keypad will begin beeping every night showing a “CH Trouble” code, calling for you to push the cancel button. This is a scam by Brinks to hassle you to sign up again. After speaking to ADT, they say it cannot be defeated. If you don’t mind getting up every night to cancel this beeping, yea, you can use the alarm,

    ADT esentially said they were sorry, and could do nothing about it. It was just our bad luck to have bought the Brink’s system it would seem. It’s no wonder they’re out of business, and a shame that ADT washes their hands of it.

    Folks, the gimmick that you will own the hardware that these alarm companies provide is a scam. This proprietary hardware is of little use if you cancel, or want to switch monitoring companies. You can buy name brand systems that are not locked to a provider. This will be our move next time.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Joe – Excellent points, and thanks for your comment. You are right about the approach that Brink’s used to take with their hardware – they made it pretty tough for the consumer if you ever wanted to change companies, or not renew with them. That issue is not so much a function of the specific hardware or manufacturer, but really the alarm company: it was Brink’s choice to operate this way. Considering the sterling reputation they had for consistently high customer service – much higher than ADT’s reputation, by the way – it is in retrospect surprising to me that Brink’s implemented this policy.

      By the way, FrontPoint will provide all the master codes for your hardware on demand, and you own the equipment day one. Yes, we do have an early termination fee if you have not fulfilled your contract obligation, but you are never “stuck” with useless equipment when you purchase from FrontPoint. There are many other companies who support the GE Security equipment that we selected. The other companies may just not support it as well as we do, or have the same flexibility and affordable monitoring plans with advanced interactive services.

      By the way, that is one more area where Brink’s fell short: technology. They were about the last major alarm company to adopt wireless sensors, they were very late on bringing in safer cellular monitoring, and they never did introduce the interactive features that are becoming increasingly common. FrontPoint is the opposite: 100% wireless sensors, 100% cellular monitoring, and almost all our customers use advanced interactive services.

      Thanks again!

  8. Joe

    We purchased our home with a Brinks system four years ago, and went through the Broadview/ADT transition. We completed our contract, and fell on hard times. We own the (worthless) hardware, and were told the system would be usable as a local alarm.

    What they don’t tell you is the keypad will begin beeping every night showing a “CH Trouble” code, calling for you to push the cancel button. This is a scam by Brinks to hassle you to sign up again. After speaking to ADT, they say it cannot be defeated. If you don’t mind getting up every night to cancel this beeping, yea, you can use the alarm,

    ADT esentially said they were sorry, and could do nothing about it. It was just our bad luck to have bought the Brink’s system it would seem. It’s no wonder they’re out of business, and a shame that ADT washes their hands of it.

    Folks, the gimmick that you will own the hardware that these alarm companies provide is a scam. This proprietary hardware is of little use if you cancel, or want to switch monitoring companies. You can buy name brand systems that are not locked to a provider. This will be our move next time.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Joe – Excellent points, and thanks for your comment. You are right about the approach that Brink’s used to take with their hardware – they made it pretty tough for the consumer if you ever wanted to change companies, or not renew with them. That issue is not so much a function of the specific hardware or manufacturer, but really the alarm company: it was Brink’s choice to operate this way. Considering the sterling reputation they had for consistently high customer service – much higher than ADT’s reputation, by the way – it is in retrospect surprising to me that Brink’s implemented this policy.

      By the way, FrontPoint will provide all the master codes for your hardware on demand, and you own the equipment day one. Yes, we do have an early termination fee if you have not fulfilled your contract obligation, but you are never “stuck” with useless equipment when you purchase from FrontPoint. There are many other companies who support the GE Security equipment that we selected. The other companies may just not support it as well as we do, or have the same flexibility and affordable monitoring plans with advanced interactive services.

      By the way, that is one more area where Brink’s fell short: technology. They were about the last major alarm company to adopt wireless sensors, they were very late on bringing in safer cellular monitoring, and they never did introduce the interactive features that are becoming increasingly common. FrontPoint is the opposite: 100% wireless sensors, 100% cellular monitoring, and almost all our customers use advanced interactive services.

      Thanks again!

    • William

      CH trouble on a Brinks panel is n upload issue it isn’t a scam. It can be a very easy fix with a service call. It sounds like you have people providing testimonials to sell your product not on fact but on fiction. This makes you just as bad as the bigger alarm companies of the world. By manipulating information to prey on peoples fears and anger

  9. kdnf

    ADT HAS BEEN GETTING ALOT OF NEGATIVE FEEDBACK, AND FOR GOOD REASON. I MYSELF WILL NEVER, NEVER DEAL WITH THEM.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment. It’s hard to be the biggest without getting some complaints – after all, ADT has millions of alarm subscribers in the US alone. But clearly there are lots of people who think that ADT is not the service provider it should be, which accounts for many thousands of complaints with the BBB, review sites, and consumer protection agencies. Some of the problems are caused by ADT’s authorized dealers, who can be aggressive in their sales tactics. And many complaints stem from the general perception that it can be really hard to find someone there to resolve almost any kind of problem: service, billing, contract, etc. We hope ADT improves, because as of today they lose about one in seven of their customers every year – and it’s reportedly getting worse. They are big enough to have an impact on how people feel about the alarm industry in general – that’s why we wish they would work on improving their reputation.

  10. kdnf

    ADT HAS BEEN GETTING ALOT OF NEGATIVE FEEDBACK, AND FOR GOOD REASON. I MYSELF WILL NEVER, NEVER DEAL WITH THEM.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment. It’s hard to be the biggest without getting some complaints – after all, ADT has millions of alarm subscribers in the US alone. But clearly there are lots of people who think that ADT is not the service provider it should be, which accounts for many thousands of complaints with the BBB, review sites, and consumer protection agencies. Some of the problems are caused by ADT’s authorized dealers, who can be aggressive in their sales tactics. And many complaints stem from the general perception that it can be really hard to find someone there to resolve almost any kind of problem: service, billing, contract, etc. We hope ADT improves, because as of today they lose about one in seven of their customers every year – and it’s reportedly getting worse. They are big enough to have an impact on how people feel about the alarm industry in general – that’s why we wish they would work on improving their reputation.

  11. Antonia Smalls

    ADT is not perfect but if you speak to the right person they will solve your problem rather quickly.
    For rebates Deals Specials and or billing and technical problem I use this number normally a supervisor will help you 1888-720-5982 mon thru friday 8am to 11pm saturday 9am to 10am sunday 10am to 6pm @ eastern time hope this helps you all. I use this number for additional credit and tech issues.

    • John Smith

      BEWARE… ADT is a SCAM. They will take your money, but they don’t monitor your home or business. This happened to us. Both our home and business were burglarized. No one came. Alarm did not go off. When we complained, ADT first gave some BS reason why the alarm did not go off, then tried to blame us for the alarm not going off saying we messed with the alarm connections which were in the ceiling of our offices, essentially unreachable by us. LIARS, THIEVES. SCAMMERS.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        John – thanks very much for your comment, and we are very sorry to hear about the negative experience you have had with ADT. While no company is perfect – especially when it comes to alarm companies – it has been amply demonstrated that bigger does not necessarily mean better. I remember very well that ADT purchased my old company (Alarmguard) we had annual cancellations at about 10% per year,k which was pretty good. In the first year after ADT purchased our company, the cancellation skyrocketed to 30%, primarily becasue of poor service. We had spoiled our customers, and ADT could not get it done – so a ton of customers left. While ADT has definitely improved since that time, they still have a way to go – as your story indicates. Thanks again.

  12. Antonia Smalls

    ADT is not perfect but if you speak to the right person they will solve your problem rather quickly.
    For rebates Deals Specials and or billing and technical problem I use this number normally a supervisor will help you 1888-720-5982 mon thru friday 8am to 11pm saturday 9am to 10am sunday 10am to 6pm @ eastern time hope this helps you all. I use this number for additional credit and tech issues.

    • John Smith

      BEWARE… ADT is a SCAM. They will take your money, but they don’t monitor your home or business. This happened to us. Both our home and business were burglarized. No one came. Alarm did not go off. When we complained, ADT first gave some BS reason why the alarm did not go off, then tried to blame us for the alarm not going off saying we messed with the alarm connections which were in the ceiling of our offices, essentially unreachable by us. LIARS, THIEVES. SCAMMERS.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        John – thanks very much for your comment, and we are very sorry to hear about the negative experience you have had with ADT. While no company is perfect – especially when it comes to alarm companies – it has been amply demonstrated that bigger does not necessarily mean better. I remember very well that ADT purchased my old company (Alarmguard) we had annual cancellations at about 10% per year,k which was pretty good. In the first year after ADT purchased our company, the cancellation skyrocketed to 30%, primarily becasue of poor service. We had spoiled our customers, and ADT could not get it done – so a ton of customers left. While ADT has definitely improved since that time, they still have a way to go – as your story indicates. Thanks again.

  13. Alan Draper

    As a Frontpoint customer for nearly 4 years, I wholeheartedly agree about your excellent customer service. The only other company across any industry that comes to mind as in the same ballpark in my experience so far is usaa. I think you guys are in the top 1% of all companies, probably. Keep up the great work Frontpoint!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – You are the best, and thank you again from all of us here at FrontPoint for your outspoken loyalty and thoughtful contributions over the years. As we have grown to become the dominant DIY alarm company in the US, we’ve never lost sight of the value customers place on world-class service – and you can see that in our reviews. Thanks again!

  14. Alan Draper

    As a Frontpoint customer for nearly 4 years, I wholeheartedly agree about your excellent customer service. The only other company across any industry that comes to mind as in the same ballpark in my experience so far is usaa. I think you guys are in the top 1% of all companies, probably. Keep up the great work Frontpoint!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – You are the best, and thank you again from all of us here at FrontPoint for your outspoken loyalty and thoughtful contributions over the years. As we have grown to become the dominant DIY alarm company in the US, we’ve never lost sight of the value customers place on world-class service – and you can see that in our reviews. Thanks again!