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Unethical Practices Of Security Companies

Steve Howell Photo By Steve Howell on December 16, 2010

I have been in the security business now for twenty plus years and it used to amaze me how people could use a certain company for years and always complain about the service they receive and still stay with them. The company is the largest security company in the nation, but I am baffled by how they got to be the largest. It must have been by buying the competition. Customer service is horrible. Their policies are predatory and unethical. Below are some examples of these policies.

This company charges about 3 times too much for the monthly monitoring service. On top of that they charge extra each month for items like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Like it costs them any more each month for you to have a smoke detector in your home.

Their advertising say you can get an $850 security system for free. You just have to pay $99 to have it installed. Well what they fail to reveal is the fact that you actually have to give them a check or credit card for $299 plus a $25 communication connection fee for a total of $324 plus tax, before they will install the system. This is if you order online and do not have a salesperson come to your house. I don't know what the extra cost is, but they have to charge you so they can pay the salesperson.

After the system is installed they will send you a coupon for a refund. This usually takes a couple weeks to a month. I have heard of people never receiving one though. If you receive your coupon you can send it in with a copy of your contract for a refund of $200. Don't they already have a copy of your contract? This takes a couple of months. So by the time you receive your refund check, you have actually paid them the $299 + $25 + $105(3months @ $35) =$429 plus tax. All for a free system, that is their most basic package. I can buy a system like this on eBay for less than $200.

Now for the bad part, you are locked into a contract with them for at least 3 years. At the end of the 3 years it automatically renews for another 3 years. This is forever. Unless at the end of the contract and within their specified time frame, usually a 30 day window, you inform them in writing that you want to cancel. It must be in the time frame, not one day before or one day after, and you can't call them and tell them, it has to be in writing. You can overpay them for years this way.

Now, for the really bad part. You pay them for this "free" system to be installed, you wait on your money to be refunded, you pay them too much each month for several years and then you fortunately meet their window with a letter to cancel. You have found some other company to provide you with service for much, much less. You should be able to have the new company use the system that you paid on for years from the other company, right? Wrong! If you look at their contract, it states that any system that is installed for less than $600 remains their property. They legally have the right to come and remove the system from your home. You have to buy a new system.

The above is not just a rant from a competitor or disgruntled employee. It is in their contract, and it is written on the Terms and Conditions page of their web site. I am not going to mention their name but you can probably figure out who it is. The sad part is that most of the major companies in the country use these same tactics. They follow the leader so to speak. Before using a security company, be sure to read their contract. Most of them are written to protect the company and not the consumer they are supposed to be providing protection for.

Steve Howell Photo Steve Howell owner of Automated Alarms, a Dallas Security Company that offers cheap alarm monitoring to residential and commercial customers with month to month contracts.

Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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