Home Security Systems – More on High Pressure Alarm Sales

Posted by , , at 3:03 pm

With summer over, we thought the “door knocker” alarm salesmen had packed up and headed back home; however, a recent article reminds me that some of the “seasonal” alarm sales programs do extend into fall. One company in particular is in trouble again, and now the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is on the case, along with several states. Here’s a link to a BBB warning notice from Alabama, and a separate link to an article on similar complaints in Louisianabe sure to watch the video! Last year this particular company settled with Louisiana to the tune of $100,000 – and this year’s proposed fine is $366,000, along with revocation of the alarm license needed to sell in the State.

People with home alarm systems claimed out of town security companies were trying to mislead them into signing a new contract and getting a new system, even though they were already under contract. A local alarm company owner said,  “To have a rep of another company come in and tell the customer their company has been purchased, and their equipment is being removed and now they’re gonna be monitored by a company out of state, it’s a terrible thing.”

I have posted on these pushy tactics before, and sincerely hoped the problems would cure themselves: after all, it’s not healthy for our industry when companies behave in a questionable (some claim fraudulent) manner. Here’s a recap of some of the tactics used by these seasonal companies:

  • Posing as the existing alarm service provider
  • Posing as governmental officials
  • Misrepresenting that a person’s existing alarm company sent the seasonal company
  • Misrepresenting that a person’s existing alarm company is not in business
  • Targeting competitor customers and taking over equipment the original provider owns

Remember, most alarm systems use a vulnerable home phone line for communication, or charge high monthly fees – if they even offer safer cellular monitoring. The “free” systems sold door-to-door tend to be very basic, and additional alarm equipment that provides true protection can be very expensive. What can you do when an alarm system salesman knocks on your door? Here is the short list:

  • Always ask for company ID
  • Ask about company alarm licensing
  • Ask about cellular monitoring and interactive services
  • Tell the salesperson you want time to think about it
  • Do your due diligence – online reviews are the best method

FrontPoint Security works hard to offer peace of mind through interactive, wireless home security that start with a consultation, not a “You gotta buy today!” sales pitch. That’s one reason our customers know what they’re getting, and love the service we offer. And the only thing we value more than our reputation is your satisfaction.

Comments (20)

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  1. Chuck

    vivint installs go contol 2 gig panels I thought they were outlawed and recalled because of safety issues?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Chuck. I believe the problems with the equipment you mention were resolved, but there were as many as 30,000 systems that were possibly affected. If my memory serves me, the cellular radio was prone to catching fire, but it’s been a while, so I cannot say for sure. That’s one more reason why we use GE Security equipment: UL listed, and I am not aware they have ever had such a problem. Thanks again.

  2. Chuck

    vivint installs go contol 2 gig panels I thought they were outlawed and recalled because of safety issues?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Chuck. I believe the problems with the equipment you mention were resolved, but there were as many as 30,000 systems that were possibly affected. If my memory serves me, the cellular radio was prone to catching fire, but it’s been a while, so I cannot say for sure. That’s one more reason why we use GE Security equipment: UL listed, and I am not aware they have ever had such a problem. Thanks again.

  3. Chuck

    The problem is that these traveling Utah alarm companies should not be allowed to travel to other states and sale. No business cards, same day installs and pressure to sale and get the hell out of dodge. Young kids from out of town with nothing to loose and everything to gain. No accountability when they leave town disrupting senior communities and local alarm dealers!! Its criminal the way they go in and act like they are part of a current alarm company signing up elderly for new contracts without proper representation and explanation of what is really going on!! I see it all over town. Its fraud and misrepresentation Vivin.” Something needs to be done. Again if your from one state, you should not be allowed to come into another and sale.” Stay in Utah your not welcommed in our state we SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Chuck – thanks, and please see my other responses. We don’t have a problem with an alarm company operating anywhere in the US – as long as they do it the right way. Licensing laws are established to make sure that all companies play by the same rules. Unfortunately, we know that some door knocker companies have been heavily fined in some states (for up to $1 million) for just the behavior you describe.

  4. Chuck

    The problem is that these traveling Utah alarm companies should not be allowed to travel to other states and sale. No business cards, same day installs and pressure to sale and get the hell out of dodge. Young kids from out of town with nothing to loose and everything to gain. No accountability when they leave town disrupting senior communities and local alarm dealers!! Its criminal the way they go in and act like they are part of a current alarm company signing up elderly for new contracts without proper representation and explanation of what is really going on!! I see it all over town. Its fraud and misrepresentation Vivin.” Something needs to be done. Again if your from one state, you should not be allowed to come into another and sale.” Stay in Utah your not welcommed in our state we SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Chuck – thanks, and please see my other responses. We don’t have a problem with an alarm company operating anywhere in the US – as long as they do it the right way. Licensing laws are established to make sure that all companies play by the same rules. Unfortunately, we know that some door knocker companies have been heavily fined in some states (for up to $1 million) for just the behavior you describe.

  5. Mr. Jones

    Utah companies are the worst. AMP – Guardian and Vivint travel to states like california. They are pushy and sign up elderly and target other alarm companies whom customers already have contracts with. They misrepresent and then leave town. These programs out of UTAH should be fined heavily. Several Senior Residents in Hemet Ca. got taken and scamed by them traveling alarm salesman!!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mr. Jones – Thanks for your comment. We see a lot of complaints about door knockers targeting the elderly – and that is one thing that states will not condone, which is why the lawsuits, claims, and fines levied against these companies often specifically reference fraudulent and deceptive practices. It’s a shame, really, but we should remember that it’s not the whole company: it’s usually a group of rogue employees. The question is, what is the company doing to prevent these rogue employees from popping up around the country, and how strictly are they punished by the company when their behavior comes to light? There are many who feel that the companies that use high pressure sales tactics in door knocking are on the wrong side of sales history – and that they will be gone eventually. For the good of our industry, I hope the companies that tacitly condone bad behavior just to get more sales are driven out of business sooner rather than later.

  6. Mr. Jones

    Utah companies are the worst. AMP – Guardian and Vivint travel to states like california. They are pushy and sign up elderly and target other alarm companies whom customers already have contracts with. They misrepresent and then leave town. These programs out of UTAH should be fined heavily. Several Senior Residents in Hemet Ca. got taken and scamed by them traveling alarm salesman!!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mr. Jones – Thanks for your comment. We see a lot of complaints about door knockers targeting the elderly – and that is one thing that states will not condone, which is why the lawsuits, claims, and fines levied against these companies often specifically reference fraudulent and deceptive practices. It’s a shame, really, but we should remember that it’s not the whole company: it’s usually a group of rogue employees. The question is, what is the company doing to prevent these rogue employees from popping up around the country, and how strictly are they punished by the company when their behavior comes to light? There are many who feel that the companies that use high pressure sales tactics in door knocking are on the wrong side of sales history – and that they will be gone eventually. For the good of our industry, I hope the companies that tacitly condone bad behavior just to get more sales are driven out of business sooner rather than later.

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