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Alarm System Fails to Detect Fire: Homeowner Posts Negative Review on Front Lawn and Facebook!

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January 5, 2012
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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.

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Comments
Alan Draper
January 6, 2012 at 4:04 AM
“We always recommend that customers have a professional evaluate their homes to see what type of systems work best.” ---> Yeah... Unbelievable! Great point you make about how overpricing sensors often results in customers getting less protection than they need, and it's really shortsighted, I think. As an alarm company, you should be trying to add as much value to the monthly monitoring fee, which over time, is the REAL moneymaker by far. Not to mention just wanting to do right by your customers and wanting them protected well. I certainly appreciate the low pricing of your sensors, and really service all around for what you get.
Alan Draper
January 6, 2012 at 4:04 AM
“We always recommend that customers have a professional evaluate their homes to see what type of systems work best.” ---> Yeah... Unbelievable! Great point you make about how overpricing sensors often results in customers getting less protection than they need, and it's really shortsighted, I think. As an alarm company, you should be trying to add as much value to the monthly monitoring fee, which over time, is the REAL moneymaker by far. Not to mention just wanting to do right by your customers and wanting them protected well. I certainly appreciate the low pricing of your sensors, and really service all around for what you get.
Christy Brooks
October 3, 2014 at 2:59 AM
A Vivint sales representative (e.G. Santiago Larronda) came to my door and offered the company's home security and automation service to me, under very specific conditions. The terms included the following: (1) guaranteed 30-day cancellation; (2) he [e.G. Santiago Larronda] would pay the $99 activation fee; (3) two months of free service; and (4) a $63.99 flat-rate monthly service fee, with the taxes included in the stated total. My husband and I have made several calls regarding certain aspects of our services not working, especially the camera systems that Vivint installed in our home. In addition, after repeated inquiries into these matters, we discovered that, after our contract was signed, our sales representative made several changes to our existing agreement, including but not limited to: (1) he did not pay the $99 activation fee, and Vivint subsequently charged my bank account for the money; (2) the two-months-of-free-service agreement was reduced to one month of free service; and (3) I began incurring additional taxes, based on location, and I became responsible for a monthly payment of $69.27, which fell beyond the agreed-upon total of $63.99. The terms to which I agreed were annotated in my copy of the issued contract, and it was also documented in a series of recorded conversations between my husband, the Vivint customer service representatives, and me, which were later pulled and authenticated by Vivint supervisor Tiffany Barriga. After the Vivint customer service representatives informed me that they were unable to resolve my situation, I sought to cancel my service on the basis of 'breach of contract'. They subsequently stated that, due to my signing a contract with the company for a 42-month period, whether the stated contract was faulty or not, I am legally bound to uphold its existence and pay its required fees. They also stated that I can "buy out" my contract by paying the company a fee of $4,799.40, which is actually more than the total amount of my contract. After several hours on the phone with different reps, supervisors, I have gotten no where. I have filed several complaints with BBB, Texas Attorney General, and Federal Trade Commission.
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