BBB Teams with ADT and Trade Associations to Help Consumers Fight Deceptive Door-to-Door Alarm Sales
(Lake Havasu City, AZ – May 10, 2017) With thousands of consumers victimized by fraudulent door-to-door home security sales every summer, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is sounding the alarm about deceptive tactics.
Reaching a national audience from Sacramento, BBB, local victims and leaders of two security industry associations, along with ADT – a leading home security company, BBB Accredited Business and National Partner – joined forces May 9 to alert consumers.
“Consumers should feel safe wherever they are,” said Mary E. Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “When a con takes advantage of people, literally at their front door, it poses a significant challenge. We appreciate the industry taking a lead on helping BBB address these deceptive sales tactics.”
In 2016, over a half million consumers across North America used BBB resources to research information about home security companies; but thousands also complained about dishonest and misleading sales pitches.
Speaking out yesterday was victim Marie Marshall. The 86-year-old was deceived into switching her ADT service to another company, which the salesman falsely claimed was affiliated with ADT. Marshall is now in a 60-month contract with that company, paying a higher monthly rate.
“By the time I realized I had signed with another company, it was too late,” said Marshall. “I am very disappointed that I got duped into doing business with a company that practices deceptive sales.”
BBB offers the following tips for consumers considering a home security system:
Choose a trustworthy business.
- Consider your security needs and the specific valuables you want protected.
- Consider your security requirements and budget.
- Get recommendations from your homeowners or renters insurance carrier.
- Always check out businesses at bbb.org.
Contact at least three companies.
- Make sure they are properly licensed in your area.
- Ask if they run criminal background checks on employees prior to hiring.
- Make sure they pledge to uphold industry standards. You can look them up at the Electronic Security Association or the Canadian Security Association.
Ask about all charges up front.
- Prices vary based on the level of protection and type of technology.
- Compare bids on similar systems.
- Factor in the initial installation charge as well as monthly monitoring fees.
- Talk to your insurance agent to see if the system qualifies for a discount on your homeowner’s premiums.
Know the ins and outs of your contract.
- Will your alarm system be monitored? By the installing company or a third-party?
- What is the length of the contract (typically 2-5 years)?
- What is your recourse if you are not satisfied? Can you cancel the contract?
- What are your rights if your monitoring company is purchased or acquired by another alarm company?
What happens if you change your mind after the sale? In the United States, the “cooling off” rule is three-days for door-to-door sales.
Here are some “red flags” to watch out for:
- High pressure sales tactics
- Deals that sound too good to be true
- Lack of company identification
- A poor rating with BBB
“We urge those who are selling security systems to abide by the BBB Standards for Trust,” said Conner. “Tell the truth, honor promises, and embody integrity.”