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The Truth Behind Alarm Monitoring Contracts

By January 22, 2013 June 25th, 2019 No Comments

This is a true story from a client who called our office today to inquire about resuming her home security monitoring. After a bit of discussion, we realized how she (like many homeowners) was coerced into signing a contract with another security provider without understanding all the details…. Hopefully, you’ll learn from her mistake.

Alice (name is changed to protect her identity) was happily tending her garden in Orchard Park when she noticed a young, attractive young man canvasing the neighborhood – politely speaking with many of her neighbors as he made his way to her house. When he introduced himself as a struggling college student “just trying to pay for his education,” her motherly instinct got the best of her as she listened to his story.

He (like many other college students) was recently recruited by a security company headquartered out west. He was attracted to the high commission rates offered in exchange for getting homeowners in markets throughout the country to switch from their local trusted security provider for the promise of lower monthly rates.

“$10.00 / month was just too tempting to pass up,” she argued.

The young salesman enjoyed her cookies and really appreciated the iced tea that Alice so generously shared… It was, of course, July, and the hot summer sun had taken it’s toll on the poor, hot salesman.

Over snack, young man may have “forgotten” to mention the following condition:  Alice needed to provide a valid credit card for the term of her commitment. This isn’t so bad in and of itself… Many service companies require a valid credit card on file. What Alice didn’t read, however, was the fine print:

The terms of the agreement allowed the security service provider to systematically increase her monitoring rate in any three month period and they could  sell her “account” to anyone or any company that they chose.

After her account had been sold three times, she realized that she no longer knew who was monitoring her account. In fact, at one point, she realized that her system wasn’t even being monitored! Furthermore, she had no idea who to call to get her account back online and she noted that it took 3 months to resolved the charges to her credit card for those 3 months. It wasn’t a total loss, however… the company promised to credit time against the end of her contract (which had renewed automatically for an additional 60 months!) How generous!


Recurring Theme: Read Monitoring Contracts!

Unfortunately, unscrupulous sales tactics is a recurring theme in the security industry. At SHIELD, we constantly hear complaints about how some security company’s alarm monitoring contacts are filled with nearly illegible fine print and that (time and time again) customers are duped into signing a long term contract with shady details. Lesson learned: read the fine print!

By the way, we’re adopting her back into the SHIELD family… She’s back – safe and secure with SHIELD’s monitoring service! Click below to learn why SHIELD’s monitoring has no fine print!

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