September 28, 2011
Alarm Company Steals Competitor’s Customer, is Caught
The alarm industry is a rough and tumble environment. For one thing, there are approximately 13,000 alarm companies in the US, from ADT at one extreme to a horde of smaller “mom and pop” outfits at the other end of the spectrum. Competition can get fierce: so fierce, in fact, that some of the less honorable alarm companies resort to “poaching” customers from other companies. Poaching can be hard to prove, but when the evidence is clear, lawsuits may result (as happened when ADT sued door-knocker Pinnacle Security for poaching ADT’s customers). In a recent article on poaching in Phoenix, AZ, I found a sad tale that demonstrates why the alarm industry has earned a checkered reputation. It’s a clear case of the few spoiling if for the many.
Eighty-year-old Sue Fong knows her safety is important. That’s exactly why she had a security system installed seven years ago when she moved into her Phoenix home. "Being a single woman in a new neighborhood, I thought, ‘You know maybe it would be wise to have an alarm system’."She's been happy with the system and she's never missed her $45 monthly payment to Castle Rock Security for her security service.
High Pressure and Fraudulent Sales Practices
However, last year, salesmen knocked on her door saying they were there to upgrade Sue's security system, so she let them inside. "These gentlemen came to the door and said that they're associated with her alarm service provider and that they were updating the equipment.” The men installed a few security devices and had Sue sign the paperwork. As far as Sue was concerned, she was with the same company but just with better monitoring. "They were very convincing," she says.
This is a classic example of poaching: a door knocker sales rep pretending that he or she works for the homeowner’s alarm company. The companies that focus on door knocking for alarm sales (and it’s easy to find them, based on their trail of bad reviews, law suits, fines, and warnings from the BBB and even the Federal Trade Commission).
The Ugly Truth Emerges
Sue says she didn't realize it but the salesmen were with Vision Security, a completely separate company and they had just installed another brand new system. Not only that, but they had also locked Sue into a five-year contract. "I thought that they were just updating equipment that I had, and not realizing they were changing me to an entirely new company." As a result, Sue began paying $45 monthly payments to Vision Security and at the same time her old company Castle Rock Security was taking $45 automatic payments for a service they didn't provide anymore. Essentially, Sue was paying two companies for the same service.
A Costly Error - for the Victim
"I just noticed the last six months that I've been double billed: once by Castle Rock and once by Vision Security.” Sue says she's tried to straighten out the mistake for weeks but got nowhere. "I feel very duped. I feel very stupid. I feel taken advantage of.”
Local consumer advocate 3 On Your Side contacted both alarm companies. As a result, Vision Security and Castle Rock Security have agreed to release Sue from her contract and they also agreed to stop billing her altogether. That's great news for Sue, who’s on a tight budget. "I just want other people to know that this is going on, and not to be taken in like this."
FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we don’t plan to sell that way in the future. That’s only part of why FrontPoint has an “A” rating with the BBB – instead of an “F,” like some door knocker companies. Any alarm company with integrity won’t allow its salespeople to use these tactics – and will always fire them immediately if it happens. The problem is that some alarm company cultures turn a blind eye - their motto is "Don't get caught." With home security evolving to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand for total peace of mind – and for FrontPoint - is increasing. We offer protection that is safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the #1 choice in the US and Canada for interactive, wireless home alarm systems. And it also explains why we have the highest customer loyalty in the business. Just read the FrontPoint reviews – and think twice about letting that door knocker in your home.