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ADT Authorized Dealer Targets Neighborhood of Crime Scene for Potential Customers

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December 2, 2013
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ADT Authorized Dealer Targets Neighborhood of Crime Scene for Potential Customers

ADT is in the news again - or at least they have been dragged into the news by one of their authorized dealers. And the subject is one where ADT has gotten some very bad press before. Here’s the story, from Ellenwood, Georgia.

As a long time reporter, I've seen this happen many times before. It's not unusual for home alarm security companies to show up near the scene of a highly publicized crime or in an area known for high crime. It's sort of like tree companies showing up after a tornado. It happened again this week in the Ellenwood neighborhood where 14-year-old Ayvani Perez was kidnapped early Tuesday morning. There's nothing illegal about the sales tactic and one of the companies we talked with freely admitted their sales teams target high crime zip codes and areas in the news where high profile crimes have occurred. Robert Quinn identified himself as being with Secure Automations, which he described as a promotional company selling ADT products.

What is an ADT Authorized Dealer?

First of all, who are these authorized ADT dealers? Well, this prior post explains the relationship. The short answer is that these are independent alarm companies who market, sell, and install alarm systems using the ADT brand: they “create” subscribers, and then “sell” the subscriber relationships to ADT. And while ADT is not the only alarm company with a dealer program, their program is the biggest – and the most controversial.

More from the News Report

As far as he's concerned, he's [Quinn] doing people a service. "This situation that happened, they have us out here because of that 'cause if they would have had an alarm system, that situation may not have went the way it did," Quinn told 11 Alive. "So we're actually out here helping people out with free equipment and free installation," he added. Quinn said he was offering new customers free wifi security equipment and installation, but they still had to sign a contract, pay a onetime activation fee and a monthly monitoring fee of anywhere from $40 to $70 depending on the coverage.

News Station Follows Up

11 Alive contacted ADT corporate, who told us they don't offer free equipment, but that some independent contractors who sell their service may do so. As for the sales tactic, they referred us to the Electronic Security Association, a professional industry organization. ESA has yet to return our phone calls or emails, but they do have an industry code of conduct. They require their members to present their products factually and honestly and not to misrepresent anything. But the code does not mention anything about geographic targeting of high crime areas.

It’s not easy when you are the biggest company in an industry, as ADT is: your competitors take shots at you, no matter what you do. And the job is even harder when almost half of your new customers come from affiliated companies who market using your name, but over whom you really cannot exercise all that much control. Some of the worst new articles about ADT actually had nothing to do with ADT, but involved one of these dealer companies.

Not the First Time for ADT

However, it should be known that most alarm companies take a dim view of targeting a neighborhood on the heels of a crime – and just don’t do it. And it’s interesting to note that the last time I wrote about this happening, it was in fact ADT itself, and not an authorized dealer, that was called on the carpet. The case involved a horrible crime in Cheshire, CT that made national news. In the aftermath, when ADT targeted the neighborhood for alarm system sales, they were specifically reprimanded by the State of Connecticut, as reported in this article.

ADT Security Services Inc. left its fliers in the neighborhood in the days following the killing of three members of the Petit family, a move that angered many neighbors who felt the solicitations were in bad taste so soon after the tragedy. The state Department of Consumer Protection, which received complaints about the fliers, agreed. Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. looked into the matter and ruled earlier this month that the advertisements were a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The department has jurisdiction over false advertising under the act, Farrell said.

As mentioned above, this sort of practice is frowned upon in the alarm industry. But with roughly 13,000 US alarm companies, there will always be some bad actors. That being said, one does expect every alarm company, tasked with protecting lives and property, to exercise more courtesy and common sense.

Building Trust

It not my intention to single out ADT. I expect more of any and every alarm company, since that is how you build trust. FrontPoint is not a perfect alarm company. We mess up from time to time, but when we do, we bend over backwards to resolve the issue, and then take concrete steps to make sure we never repeat the mistake. That’s because the first of our three Core Values is Build Trust. The other two, by the way, are Dream Big and Be Awesome. If those three resonate with you and tell you that we have a great culture, then congratulations: you totally get it!

Reviews Say It All

But don’t take my word for it. Just search the Internet for FrontPoint reviews and you’ll find consistently great reports, much of them having to do with the quality of our people, and the high levels of helpfulness, integrity, and transparency. As the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US, FrontPoint is committed to your safety and security – and that means honest sales and advertising, no hidden fees, the best technology at the best price, and world-class service. Now that is peace of mind.

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