Home security systems are expected to protect you from criminals.
However, rogue alarm companies and unethical salespeople have figured out methods to rip off people who already have a policy or who want to buy one.
” Complaints about home alarm sales are now a place of specific concern,” according to the 2017 Consumer Complaint Survey Report launched in July. This annual report from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is based on surveys of state and local consumer protection firms.
The problems reported by unhappy home owners ranged from misleading sales claims and scare strategies to straight-out scams.
” We’re concerned about these alarm sales abuses because it’s simple to rope individuals into these offers,” stated Susan Grant, CFA director of customer protection and privacy. “Many of the customers involved are elderly or disabled and don’t comprehend what’s going on.”
DECEPTION #1: SCARE TACTICS USING FAKE CRIME STATISTICS
Worry is being used security alarms, so fraudsters and dishonest alarm companies often use criminal offense stats– that may not hold– as part of their sales pitch. Their mailers are created to misguide or confuse, typically made to appear like they’re from your mortgage loan provider or local government firms.
Sending Bogus letters..
Hundreds of new property buyers in and around Cleveland got a “Community Awareness Bulletin” last year that appeared to be from Cuyahoga County. The bogus letter, complete with the official county logo design, alerted about home break-ins and home invasions in the location because of the “opioid crisis” and provided a “complimentary home security bundle.”
The letter was not from the county; it was from an alarm company that was attempting to sign-up brand-new consumers.
” If someone’s trying to scare you into purchasing something right now, you ought to decrease, because panic can impact your thinking,” said Sheryl Harris, director of the Cuyahoga County Dept. of Consumer Affairs. “If you choose you to have an interest in a service, check out the seller’s reputation and get quotes from competitors.”
Remember: It’s public info when you buy a home or refinance a loan, so expect to get solicitations from home security companies.
DECEPTION #2: LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES
Do not think you’re safe, even if you already have an alarm system.
The door-to-door scam artist will try to convince you that they represent (or are dealing with) your current alarm business to “update” your system. Often, they declare your monitoring service has failed, and they have gotten their clients.
Succumb to the pitch, and you’ll end up being double-billed– by your “old” alarm business and the “new” one.
Selling “NEW” Security packages to homeowners who has DECALS in their front yard…
In Georgia, dishonest door-to-door salespeople who informed those lies offered nearly 6,000 home alarm in 2015, before the State Attorney General’s Office stepped in. The state’s suit declared the salespeople also lied when they said policeman living in the area had acquired their system.
” They were extremely persuading, and thousands of people through them,” stated Shawn Conroy, interactions and outreach coordinator with the Georgia Attorney General’s workplace.
However, how do the scammers understand which alarm business you have? They look for the alarm company check in your yard or the sticker in your window.
Karen Foo, home owner was persuaded to buy, was approached by a salesman who appeared at her door and not her next-door neighbor’s home– she had an alarm sign out front. The fraudster persuaded Griffin to sign an agreement with his business to update her system.
” The only thing they did was alter the primary keypad at the front door,” Foo said. “The system never worked after that. However, they still desired us to pay them.”
Fortunately for Foo, the Georgia Attorney General was able to get refunds for her and the other victims.
DECEPTION #3: JUST SIGN HERE
It’s not uncommon for door-to-door salesmen to reveal the client an electronic contract on their computer and have them consent to it by offering a digital signature. This can lead to significant problems.
You can’t correctly check a contract on the small screen of a hand-held gadget.
Get a physical copy of that contract, so you can read it and make sure it’s appropriate.
DECEPTION # 4: AUTOMATIC RENEWAL
If you buy a security alarm, you may be needed to register for monthly tracking for a year or more. Typically, there’s a charge for early cancellation.
It comes in a tiny little footnote of the contract which you do not know
Numerous alarm contracts have an “auto-renewal” stipulation that can trap you into a long-term tracking dedication without your follow-up authorization. If you don’t decrease to renew at the end of the term, normally in composing weeks before the contract period ends, that agreement is automatically restored for another time.
” It can be SUPER TRICKY,” said John Breyault, who runs National Consumers League’s Fraud.org. “Many customers do not even know that they’re registering for an immediately renewing agreement.”
Residential Security System’s Advice
Door-to-door sales are constantly risky since the salesperson is in your home. Don’t let anyone rush you or pressure you into buying something you don’t want. High-pressure sales strategies typically indicate a fraud. If you feel forced, there’s no need to be courteous– inform the individual to leave.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr advises against letting anyone into your house without a prescheduled consultation. Your existing alarm company will never show up unannounced to “update” your devices or switch service.
Residential Security System offer the following pointers to avoid being SCAMMED by Door to Door Security Sales Agent:
- Always ask to see the salesperson’s ID.
- If you’re interested in the product or service, ask the sales representative to leave some written materials that you can evaluate, rather than signing a contract or buying on the spot.
- Never sign a contract without first reading it thoroughly and ensuring you understand whatever.
- Get all prices, service warranties, and cancellation policies in writing.
- Never pay in CASH.
- Remember: Door-to-door sales purchases of $25 or more are subject to the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off Rule, which provides you the right to cancel your purchase within three business days and get a full refund.
The Residential Security System cautions homeowners to be careful whenever someone shows up unannounced at your door. The FTC has a suggestion sheet on avoiding alarm scams, and the Electronic Security Association has an own fact sheet on acquiring an alarm from your doorstep.
Want something reliable and have been serving, protecting community for over 140 years? Call Us today