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?
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.