The BBB is back on the case, this time warning Kansas residents about a particular home alarm sales method, and a particular alarm company. Once again the culprit uses “door knocking” to reach homeowners: this news report issued last month in Wichita tells you what to watch out for – and how to protect yourself. And it wasn’t long ago that I posted about similar BBB warning issued in Pensacola, FL (here’s a link to that previous post).
The Better Business Bureau of Kansas is warning consumers to be wary of door-to-door salesmen offering home security systems “at no cost.” Haysville resident Marie knows how it works. She called the BBB after she got a knock on the door Monday night. “It was for a life alert, police alert…you know if someone broke in,” says Marie.
Not the First Time in This City
Several of these companies have low BBB ratings – some as low as an F. The recent news article is accompanied by some compelling video footage, with reporting done by the local TV station’s “FactFinder 12” consumer protection department. What caught my attention in particular was the fact that FactFinder 12 had previously reported on a similar company for operating without a license and high pressure sales tactics.
“He said burglaries were higher than they used to be,” says Marie describing how the man tried selling her the system. The BBB wants consumers to be aware of these tactics. “Don’t let scare tactics pressure you into signing that contract,” says BBB spokesperson Robbie Namee.
What Was the Company Saying?
It’s not uncommon for door-to-door alarm salespeople to cite inflated reports of increased burglaries in the neighborhood. While higher crime does exist in some markets, it’s not true everywhere. Sadly, this possibly bogus claim can become a standard element of the door knocker’s sales script.
FactFinder 12 reached the salesperson by phone. He denied telling consumers that crime is up in their area. He says the team “met its quota” in Haysville and has moved on to Wichita. He hung up on us when we tried asking more questions. And FactFinder 12 is still checking to see where the company is licensed to sell and install security systems. The Haysville Police Department tells us it has an open investigation with the company for disorderly conduct after a citizen complained about how they were being treated by the salesman
BBB Tips on What You Can Do
- Find out about the local building codes and regulations regarding burglar alarms, including costs for false alarms.
- Check out the company that will be monitoring your system. Ask if it is the same company you are signing a contract with.
- Consider advantages and disadvantages of each system and decide which will be best for your particular situation.
- Deal only with reputable firms and check out the company at the Better Business Bureau.
- Don’t be pressured into buying something you don’t want or need. A reputable company will let you check out the offer and compare bids from several installers.
- Make sure it includes all promises made by the sales person. If the promises are not in the contract do not sign the contract.
Add to the BBB list my own recommendation:
Do your due diligence – check online reviews (in addition to BBB) and insist on time to consider your options. These door knockers are paid a lot of money to close the sale right in your home – and they don’t like to come back. It’s all about getting you to buy on the spot: they rarely encourage you to do your homework and make an informed decision.
As we’ve said before, FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we won’t be selling that way in the future. The best home security customers are the people who are looking for a system in the first place, and with home security expanding to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand is increasing. Our systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. We’re the best when you want interactive, wireless protection and peace of mind. And it also explains why we have the highest customer retention in the business. Just read the reviews!