January 5, 2012
Alarm System Fails to Detect Fire: Homeowner Posts Negative Review on Front Lawn and Facebook!
Clearly this is the age of consumers taking control of the competitive online shopping environment, and modern technology (such as the Internet and social media channels) has played major role. If you have a bad experience with a product or a company, your complaint can “go viral” in a heartbeat on ripoffreport.com, complaints.com, or even pissedconsumer.com. If you have a great experience, then post on your rave review on Yelp.com or Epinions.com and share the good news. And when your alarm company lets you down, you can even publicize your disappointment on Facebook. That's just what happened in St. Peters, Missouri, when a disgruntled alarm customer suffered a fire in her home, and her alarm system let her down.
A family that claims their fire alarm did not sound during a fire is blaming the alarm company that installed the system, citing that the system did not work. Regina Martinez is currently rebuilding her home after a Nov. 1 fire damaged it, reports KMOV.com. During the incident, Martinez claims that her Vivint system did not go off; rather, a neighbor notified her that her home was on fire.
Non-Response is Never the Right Approach to Customer Service
Additionally, Martinez maintains that despite contacting Vivint (formerly APX Alarm), she didn't hear back from the company until she posted a sign on her lawn calling out the company for negligence, and posted the image on Facebook. However, Vivint spokesperson Lisa Davis tells SSI that the installed system was not faulty. "She did have a Vivint system in her home, but it was a basic system that came with a single smoke and heat detector," she says. "That one device was at the far end of her home from where the fire started, which was in the garage."
So here is the question: why was there only one smoke and heat sensor if the house was that spread out? It might be the result of the company’s pricing - $150 for a smoke and heat sensor. Many companies sell it for less: FrontPoint sells essentially the same UL-listed wireless smoke and heat sensor for $64.99.
Non-Monitored Sensors are Just Noisemakers
Martinez, a Vivint customer for about a year, had other smoke detectors in the home that weren't connected to the Vivint system. A report from the fire department said that a detector near the garage did trigger, Davis says. "It wasn't connected to a monitoring station, so it just went off as an alarm," she says. "Thankfully, her neighbor heard it and everybody got out safely."
FrontPoint has always maintained that fire monitoring is a critical component of life safety – and that non-monitored sensors are just noisemakers. In this case, the neighbor was the one who heard it!
The Company Finally Makes it Right
Although the company maintains that their system wasn't defective, Vivint refunded the $1,144.74 Martinez spent on the fire alarm. "Our hearts definitely go out to her," Davis says. "We're still in conversation with her, and we've sent out our technicians to see if there is anything we can do to help her that's within our ability to do so."
But Who is the Professional?
Vivint’s Davis says it is important to remind consumers to double check to make sure all home automation/security devices are connected to the control panel. "It's really important that customers are well informed about the security systems," she says. "We always recommend that customers have a professional evaluate their homes to see what type of systems work best.”
This statement begs another pointed question: who was it that sold the alarm system to the Martinez family in the first place, if not a “professional?” It’s the job of the alarm salesperson to evaluate the needs of the customer and make recommendations, whether in person, on the phone, or even on an Internet chat. You don't even need to see the home to ask the right questions. It seems odd that the door-to-door alarm company that sold the system in the first place would be suggesting a third party evaluate its level of protection.
And remember, good alarm companies don’t charge extra for fire monitoring. The detectors should also be affordable. While FrontPoint recommends at least one monitored smoke and heat sensor for every system we sell, for the best protection you should have one on each floor of your home, and possibly more, if the design of your home merits them.
Call FrontPoint and we’ll be happy to talk you through every aspect of making your home safer. Start with intrusion, fire, and environmental monitoring (temperature, water, even carbon monoxide). While you’re at it, consider adding interactive services, such as remote arm/disarm, text and email notifications, wireless security cameras you can access from any web connection. Now finish it off with home automation for remote control of lights, locks, and thermostats. With systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, it’s easy to see why FrontPoint is the leader in wireless home security – and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.