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Reported ADT Cold Calls Can Frighten Homeowners

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November 21, 2011
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Reported ADT Cold Calls Can Frighten Homeowners

If you can’t trust your alarm company, who can you trust? And if you can’t trust an alarm company to operate with transparency and integrity from the outset, then you should think twice about whether that’s the right alarm company for you – no matter how well-known that company may be. A recent article printed in The Consumerist, an on-line publication affiliated with Consumer Reports, describes how this lack of transparency can actually scare people. In addition to possibly being taken for a potential burglar, that pushy person on the phone is not helping build their company’s reputation.

An ADT salesman had devised (or was at least using) a brilliant tactic: cold-call people and ask them how their ADT systems were working. If they said, "I don't have ADT," try to sell them one. What a great idea! How could it possibly go wrong? I mean, other than making people believe that they've just been cold-called by a burglar looking for alarm-less homes.

The Wrong Way to Sell an Alarm System

The other evening my mother received a phone call on her landline phone from "Bob" at ADT, asking how the security system was working. My mom began to reply "We don't have a sec-" before she realized what she was saying. "Who is this?!" "Bob, from ADT. You know, the guys with the little blue signs." My mom told him that the security system was working fine and hung up. She was extremely frightened by this, because she had just told a stranger over the phone that she didn't have a security system. She called to tell me about this second suspicious phone call, and both of us were extremely worried for the personal safety of her and my two younger siblings.

Tracing the Caller

My mom noticed that the call had come from a number (it wasn't blocked), so she looked it up online, and it was a wireless number not associated with ADT. I told her to call the police, which she did. An officer came out, listened to the stories about the phony calls, took down the number, and promised to investigate further to figure out who had called her. He said that they would do additional patrols around the house that night, so that if anyone was "watching the place", they would know that the police were "on it." I was nervous that if someone was watching, they would simply wait until the police drove by, and then break into my mom's house while my family was sleeping.

It Was ADT, After All

The officer called the number, and the man who answered claimed to be working for ADT, doing cold-call sales over the phone, using his own personal cell phone. If a potential customer replied that they didn't have a security system, as my mom almost did, he then told them about the great deal ADT has to offer. The officer ran a background check on him, called his manager, and it turned out that everything was legitimate. He advised them that this probably wasn't a smart sales method, and that they should expect to receive more calls like this if they continued.

A Strong Recommendation

I feel like I can't complain to ADT, but I think more people need to hear this story - so they know to tell any strangers asking over the phone that they do have a security system - and so that ADT will reconsider allowing their employees to call potential customers from their personal cell phones late at night asking about their home security. Asking customers "Would you be interested in purchasing ADT home security?" is more straightforward and less threatening than "How is your security system working?"

As we’ve said before, FrontPoint has never cold-called, telemarketed, or sold door-to-door – and we're 100% transparent in what we charge (and don’t charge for!). The best home security customers are the people who are looking for peace of mind in the first place: 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. Our 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 retention in the business. We won’t call you, unless you ask us to.

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Comments
Eric
November 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM
I have been in the industry for almost 4 years marketing for several alarm companies. Believe me, I have seen it all. Criminals knocking on doors, yard sign door approach, fraud perpetrated by door-to-door sales reps and cold calling campaigns like the this one. Fortunately I now work for a dealer that believes as you do. Wish more dealers would follow this lead and stop their shady sales tactics. Honesty, integrity and quality is how home security should be sold. If you are interested in an affiliate for Las Vegas, Ohio or Indiana shoot me an email. I am glad to see there is another alarm dealer out there that believes in honesty, integrity and quality. Love your last post too. Very, very true. If you haven't read it you should.
Peter M. Rogers
November 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM
Thanks, Eric - and it sounds as if you have seen plenty! It's really too bad that some alarm companies feel they have to sell the way they do, but sadly there is too much money (and too little farsightedness) in this industry, so bad behaviors may persist: these companies don't realize they are fouling their own nest. The alarm industry already has a dubious reputation in the eyes of many people, based largely on the types of interactions you describe (and that I write about), and that negative perception hurts all of us. Don't these companies realize that alarm shoppers are only getting smarter, and now just need the Internet to register complaints or check out a company? Amazing. I'm glad to hear you are on the good side of the equation, and thanks for the reinforcement!
Eric
November 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM
I have been in the industry for almost 4 years marketing for several alarm companies. Believe me, I have seen it all. Criminals knocking on doors, yard sign door approach, fraud perpetrated by door-to-door sales reps and cold calling campaigns like the this one. Fortunately I now work for a dealer that believes as you do. Wish more dealers would follow this lead and stop their shady sales tactics. Honesty, integrity and quality is how home security should be sold. If you are interested in an affiliate for Las Vegas, Ohio or Indiana shoot me an email. I am glad to see there is another alarm dealer out there that believes in honesty, integrity and quality. Love your last post too. Very, very true. If you haven't read it you should.
Peter M. Rogers
November 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM
Thanks, Eric - and it sounds as if you have seen plenty! It's really too bad that some alarm companies feel they have to sell the way they do, but sadly there is too much money (and too little farsightedness) in this industry, so bad behaviors may persist: these companies don't realize they are fouling their own nest. The alarm industry already has a dubious reputation in the eyes of many people, based largely on the types of interactions you describe (and that I write about), and that negative perception hurts all of us. Don't these companies realize that alarm shoppers are only getting smarter, and now just need the Internet to register complaints or check out a company? Amazing. I'm glad to hear you are on the good side of the equation, and thanks for the reinforcement!
Josh
November 22, 2011 at 6:21 AM
Your going to base judgement on ADT from one cold call. ADT has been around a very long time and its pretty cocky to call Frontpoint #1 when nobody has heard of your company. I doubt that you have a higher customer retention over ADT, there's no way for you to even know what ADT's or any other companies retention rate is. So stop selling falsified lies.
Peter M. Rogers
November 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Josh - Thanks for your comment. I am hardly basing my judgment on ADT based on one call. The incident I wrote about is symptomatic not only of ADT, but of the alarm industry in general, not acting intelligently in an age where customers are getting smarter all the time. Just look at the door knockers - another great example of a business model that gives the alarm industry a bad name. And ADT's biggest problem (in my opinion) is probably not its sales tactics, but its poor customer service. Remember, ADT bought the last tow alarm companies where I worked: in the case of the second company, they "lost" roughly 30% of the customer they acquired in the first year, primarily for poor service. I even worked at Tyco, ADT's parent: over the course of time I watched as companies where I assisted in the acquisition were absorbed poorly, the customers often abused or neglected, and the result was high cancellation rates. And as for ADT's cancellation rates, they are public - just check out the 10-k for TYC (Tyco's stock symbol). ADT does not have the worst customer cancellation rate in the alarm industry, but it's several times higher than ours. And since I spent years consulting in this industry, visiting as many as 100 alarm companies a year, I have an extremely good idea of what standard alarm industry cancellation rates are, and what specific companies report. But thanks for your comment, at any rate.
Josh
November 22, 2011 at 6:21 AM
Your going to base judgement on ADT from one cold call. ADT has been around a very long time and its pretty cocky to call Frontpoint #1 when nobody has heard of your company. I doubt that you have a higher customer retention over ADT, there's no way for you to even know what ADT's or any other companies retention rate is. So stop selling falsified lies.
Peter M. Rogers
November 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Josh - Thanks for your comment. I am hardly basing my judgment on ADT based on one call. The incident I wrote about is symptomatic not only of ADT, but of the alarm industry in general, not acting intelligently in an age where customers are getting smarter all the time. Just look at the door knockers - another great example of a business model that gives the alarm industry a bad name. And ADT's biggest problem (in my opinion) is probably not its sales tactics, but its poor customer service. Remember, ADT bought the last tow alarm companies where I worked: in the case of the second company, they "lost" roughly 30% of the customer they acquired in the first year, primarily for poor service. I even worked at Tyco, ADT's parent: over the course of time I watched as companies where I assisted in the acquisition were absorbed poorly, the customers often abused or neglected, and the result was high cancellation rates. And as for ADT's cancellation rates, they are public - just check out the 10-k for TYC (Tyco's stock symbol). ADT does not have the worst customer cancellation rate in the alarm industry, but it's several times higher than ours. And since I spent years consulting in this industry, visiting as many as 100 alarm companies a year, I have an extremely good idea of what standard alarm industry cancellation rates are, and what specific companies report. But thanks for your comment, at any rate.
Alan Draper
November 30, 2011 at 9:33 PM
If anyone knows what he's talking about, it's Peter. The man is not only knowledgeable, but incredibly smart so I would take that into account when judging these types of comments. I think there's a lot of jealously about Frontpoint and what they have accomplished.
Peter M. Rogers
December 2, 2011 at 1:39 AM
Thanks, Alan - I truly appreciate the compliment. But the fact is that there's very little rocket science in the alarm industry. The challenge is not complexity or difficulty for these other companies: it's being transparent and providing consistently good service. With attitudes like those we have seen in some of these comments, it's no surprise the alarm industry has a less than stellar reputation. FrontPoint is working hard to change that - for the better!
Alan Draper
November 30, 2011 at 9:33 PM
If anyone knows what he's talking about, it's Peter. The man is not only knowledgeable, but incredibly smart so I would take that into account when judging these types of comments. I think there's a lot of jealously about Frontpoint and what they have accomplished.
Peter M. Rogers
December 2, 2011 at 1:39 AM
Thanks, Alan - I truly appreciate the compliment. But the fact is that there's very little rocket science in the alarm industry. The challenge is not complexity or difficulty for these other companies: it's being transparent and providing consistently good service. With attitudes like those we have seen in some of these comments, it's no surprise the alarm industry has a less than stellar reputation. FrontPoint is working hard to change that - for the better!
Sam
February 19, 2012 at 4:26 AM
He is not smart, he is an idiot, he cannot come up with anything new so he has to put down everyone else, cheap blow, ADT is the largest and best security company out there, over 5 million customers and counting!!
Peter M. Rogers
February 20, 2012 at 7:04 PM
Thanks, Sam, for your comment. I have been called "not smart," and even "an idiot" before, especially when it comes to voicing my informed opinion about alarm industry issues, and the alarm companies themselves. But if you do your homework and check out ADT's reputation and the level of customer satisfaction, you may surprised. Bigger does not mean better, especially in the alarm industry, and certainly when sheer size becomes an excuse instead of an advantage. I would expect that an aggregation of 57 independent telegraph companies that happened in 1874 should result in a large company 138 years later, but that's just me... ADT stands for American District Telegraph, bu the way. And when it comes to "anything new," several alarm companies (including FrontPoint) were years ahead of ADT in offering interactive services before ADT's "Pulse" service to market. ADT is one playing catch up. So, thanks again for posting a comment, but I'm afraid you are not sufficiently informed on this topic.
Sam
February 19, 2012 at 4:26 AM
He is not smart, he is an idiot, he cannot come up with anything new so he has to put down everyone else, cheap blow, ADT is the largest and best security company out there, over 5 million customers and counting!!
Peter M. Rogers
February 20, 2012 at 7:04 PM
Thanks, Sam, for your comment. I have been called "not smart," and even "an idiot" before, especially when it comes to voicing my informed opinion about alarm industry issues, and the alarm companies themselves. But if you do your homework and check out ADT's reputation and the level of customer satisfaction, you may surprised. Bigger does not mean better, especially in the alarm industry, and certainly when sheer size becomes an excuse instead of an advantage. I would expect that an aggregation of 57 independent telegraph companies that happened in 1874 should result in a large company 138 years later, but that's just me... ADT stands for American District Telegraph, bu the way. And when it comes to "anything new," several alarm companies (including FrontPoint) were years ahead of ADT in offering interactive services before ADT's "Pulse" service to market. ADT is one playing catch up. So, thanks again for posting a comment, but I'm afraid you are not sufficiently informed on this topic.
Peter M. Rogers
February 14, 2013 at 9:40 PM
Thanks - we try to be a resource that educates and informs.
Peter M. Rogers
February 14, 2013 at 9:40 PM
Thanks - we try to be a resource that educates and informs.
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