February 16, 2011
Home Alarm Systems – What To Do When Yours Doesn’t Work
It's scary to learn that your alarm system doesn’t work – especially when you learn the hard way. That’s why reputable alarm companies strongly encourage you to test your system at least monthly. The best alarm companies take it even further: they use advanced technology to test the communication path to the monitoring center on a regular basis: up to several times a day. Now that kind of reliability gives a sense of security! Here’s a story about an alarm user in North Carolina whose faith in his alarm system - and in his alarm company - was severely shaken.
A Raleigh man says the idea of a security system gave his family piece of mind. However, homeowner Egbert Gracias says after it went off a few times and he got no call from the monitoring service, he realized there was a problem. But more than two months after reporting it, he says the system still didn't work.
What He Did Next
"I called customer service and told them it's going off, no one is calling us, and they looked and said yes, it looks as if we aren't getting any signal from your house either, so we did a test and figured it wasn't working," Gracias said. He says a technician was then sent out to his house. "He diagnosed the issue that when the alarm goes off it dials out but the monitoring center is not getting dialed from my phone system," Gracias said.
Caught in the Middle
Gracias says he got in touch with his phone provider, but he was told everything was fine on their end. So Gracias went back to calling his alarm company. He claims he was promised someone would be out, but nothing. "If you can't fix it by this weekend I want to disconnect the system, because there's no point in paying you when you don't understand the point of a security system," Gracias said.
A Standard Alarm Industry Complaint
With no fix, Gracias tried to cancel, but was denied since he's under contract. "My system is not working, I'm paying them to monitor the alarm system and they don't even know it's not working," Gracias said. "This has been going on for three months now." It was then when Gracias says he also learned his contract was sold to another company, Safe Home Security. While another company originally installed the system in 2006, the president of that company said they sold his contract to Safe Home Security four years ago, and Safe Home Security is responsible for taking care of the issues. But to do the right thing, Security Force's president sent a technician out to fix Gracias' alarm system.
There are two common themes here: the first is that plenty of alarm companies create accounts, only to turn the service and monitoring over to another party. My post on the ADT Authorized Dealers explains how this works, and it’s true that many other alarm companies do the exact same thing. The second theme is the sense of felling “trapped” by a monitoring contract, and this is a recurring topic on the complaint web sites that cover alarm companies – addressed in this post on alarm company reviews.
Getting Attention - and Results
Frustrated, Gracias got in touch with ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. Wilson got in touch with Safe Home Security and Security Force Inc., the company Gracias originally signed up with in 2006. "Within a couple hours of her sending an e-mail I got a call from the president," Gracias said. He says the president of Security Force Inc. assured him his problem would get corrected.
So in the end it worked out, but it was not easy. You certainly shouldn’t be calling the local television station to get attention from the service provider that you supposedly trust to protect your home and family. And by the way, you shouldn’t have an alarm system that depends on a phone line, either! FrontPoint is the nation’s only alarm company using 100% cellular monitoring – the safest, most reliable protection you can find. That’s just one of many reasons why FrontPoint is the leading provider for interactive, wireless home security across the US and Canada. Another reason is the fact that we do test your system's cellular communication path several times a day, and a third is our long list of five-star online reviews. And by the way – when you have questions, you’ll always be calling us.