We’ve blogged more than once on the subject of “door-knockers,” and with good reason – door-to-door salesmen in the home security industry continue to take advantage of consumers. This time they’ve struck in Splendora, TX, committing both fraud and forgery, according to a complaint registered by relatives of the victims on Pissed Consumer.com. A salesman from the offending company, Safe Home Security, knocked on the door of an elderly couple, who politely listened to his pitch but then declined to make a purchase. The couple’s grandson was there to observe what happened next and subsequently file this complaint:
Instead of leaving, the salesman had a counter offer: if [the grandparents/elderly couple] would allow the alarm company to place a sign in the yard, advertising the company, then they would receive free service… it would only cost them an installation fee which would be refunded back to them within the month by Safe Home Security, in which it was refunded. The next month they noticed their checking acct was being debited by Safe Home Security.
The grandparents then had to go to the bank and put a block on all debit transactions, and continue to have to do this monthly, and they were being harassed by the alarm company for non-payment. When they called Safe Home Security to try in getting the problem resolved, they learned that the salesman/installer had taken their check, the one that they wrote for the installation fee, and transferred all the check info onto a monthly debit release of funds form, and then either forged [their] signature or xeroxed the signature onto the form from the check. The person they spoke with at Safe Home Security said it was very obvious that the form had been altered, but that she couldn’t do anything about it, and that they needed to go file a police report.
The relatives filing this complaint on behalf of the elderly couple go on to say that this incident occurred 6-7 months ago and is still unresolved.
I think it’s sad, and disgusting that this company, who is totally aware of the fraud that was committed by their contractors/salesmen/employees/installers, is allowed to continue to harass this elder couple who did nothing wrong, and made sure to read everything placed in front of them before signing anything.
We think this situation is sad, too; in fact it’s infuriating. Our hearts go out to people who have been scammed in this manner. This kind of “sales” practice leaves a black scar on our entire industry. We hope our blogs have helped in some small way to shine light on this problem, and increase public awareness.
Of course, we aren’t the only ones sounding the alarm. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) publishes frequent warnings and takes action against offenders. As we mentioned in a blog last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also issued a blanket warning to consumers about door-to-door scams specifically in the security industry:
Unscrupulous door-to-door sales agents use a variety of approaches and pitches to get you to buy an alarm system and monitoring services. Here’s what to look out for:
- They may make a time-limited offer, and claim that you need to act now. For example, they may try to get you to sign a contract by telling you that the equipment is “free.” More than likely, strings are attached. For example, to get your “free” alarm, you may have to sign a long-term and expensive system monitoring contract.
- They may pressure their way into your home and then refuse to leave. It is not impolite or rude to tell a salesperson you’re not interested. It’s much easier — and safer — to say “no” on the doorstep than to try to get the salesperson to leave once they’re inside. If a salesperson continues to pressure you after you’ve asked them to leave, call the police.
- They may use scare tactics. For example, they may talk about a rash of supposed burglaries in your neighborhood.
We at FrontPoint join these consumer protection agencies in urging you to take special care when opening the door to strangers. Make sure they have proper identification and read all paperwork very carefully. You should never be pressured into buying a product, so take time to do your research and make informed decisions.
Operating on principles of trust and openness, FrontPoint never utilizes door-knockers or high-pressure sales tactics. Our goal is to delight our customers – not strong-arm them. Based on the thousands of rave reviews we’ve seen, we believe we’re accomplishing that goal. But we’ll never scale back our efforts to be the world’s most-trusted alarm company.