More Door Knocker Alarm Sales Scams

Posted by , , at 2:18 pm

This summer is already on track to be the worst summer ever for door knocker complaints. Trust me, I don’t have to make these stories up: I wouldn’t have the time. Scam reports are all over the Internet, and we’re getting calls, emails, and comments from customers and prospective customers alike. And it’s only the beginning of July, so we have a couple of more months to deal with the deluge of door knocker issues. Too many homeowners are getting a taste of how door knocker alarm salespeople operate. Today I’ll share three recent comments we received, and our perspective on this very important challenge for the future and reputation of the home alarm industry.

From Lizzie –

Someone just came to our door stating he was selling home security systems. I didn’t see a car. Was this guy legitimate or was he scoping out our house?

Our Response

Sad to say, these days, it could be either. You should be aware that many of the “legitimate” door knockers are driven to neighborhoods in vans, and then walk around for the day. But anyone one coming to your door, and I mean anyone, should have a company identification card, preferably with a picture, and in many cases a license or permit to sell door-to-door issued by your state of local jurisdiction, which you should also ask to see.

Even if the door knocker is from a real alarm company and has the requisite identification, that does not mean he is always telling you the truth. Some of the high pressure companies have “rogue” sale people who will say just about anything to get you to sign that contract. That is why there are so many complaints about even the “reputable” companies.

To be safe, make sure you always ask for ID – and you might even want to take the next step, and call the company to verify an employee’s status before letting him into your home. Take care, and thanks for your question.

From Jennifer –

I had a door to door salesman come today. He did his spill. I thought it sounded great. He came back a little later and i actually signed a contract. After he left I started looking online and found all these complaints.  Do you think I can I get out of this since they have not installed my system yet and they do not have any information to get a payment from me?

We told Jennifer that is she did not want the system then she must find the “Three Day Right of Rescission” language required by the Federal Trade Commission to be included in every home contract sale, and follow those instructions carefully. These companies often make it as hard as possible to “undo” a sale within the three day consumer “cooling off period.” Too bad more companies don’t offer a 30-day risk-free trial – like FrontPoint does!

From David –

They are still at it. Came to my home and talked to wife while I was at work. 30 minutes at front door, conned her into signing “just a sheet to lock price”, under that sheet unknown to wife was full-fledged contract. Sent 3 day cancel notice next morning. Filed complaint with local law enforcement, BBB, State attorneys general and FTC. We also contacted the news to hopefully get the word out. Pure scam.

General Thoughts on Door Knocking

My two largest concerns about the current state of door-to-door alarm sales are “poaching,” and the overall perception of the alarm industry by consumers. Poaching is the act of one alarm company targeting and trying to lure away the customers of another alarm company. This summer (now being the season when the door knockers are most active) I’ve seen more reports than ever of door knockers approaching other companies’ existing customers under false pretenses: for instance, pretending to be from the homeowner’s service provider, or making false claims about the provider having been purchased, or no longer operating, etc.  While this may not be a widespread practice, it’s happening more now, and causes real concern: I have spoken to several alarm executives who are aware of the increased activity, and are fighting back with warnings to their customers and even considering legal action. Such direct solicitations by door knockers of customers under contract with an existing provider, especially under false pretenses, may constitute tortious interference, and are generally considered actionable in a court of law.

Bad for the Alarm Industry

I am equally concerned that the relatively aggressive tactics employed by many door knockers are not healthy for the alarm industry over the long term. Door knockers will knock on millions of doors this summer, and while the well-rehearsed script that applies varying degrees of pressure to close the sale immediately is decidedly effective, it also leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many who experience it. Most do not buy: remember, the vast majority of these homeowners were not thinking of alarm or home automation services at the time they heard the knock on the door. No matter how slick the presentation may be, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to ask for time to think about it, do a little research on the company, etc. And that is often the kiss of death for the door knocker, since the odds of making the sale once the door knocker leaves the home drop considerably. It’s all about making the sale in the home, on the first try – and the compensation structure provides the pressure, since these young people (and their managers) stand to make a lot of money when they are successful. Frankly, these companies do not want consumers to do the research before making a decision: it’s too easy to find the complaints, the low ratings from the BBB and other sites, and even better offers from other alarm companies with better reputations and service records.

FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we are the most transparent (and most highly regarded) alarm company you can find. On-line shoppers quickly learn why we’re the nationwide leader in interactive, wireless home security: our long list of five-star reviews spells out very clearly what makes us the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.  Being on top means we have to prove ourselves in every aspect of our business – with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And best of all, you never have to wonder if that shady person at your door is from FrontPoint – he’s not. Don’t let him in, and when in doubt, call the police immediately.

Comments (12)

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  1. kurt

    Yeah you guys mail people equipment for them to install themselves, and put them in three year contracts. Door to door guys have a professional technician install it for free, and do 3-5 year contracts. And your equipment is okay, but isn’t cutting edge. Stop feeding people misinformation and making door knocker jobs harder.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Kurt – thanks for your comment. We appreciate the input we receive here, and it makes for interesting discussions when there can be some good give and take on these topics – which are often controversial. When it comes to controversial topics, door knocking is right up there for the alarm industry, as the dialogue on these posts would indicate. You are right that we send a fully preprogrammed system to our customers, but that is only after a highly consultative process that explores why they want a system, what they are trying to protect, how the home is laid out, and how they intend to use the system. Remember, our customers are homeowners who were looking for a home security to begin with, as opposed to someone whose dinner we may have interrupted by a “marketing representative” knocking on their door to pitch a “free” system in exchange for placing a company sign in the front yard. We also provide an extremely thorough activation process, where we connect remotely to the system once it’s been set up, and confirm that all the sensors are communicating, and that the link to the monitoring center is also working. In other words, there is no risk in the homeowner setting up their own system. In fact, it’s a lot more convenient, since they don’t have salespeople or technicians in their home – ever – which is more and more important to lots of consumers. Then remember that we offer a complete (and I mean 100%) refund for 30 days after receipt of the system. We even pay the shipping back to us. We get very few back, but our customers buy with confidence, as opposed to under pressure. Compare that to the 3 days to change your mind that door knockers provide, especially when the system is often installed immediately after it’s sold – hardly time to consider the purchase, and shop online for comparisons, or read all those interesting reviews on high-pressure sales, and fraudulent and deceptive sales practices. Then there are the fines, lawsuits, and other actions taken by states and local jurisdictions against door knocking companies. Of course not all door knockers operate that way, but enough do that it’s a recognized problem all across the US. If you think there is any misinformation in my posts, please provide specifics: and if I have stated any facts that are not documented, please let me know and I’ll issue a correction. As for my opinions, they are just that – but when it comes to the downsides of door knocking, I’d say that more and more people are sharing my concerns, based on their own negative experiences. Thanks again.

  2. kurt

    Yeah you guys mail people equipment for them to install themselves, and put them in three year contracts. Door to door guys have a professional technician install it for free, and do 3-5 year contracts. And your equipment is okay, but isn’t cutting edge. Stop feeding people misinformation and making door knocker jobs harder.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Kurt – thanks for your comment. We appreciate the input we receive here, and it makes for interesting discussions when there can be some good give and take on these topics – which are often controversial. When it comes to controversial topics, door knocking is right up there for the alarm industry, as the dialogue on these posts would indicate. You are right that we send a fully preprogrammed system to our customers, but that is only after a highly consultative process that explores why they want a system, what they are trying to protect, how the home is laid out, and how they intend to use the system. Remember, our customers are homeowners who were looking for a home security to begin with, as opposed to someone whose dinner we may have interrupted by a “marketing representative” knocking on their door to pitch a “free” system in exchange for placing a company sign in the front yard. We also provide an extremely thorough activation process, where we connect remotely to the system once it’s been set up, and confirm that all the sensors are communicating, and that the link to the monitoring center is also working. In other words, there is no risk in the homeowner setting up their own system. In fact, it’s a lot more convenient, since they don’t have salespeople or technicians in their home – ever – which is more and more important to lots of consumers. Then remember that we offer a complete (and I mean 100%) refund for 30 days after receipt of the system. We even pay the shipping back to us. We get very few back, but our customers buy with confidence, as opposed to under pressure. Compare that to the 3 days to change your mind that door knockers provide, especially when the system is often installed immediately after it’s sold – hardly time to consider the purchase, and shop online for comparisons, or read all those interesting reviews on high-pressure sales, and fraudulent and deceptive sales practices. Then there are the fines, lawsuits, and other actions taken by states and local jurisdictions against door knocking companies. Of course not all door knockers operate that way, but enough do that it’s a recognized problem all across the US. If you think there is any misinformation in my posts, please provide specifics: and if I have stated any facts that are not documented, please let me know and I’ll issue a correction. As for my opinions, they are just that – but when it comes to the downsides of door knocking, I’d say that more and more people are sharing my concerns, based on their own negative experiences. Thanks again.

  3. Mary

    I completely agree that door knocking is a danger for potential customers. My company does not do any door knocking whatsoever, however door knocking has been around forever, and it does get the job done for those who can use the technique correctly and with proper intentions. The customers or potential customers have a choice to answer their door or ignore the salesperson. You, as an “Alarm company” should not be in the business of scaring home owners, as a way of making your company look legit. If door knocking is not your game, which you claim your company does not do, and would mean you have no experience with it, then maybe you should not be holding forums with false information, and fake responses? Just a thought!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mary – if you agree that door knocking is a potential danger for potential customers, then we are in agreement! I also happen to think that door knocking when done incorrectly (as is obviously the case for the some of these companies and sales representative) is bad for the industry, and as a long time practitioner, that concerns me deeply. Sure, you can say that the homeowner has to take some responsibility, but there are so many cases of fraudulent and deceptive practices, lawsuits, fines, and other government actions, that dumping is all the responsibility on the average homeowner is asking too much. Our role at FrontPoint is to provide valuable and needed information, just as we are completely transparent about the way our company operates – in fact, you can learn everything about FrontPoint on our site: what we sell, how we support it, how it works, what it costs, and even order a system there. That is the kind of information people are looking for. And if you saw the number of emails we get from people who have already been “sold” by a door knocker and want our advice on what to do, it would amaze you.

      By the way, we don’t have to say anything about anyone else to look legit – we already are, with the best online reviews you can find about any alarm company. That takes a lot of hard work, and a company culture that puts the consumer first. I have been in this business over 20 years, and have personal experience with every type of sales model: not doing something today does not mean that one has never tried it, as you probably are aware. Lastly, if you really feel there is any information in these posts that is false, please point out the specifics: if you can demonstrate that any thing posted here is in fact erroneaous, it will be removed. Thanks again.

  4. Mary

    I completely agree that door knocking is a danger for potential customers. My company does not do any door knocking whatsoever, however door knocking has been around forever, and it does get the job done for those who can use the technique correctly and with proper intentions. The customers or potential customers have a choice to answer their door or ignore the salesperson. You, as an “Alarm company” should not be in the business of scaring home owners, as a way of making your company look legit. If door knocking is not your game, which you claim your company does not do, and would mean you have no experience with it, then maybe you should not be holding forums with false information, and fake responses? Just a thought!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mary – if you agree that door knocking is a potential danger for potential customers, then we are in agreement! I also happen to think that door knocking when done incorrectly (as is obviously the case for the some of these companies and sales representative) is bad for the industry, and as a long time practitioner, that concerns me deeply. Sure, you can say that the homeowner has to take some responsibility, but there are so many cases of fraudulent and deceptive practices, lawsuits, fines, and other government actions, that dumping is all the responsibility on the average homeowner is asking too much. Our role at FrontPoint is to provide valuable and needed information, just as we are completely transparent about the way our company operates – in fact, you can learn everything about FrontPoint on our site: what we sell, how we support it, how it works, what it costs, and even order a system there. That is the kind of information people are looking for. And if you saw the number of emails we get from people who have already been “sold” by a door knocker and want our advice on what to do, it would amaze you.

      By the way, we don’t have to say anything about anyone else to look legit – we already are, with the best online reviews you can find about any alarm company. That takes a lot of hard work, and a company culture that puts the consumer first. I have been in this business over 20 years, and have personal experience with every type of sales model: not doing something today does not mean that one has never tried it, as you probably are aware. Lastly, if you really feel there is any information in these posts that is false, please point out the specifics: if you can demonstrate that any thing posted here is in fact erroneaous, it will be removed. Thanks again.

  5. Alan

    There must be around 30 posts on this topic from this blog. What a pernicious problem. But this type of education I think is the biggest weapon, so keep the spotlight on.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – Thanks for your comment. This summer seems to be the worst ever for complaints, and for warnings from BBB offices and other folks around the US. And it’s the poaching that worries me the most – door knocker salepeople pretending to be from a homeowner’s alarm company, just to steal the account. There is no place for this. Happily, FrontPoint customers are the least susceptible.

  6. Alan

    There must be around 30 posts on this topic from this blog. What a pernicious problem. But this type of education I think is the biggest weapon, so keep the spotlight on.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – Thanks for your comment. This summer seems to be the worst ever for complaints, and for warnings from BBB offices and other folks around the US. And it’s the poaching that worries me the most – door knocker salepeople pretending to be from a homeowner’s alarm company, just to steal the account. There is no place for this. Happily, FrontPoint customers are the least susceptible.

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