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Door to Door Alarm Sales Scams – For One Utah Alarm Company, the Complaints Just Keep on Coming

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November 29, 2011
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Door to Door Alarm Sales Scams – For One Utah Alarm Company, the Complaints Just Keep on Coming

If your business operates in a manner that ignores how shoppers rely on the Internet for information, life is only going to tougher. Sadly, that seems to be exactly the challenge for some alarm companies, especially the door knockers who all too often cross the line with aggressive and deceptive sales practices. The Internet is a powerful forum for posting and reading on-line reviews, as even the folks who knock on doors are learning the hard way. Bad web reviews don’t go away – even when you change your name.

APX [now Vivint] hires young people to sell their services door-to-door, usually during the summer time, all over the country.  They setup in a neighborhood and canvas the area to see if they can sell their systems.  They usually go to homes that don’t have an alarm sign, but have neighbors that have alarms.  This enables them to use a simple scare tactic in order to push for the sale.  The real issue that you need to be aware of is that most of the sales reps do not follow the requirements setup by the company.  They are in a cut-throat environment trying to survive, so they resort to lying.

Ouch. This is a tough review, to be sure, and it gets worse. But what may surprise you is the long string of comments that follow the review. Most are equally scathing.

Other Consumers Pile On

Here’s the reviewer’s request for comments:

If you are a current APX alarm customer, let me know what you think of the company and their service.  I want to hear what you have to say.  Do you think APX Alarm is a scam?  Provide me with your APX Alarm Review.

And here is a pair of representative examples from other homeowners:

I agree with this review. This company came to my home and pressured my wife into a sale while I was at work. Now we are stuck in a 5 year agreement that will cost over $2000 to get out of. The sales rep would not leave the house until she finally agreed to the “contract” that he misrepresented with no contract cancellation fees and other issues. I would never recommend this company. APX always seems to say that they are not responsible for what their sales people say, but then who is?

How does APX Alarm even think that they provide customer service to anyone? After a few minutes of searching online, I know I made the right choice in telling their sales person to leave my home. I wish my neighbors had time to review before getting pushed into a long contract. I have gone around my neighborhood and told everyone not to talk to anyone from APX. This company has no morals!

Consumer warnings issued on door knocking alarm companies continue to mount all across the US. These alerts are issued by television stations, local law enforcement, the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and even the Federal Trade Commission, and the theme is always the same: be very careful before you let one of these pushy folks into your house, and do not commit until you have adequate time to research the company, its reputation, and its products.  These companies employ pressure sales tactics and, in some cases, outright fraud to get your signature on a contract – and you may not realize what you are signing up for.

FrontPoint has never knocked on doors – and we have no plans to sell that way in the future. That’s only part of why FrontPoint has an “A” rating with the BBB – instead of a “D” or “F,” like some door knocker companies. The best home security customers are the people who are looking for peace of mind in the first place, and with home security expanding to including to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand is increasing. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. And it also explains why we have the highest customer loyalty in the business. Just read the FrontPoint reviews!

$300 Off All New Frontpoint Security System

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Comments
Alan Draper
November 30, 2011 at 9:35 PM
These guys need to give it up. Changing your name all the time doesn't properly erase your history.
Peter M. Rogers
December 2, 2011 at 1:36 AM
Alan - Right you are. I've received a number of defensive comments on other related posts, claiming that since so many doors are being knocked on, it's to be expected that there will be some complaints. I've never accepted that logic - and neither should consumers. Aggressive sales are either part of a company's culture, or they are not. You cannot blame thousands of complaints, government actions (like fines and lawsuits), and a "D" from the BBB on "a few bad apples."
Alan Draper
November 30, 2011 at 9:35 PM
These guys need to give it up. Changing your name all the time doesn't properly erase your history.
Peter M. Rogers
December 2, 2011 at 1:36 AM
Alan - Right you are. I've received a number of defensive comments on other related posts, claiming that since so many doors are being knocked on, it's to be expected that there will be some complaints. I've never accepted that logic - and neither should consumers. Aggressive sales are either part of a company's culture, or they are not. You cannot blame thousands of complaints, government actions (like fines and lawsuits), and a "D" from the BBB on "a few bad apples."
Jason Johnson
December 6, 2011 at 12:00 AM
APX (vivint) yes they sell alarms door to door and yes they have some customers that are un happy, but their agreement is clearly outlined. If someone you know or you signed just because someone you met said something different its your fault that you signed the paperwork without reading it. They have installed one million customers now for security, and as company that is growing and expanding into new product lines, i doubt they are going to throw in the towel. the point here is read something before you sign it. On the positive side you are protected for 5 years, enjoy the peace of mind :)
Peter M. Rogers
December 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Jason - Thanks very much for your comment. Your response to the issue actually says a lot about the mindset of many alarm companies, especially the door knocking variety: buyer beware. Many of us who have been protecting lives and properties for a long time remember the days before the "Gotcha" approach now currently in use by many service providers - and it frankly pains us to see what has happened to the reputation of the alarm industry. In fact, the recent development in this business most harmful to its reputation is door knocking, as currently practiced. If you read my posts, you'll see that the major complaint is not about people feeling trapped in a contract (although that is one complaint, for sure, especially from people who did not fully understand what they were getting in the fist place). According to many reports, these are often older folks. But the real issue is that the sales reps are considered notoriously aggressive, and have been documented as using fraud and deceit when selling door to door. That is why so many door knocker companies have been in trouble with states all across the US (fines, lawsuits, etc.) and have even been sued by other alarm companies for "poaching" customers. I don't expect them to throw in the towel: I just want them to clean up their act, because they are making life more difficult for reputable companies by growing at any cost. And if people really liked, understood, and used what they were getting, then the cancellation rates for these door knocker companies would not be so high. But thanks again.
Jason Johnson
December 6, 2011 at 12:00 AM
APX (vivint) yes they sell alarms door to door and yes they have some customers that are un happy, but their agreement is clearly outlined. If someone you know or you signed just because someone you met said something different its your fault that you signed the paperwork without reading it. They have installed one million customers now for security, and as company that is growing and expanding into new product lines, i doubt they are going to throw in the towel. the point here is read something before you sign it. On the positive side you are protected for 5 years, enjoy the peace of mind :)
Peter M. Rogers
December 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Jason - Thanks very much for your comment. Your response to the issue actually says a lot about the mindset of many alarm companies, especially the door knocking variety: buyer beware. Many of us who have been protecting lives and properties for a long time remember the days before the "Gotcha" approach now currently in use by many service providers - and it frankly pains us to see what has happened to the reputation of the alarm industry. In fact, the recent development in this business most harmful to its reputation is door knocking, as currently practiced. If you read my posts, you'll see that the major complaint is not about people feeling trapped in a contract (although that is one complaint, for sure, especially from people who did not fully understand what they were getting in the fist place). According to many reports, these are often older folks. But the real issue is that the sales reps are considered notoriously aggressive, and have been documented as using fraud and deceit when selling door to door. That is why so many door knocker companies have been in trouble with states all across the US (fines, lawsuits, etc.) and have even been sued by other alarm companies for "poaching" customers. I don't expect them to throw in the towel: I just want them to clean up their act, because they are making life more difficult for reputable companies by growing at any cost. And if people really liked, understood, and used what they were getting, then the cancellation rates for these door knocker companies would not be so high. But thanks again.
Lloyd sweat
January 7, 2012 at 3:38 AM
I am an alarm salesman and have been looking at these statements in your blog post although I don't work for the company mentioned I have a few questions 1. Any time we set up an alarm no matter if we lie or not the customer does a recorded call with the call center who verifies they understand what is expected with our agreement if the don't answer questions correctly the alarm don't go in 2. There is a contract that you have to sign and for the life of me I can't figure out how people can mistake it's not a contract and you should always read what your signing especially if you just met the person 3. By law we have to offer a three day cancelation which is in that contact you didnt read which states for any reason you can cancel in 72 hours of the alarm bein put in but at the end of the day these companies have 100 to 1 on happy and unhappy sure there are those that are dishonest but that is in every profession so if your upset about an alarm company go look in the mirror and ask yourself did I use my head and read what I signed or am I just really pissed at my self for bein that dumb
Peter M. Rogers
January 11, 2012 at 1:40 AM
Thanks, Lloyd, for your comment. I could post a very long and detailed reply to your statements, but in the interest of brevity I'll address each one with a short rebuttal. (1) Yes, it's technically true, but clearly there are plenty of people who did not really understand what they were receiving. How else do you explain high cancellation rates and a ton of complaints? Is everyone who complained just stupid? I beg to differ. (2) Many of these high pressure sales people gloss over the contract, and few people take the time to read them. Did you ever read your entire cell phone service contract? I would be amazed if you did. And many door knockers install the system right after the sale, so the customers think they have no recourse, even though they still have three days to change their mind and cancel. The cards are stacked against the consumer with these companies - which is why so many states have fined and sued the companies for how they operate. (3) See my response to your second point - and your first. I hope that none of my friends, family members, or colleagues ever find themselves in a position to buy an alarm system from you or your company, if your approach is representative of the company you work for. Your comments, while they may be technically accurate, are a good example of why some companies have an "A" with the BBB, and some have an "F" with lots of complaints. Again, thanks for your comment.
Jack
February 4, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Peter M Rogers, when should I start laughing at your post? So let me get this straight, you hope that none of your friends, family members, or colleagues get an alarm system from the ONLY company backed by the JD power and associates award for customer service 2 years in a row? Your attitude is a joke at best and describes individuals who cannot accept accountability and always FIND SOME LOOP HOLE to blame others for their problems. If your not intelligent enough to realize what an alarm is beforehand (a contract obviously) just like a cell phone, just like a gym membership and just like anything where a SERVICE is provided. Monitoring an alarm and maintaining its equipment is obviously a service that requires service fees. If you don't want an alarm system to protect your family, then you don have to pay fees. If you want one whether it be by a door to door company or not, you will pay fees. Just like deciding whether or not you want cable television in your home. If you want it, you will pay fees. Its not in fine print of a 36 page agreement, lol. Its IN BOLD PRINT on a ONE page agreement. So to blame someone for not knowing what they signed up for is an absolute joke. There is both documentation AND recorded verbal compliance to an already ASSUMED responsibility to pay a fee for the service. Im not sure where you are getting your information other than just self proclaimed assumptions to fit your agenda, but there is a VERY LOW amount of customer complaints and cancellations in comparison to the vast number of contracts. Only the people who are out to blame others and who cannot take accountability take the time to post negative feedback, which is why the internet has an extremely negative tone in regards to door to door sales. The people that admire that work ethic don't bother to post because they are not offended as you are. How many people have backed out of car deals or other types of memberships?... thousands upon thousands, so why should you expect anything different in this industry. The FACTS are.... you have not said ONE piece of credible evidence that any specific alarm system was better or less than expected. Your entire focus is that you don't like being approached at your door. The man at the door could offer you an amazing deal, but your preconceived pre judged attitude is too closed minded to even think about the offer being presented to you. The fact is, when something is offered to you at your door its usually a way better deal than if you called someone else. After 8 years in the industry I know this to be the case, so why not capatilize on this opportunity if you had been thinking about getting a home security system. Like I said.... I have never met a businessman or ANY successful sales person that was not "aggressive". If you are successful, you are aggressive... point blank, those terms are synonymous with each other. So instead of being a closed minded self proclaimed business expert, try to realize that something offered to you is most of the times a better deal than if you were to seek it out. It also takes a severely dedicated individual that is passionate about the services provided in order to conduct business in this fashion. If your too oblivious to researching the actual product and equipment being received and instead are turned off by the initial sales approach then of course you won't grasp the opportunity at hand. None of your comments have anything to do with how the company handles operations nor the quality of the components. Its sad to see such self proclaimed experts leading the blind away to spiteful attitudes towards some of americas hardest working individuals. If you want to compare alarm systems be it price, quality and service... I would be more than happy to have a real business comparison. However just because you disagree with the approach does not discredit the amazing value and performance of the system being received. This is another sad case of the blind leading the blind. Im very sorry that your not a nice enough person to greet someone at your door in a respectful manner. Im also sad that your friends and family if they listen to you will be severely misguided and closed off from many opportunities in there life.
Peter M. Rogers
February 7, 2012 at 5:42 PM
Jack - thanks for your long comment: it clearly required some effort to put all this into words, and we take that as a compliment, regardless of whether we agree or not. I do appreciate your reference to JD Powers, since many folks consider them a credible and objective source of quality assessment. What many people do not realize is that it costs money to use the JD Powers "seal of approval" - and that it was granted to Vivint's call center, but specifically not to Vivint's door-to-door sales program, which is the source of most of the consumer complaints. I also notice that Vivint no longer has the JD Powers seal on the web site - like many other companies, Vivint probably decided the cost was no longer justifiable for the return. Your comment reminds me a several others that I have received on the topic of door knocking alarm companies. The common themes in these rebuttals (usually from door knockers themselves) are that thousands of complaints are unfounded, that the people who complain are unintelligent or irresponsible, and that the companies never do anything wrong. As far as where I am getting my information, it could not be easier: just check the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, AARP and other senior organizations, and the legal files of many states to find an overwhelming number of complaints, warnings, lawsuits, fines, and violations. The last thing anyone needs to do is fabricate negative news on door knocking alarm companies! And the list of reported wrongdoing runs from fraudulent and deceptive sales practices, to stealing other alarm companies' customers, to violating licensing laws: the range is remarkable in its breadth. Sadly, I do not have to "self-proclaim" any assumptions on these issues - they are all a matter of public record. I have never said all door knockers are bad, or that all door knocking companies are bad, or even that door knocking itself is a bad thing. But clearly the way the practice has evolved in the alarm industry leaves a tremendous amount to be desired. I am also sorry that a number of hard working people who are trying to provide a valid service in a credible and professional manner are tarred with the same brush as the bad actors out there, but that is hardly surprising, in light of the sheer number of complaints, warnings, alerts, and legal actions. If the companies were more careful about the way they hired, trained, and managed all their employees, perhaps we would not be having the discussion. Good luck to you - and might I also suggest that you reread my posts on this topic, for the many sources and references contained there?
David
June 29, 2012 at 12:06 AM
They are still at it. Came to my home and talked to wife while I was at work. 30 minutes at front door, conned her into signing "just a sheet to lock price", under that sheet unknown to wife was full fledged contract. Sent 3 day cancel notice next morning. Filed complaint with local law enforcement, BBB, State attorneys general and FTC. We also contacted the news to hopefully get the word out. Pure scam.
Peter M. Rogers
June 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM
David - thanks for another tale from the trenches. It has gotten so bad that the alarm system manufacturers are now stepping in to put the companies using these tactics on formal notice, which is very telling: when the people who make the actual equipment are worrying about their reputations and the future of the industry, which is the case now, then it's clear that some of these door knockers have crossed the line. Sadly, your story is a perfect example of the extreme measures these sales people will sink to, just to get that sale and hope it sticks. No way to run a business, in my opinion. And good for you for acting quickly and decisively - and letting all the right people know what happened. I think the states and localities will ultimately have to "put the hammer down" and prohibit the companies who cannot discipline their employees from doing business there. Thanks again for sharing.
Lloyd sweat
January 7, 2012 at 3:38 AM
I am an alarm salesman and have been looking at these statements in your blog post although I don't work for the company mentioned I have a few questions 1. Any time we set up an alarm no matter if we lie or not the customer does a recorded call with the call center who verifies they understand what is expected with our agreement if the don't answer questions correctly the alarm don't go in 2. There is a contract that you have to sign and for the life of me I can't figure out how people can mistake it's not a contract and you should always read what your signing especially if you just met the person 3. By law we have to offer a three day cancelation which is in that contact you didnt read which states for any reason you can cancel in 72 hours of the alarm bein put in but at the end of the day these companies have 100 to 1 on happy and unhappy sure there are those that are dishonest but that is in every profession so if your upset about an alarm company go look in the mirror and ask yourself did I use my head and read what I signed or am I just really pissed at my self for bein that dumb
Peter M. Rogers
January 11, 2012 at 1:40 AM
Thanks, Lloyd, for your comment. I could post a very long and detailed reply to your statements, but in the interest of brevity I'll address each one with a short rebuttal. (1) Yes, it's technically true, but clearly there are plenty of people who did not really understand what they were receiving. How else do you explain high cancellation rates and a ton of complaints? Is everyone who complained just stupid? I beg to differ. (2) Many of these high pressure sales people gloss over the contract, and few people take the time to read them. Did you ever read your entire cell phone service contract? I would be amazed if you did. And many door knockers install the system right after the sale, so the customers think they have no recourse, even though they still have three days to change their mind and cancel. The cards are stacked against the consumer with these companies - which is why so many states have fined and sued the companies for how they operate. (3) See my response to your second point - and your first. I hope that none of my friends, family members, or colleagues ever find themselves in a position to buy an alarm system from you or your company, if your approach is representative of the company you work for. Your comments, while they may be technically accurate, are a good example of why some companies have an "A" with the BBB, and some have an "F" with lots of complaints. Again, thanks for your comment.
Jack
February 4, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Peter M Rogers, when should I start laughing at your post? So let me get this straight, you hope that none of your friends, family members, or colleagues get an alarm system from the ONLY company backed by the JD power and associates award for customer service 2 years in a row? Your attitude is a joke at best and describes individuals who cannot accept accountability and always FIND SOME LOOP HOLE to blame others for their problems. If your not intelligent enough to realize what an alarm is beforehand (a contract obviously) just like a cell phone, just like a gym membership and just like anything where a SERVICE is provided. Monitoring an alarm and maintaining its equipment is obviously a service that requires service fees. If you don't want an alarm system to protect your family, then you don have to pay fees. If you want one whether it be by a door to door company or not, you will pay fees. Just like deciding whether or not you want cable television in your home. If you want it, you will pay fees. Its not in fine print of a 36 page agreement, lol. Its IN BOLD PRINT on a ONE page agreement. So to blame someone for not knowing what they signed up for is an absolute joke. There is both documentation AND recorded verbal compliance to an already ASSUMED responsibility to pay a fee for the service. Im not sure where you are getting your information other than just self proclaimed assumptions to fit your agenda, but there is a VERY LOW amount of customer complaints and cancellations in comparison to the vast number of contracts. Only the people who are out to blame others and who cannot take accountability take the time to post negative feedback, which is why the internet has an extremely negative tone in regards to door to door sales. The people that admire that work ethic don't bother to post because they are not offended as you are. How many people have backed out of car deals or other types of memberships?... thousands upon thousands, so why should you expect anything different in this industry. The FACTS are.... you have not said ONE piece of credible evidence that any specific alarm system was better or less than expected. Your entire focus is that you don't like being approached at your door. The man at the door could offer you an amazing deal, but your preconceived pre judged attitude is too closed minded to even think about the offer being presented to you. The fact is, when something is offered to you at your door its usually a way better deal than if you called someone else. After 8 years in the industry I know this to be the case, so why not capatilize on this opportunity if you had been thinking about getting a home security system. Like I said.... I have never met a businessman or ANY successful sales person that was not "aggressive". If you are successful, you are aggressive... point blank, those terms are synonymous with each other. So instead of being a closed minded self proclaimed business expert, try to realize that something offered to you is most of the times a better deal than if you were to seek it out. It also takes a severely dedicated individual that is passionate about the services provided in order to conduct business in this fashion. If your too oblivious to researching the actual product and equipment being received and instead are turned off by the initial sales approach then of course you won't grasp the opportunity at hand. None of your comments have anything to do with how the company handles operations nor the quality of the components. Its sad to see such self proclaimed experts leading the blind away to spiteful attitudes towards some of americas hardest working individuals. If you want to compare alarm systems be it price, quality and service... I would be more than happy to have a real business comparison. However just because you disagree with the approach does not discredit the amazing value and performance of the system being received. This is another sad case of the blind leading the blind. Im very sorry that your not a nice enough person to greet someone at your door in a respectful manner. Im also sad that your friends and family if they listen to you will be severely misguided and closed off from many opportunities in there life.
Peter M. Rogers
February 7, 2012 at 5:42 PM
Jack - thanks for your long comment: it clearly required some effort to put all this into words, and we take that as a compliment, regardless of whether we agree or not. I do appreciate your reference to JD Powers, since many folks consider them a credible and objective source of quality assessment. What many people do not realize is that it costs money to use the JD Powers "seal of approval" - and that it was granted to Vivint's call center, but specifically not to Vivint's door-to-door sales program, which is the source of most of the consumer complaints. I also notice that Vivint no longer has the JD Powers seal on the web site - like many other companies, Vivint probably decided the cost was no longer justifiable for the return. Your comment reminds me a several others that I have received on the topic of door knocking alarm companies. The common themes in these rebuttals (usually from door knockers themselves) are that thousands of complaints are unfounded, that the people who complain are unintelligent or irresponsible, and that the companies never do anything wrong. As far as where I am getting my information, it could not be easier: just check the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, AARP and other senior organizations, and the legal files of many states to find an overwhelming number of complaints, warnings, lawsuits, fines, and violations. The last thing anyone needs to do is fabricate negative news on door knocking alarm companies! And the list of reported wrongdoing runs from fraudulent and deceptive sales practices, to stealing other alarm companies' customers, to violating licensing laws: the range is remarkable in its breadth. Sadly, I do not have to "self-proclaim" any assumptions on these issues - they are all a matter of public record. I have never said all door knockers are bad, or that all door knocking companies are bad, or even that door knocking itself is a bad thing. But clearly the way the practice has evolved in the alarm industry leaves a tremendous amount to be desired. I am also sorry that a number of hard working people who are trying to provide a valid service in a credible and professional manner are tarred with the same brush as the bad actors out there, but that is hardly surprising, in light of the sheer number of complaints, warnings, alerts, and legal actions. If the companies were more careful about the way they hired, trained, and managed all their employees, perhaps we would not be having the discussion. Good luck to you - and might I also suggest that you reread my posts on this topic, for the many sources and references contained there?
David
June 29, 2012 at 12:06 AM
They are still at it. Came to my home and talked to wife while I was at work. 30 minutes at front door, conned her into signing "just a sheet to lock price", under that sheet unknown to wife was full fledged contract. Sent 3 day cancel notice next morning. Filed complaint with local law enforcement, BBB, State attorneys general and FTC. We also contacted the news to hopefully get the word out. Pure scam.
Peter M. Rogers
June 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM
David - thanks for another tale from the trenches. It has gotten so bad that the alarm system manufacturers are now stepping in to put the companies using these tactics on formal notice, which is very telling: when the people who make the actual equipment are worrying about their reputations and the future of the industry, which is the case now, then it's clear that some of these door knockers have crossed the line. Sadly, your story is a perfect example of the extreme measures these sales people will sink to, just to get that sale and hope it sticks. No way to run a business, in my opinion. And good for you for acting quickly and decisively - and letting all the right people know what happened. I think the states and localities will ultimately have to "put the hammer down" and prohibit the companies who cannot discipline their employees from doing business there. Thanks again for sharing.
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