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What to Know About Home Security Authorized Dealers

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What to Know About Home Security Authorized Dealers
September 8, 2010
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What to Know About Home Security Authorized Dealers

Today, I’m going to address a question we hear a lot: “What is the ADT Dealer program?” ADT runs one of many alarm dealer programs: some were started by alarm manufacturers (like GE or Honeywell), and others were launched by the alarm companies themselves, like ADT or Brink’s/Broadview. These programs create new alarm accounts, partially to offset customer cancellations for service issues and other reasons.

How authorized

dealers for ADT home security systems work

In ADT’s program, an independent alarm dealer does the marketing, selling, and installation—and then sells the account to ADT. The dealer markets under the ADT name, so to the consumer, the ADT dealer looks pretty much like ADT.

The monitoring and ongoing maintenance are done by ADT. Dealers go through a vetting process to join the ADT program, and the rules have evolved over the years to keep ADT's brand out of trouble. One of the real benefits of buying a system from an ADT dealer is that it usually costs less than purchasing the same system directly from ADT. That's right; you can get an ADT-branded system for less money from an Authorized Dealer than from ADT itself since ADT is "buying" the account—and the accounting rules are different when ADT does that. Don’t forget that Tyco (ADT’s parent) is a public company, so earnings-per-share are important!

What you need

to know about home security authorized dealers

Here’s where I caution you to look under the hood.

  1. Dealers often advertise “FREE” systems that don’t give you the protection you need—then charge a lot for the “extra” equipment, plus an installation or “activation” charge. Thoroughly look at the contract to know what features you are getting and what features come at an additional cost.
  2. Dealers can be anonymous and notoriously cost-driven, with less long-term interest in the account—that first-year guarantee is the most important thing to them. Ask about long-term plans and options.
  3. In a constant cycle of “create, then sell, then create, then sell,” dealers are more likely to use cheaper, older versions of hardware (like the GE Simon 3, which I call the “baby monitor,” vs. the newer GE Simon XT). Know what equipment comes in your package and, if you want, request specific models.

What should

you do when looking at a home security authorized dealer?

So, if you are shopping for peace of mind and you find yourself talking to an authorized dealer, make sure you get the name of the actual company—and check their reviews. (Here's an interesting link about an ADT dealer customer experience.) 

Then, make sure you are getting the best equipment and services. Frontpoint Security comes up against these programs all the time—and once folks do their homework and make an honest comparison, it’s not that hard to make the right choice. We’re not saying that going through a dealer is necessarily a bad deal—we just want to see you holding the right cards!

When looking for home security, know whether you are buying from an authorized dealer and take the time to ask additional questions and get the system you want.


Frontpoint keeps homes safe whether families are there or not. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.

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Comments
Bad Guys Wearing ADT Shirts? It’s Getting Harder to Tell Who’s Who! « Don't Steal This Blog
September 13, 2010 at 4:26 PM
[...] Go to comments Hot on the heels of my post about ADT and their Authorized Dealer program (see link here), a rather bizarre news item came over the wire – and this one is a new twist for me, even after [...]
Bad Guys Wearing ADT Shirts? It’s Getting Harder to Tell Who’s Who! « Don't Steal This Blog
September 13, 2010 at 4:26 PM
[...] Go to comments Hot on the heels of my post about ADT and their Authorized Dealer program (see link here), a rather bizarre news item came over the wire – and this one is a new twist for me, even after [...]
Alan
September 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM
Yes, this is a super important distinction that people need to be aware of. Great job with this post! As you say, not because all dealers are bad, but there are RELATIVELY few really good ones. In most cases, probably just easier to go with ADT directly, IF you plan to go with them at all.
Alan
September 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM
Yes, this is a super important distinction that people need to be aware of. Great job with this post! As you say, not because all dealers are bad, but there are RELATIVELY few really good ones. In most cases, probably just easier to go with ADT directly, IF you plan to go with them at all.
Police Won’t Respond to ADT Customer– Data Entry Error is the Culprit «
September 28, 2010 at 3:11 PM
[...] 1.       The alarm system was sold and installed by an ADT authorized dealer based in Indiana: Defender Direct, who goes by the name “Protect Your Home.” ADT blames the data entry error on the dealer. I have also posted on the topic of ADT and the vagaries of its dealer program (here’s a link to that post). [...]
Police Won’t Respond to ADT Customer– Data Entry Error is the Culprit «
September 28, 2010 at 3:11 PM
[...] 1.       The alarm system was sold and installed by an ADT authorized dealer based in Indiana: Defender Direct, who goes by the name “Protect Your Home.” ADT blames the data entry error on the dealer. I have also posted on the topic of ADT and the vagaries of its dealer program (here’s a link to that post). [...]
Home Alarm Systems – What To Do When Yours Doesn’t Work | Home Security Blog
February 16, 2011 at 4:12 PM
[...] 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. [...]
Home Alarm Systems – What To Do When Yours Doesn’t Work | Home Security Blog
February 16, 2011 at 4:12 PM
[...] 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. [...]
ADT Pulse Cost and Pulse Reviews – Do the ADT Authorized Dealers Sell Pulse? | Home Security Blog
March 10, 2011 at 9:14 PM
[...] of the monthly charge. That’s how the Dealers make their money. ADT then takes over the accounts (here’s a link to a more detailed description).Are the ADT Dealers Selling Pulse?You may also remember from my prior post on Pulse that the [...]
ADT Pulse Cost and Pulse Reviews – Do the ADT Authorized Dealers Sell Pulse? | Home Security Blog
March 10, 2011 at 9:14 PM
[...] of the monthly charge. That’s how the Dealers make their money. ADT then takes over the accounts (here’s a link to a more detailed description).Are the ADT Dealers Selling Pulse?You may also remember from my prior post on Pulse that the [...]
ADT Security Loses Another Authorized Dealer after Absorbing Brink’s/Broadview | Home Security Blog
March 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM
[...] every day that the #1 company in an industry buys #2. And as you may remember from my post on the ADT Authorized Dealer program, ADT depends on its nationwide network of dealers to create roughly 300,000 new residential [...]
ADT Security Loses Another Authorized Dealer after Absorbing Brink’s/Broadview | Home Security Blog
March 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM
[...] every day that the #1 company in an industry buys #2. And as you may remember from my post on the ADT Authorized Dealer program, ADT depends on its nationwide network of dealers to create roughly 300,000 new residential [...]
ADT Authorized Dealer Scam in Kansas City – Sounds just like One of Those Pushy Door Knockers | Home Security Blog
June 30, 2011 at 9:25 PM
[...] case your house (watch for a future post on that scam!), and the other is today’s topic: even an ADT Authorized Dealer can go “over the top” in trying to sign up new customers. In this report from KMBC in Kansas [...]
ADT Authorized Dealer Scam in Kansas City – Sounds just like One of Those Pushy Door Knockers | Home Security Blog
June 30, 2011 at 9:25 PM
[...] case your house (watch for a future post on that scam!), and the other is today’s topic: even an ADT Authorized Dealer can go “over the top” in trying to sign up new customers. In this report from KMBC in Kansas [...]
Top 7 Reasons Why FrontPoint is Better than ADT | Home Security Blog
July 13, 2011 at 2:45 PM
[...] not five stars. ADT Dealer Program. One of the most confusing things about ADT is their Authorized Dealer program. It’s hard to tell who’s who, and believe it or not, about half of the ADT home alarms in the [...]
Top 7 Reasons Why FrontPoint is Better than ADT | Home Security Blog
July 13, 2011 at 2:45 PM
[...] not five stars. ADT Dealer Program. One of the most confusing things about ADT is their Authorized Dealer program. It’s hard to tell who’s who, and believe it or not, about half of the ADT home alarms in the [...]
RAUL CARLOS
November 16, 2012 at 3:47 AM
Have you heard any horror stories from dealers who have signed up with ADT and have had a bad experieince? I am in the process of becoming and ADT dealer but would like to know what happens when things go down the wrong way on the tracks.
Peter M. Rogers
November 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Raul - Thanks for your question, and it's a particularly good one. I have known many ADT authorized dealers over the years - including a number who are still in the program. The reviews are mixed: ADT's program has gone through a number of evolutions, with changes in the terms and the general requirements, and this has often been the cause of significant frustration for some of the dealers. Perhaps the single most important thing to know is that ADT has a reputation for being inflexible, to the point of being rigid: it's generally thought to be "their way or the highway," in the dealer program. So, you may want to make sure you read everything very carefully up front, and not put faith in the idea that if things do go awry, you might be able to work it out with them later. They spend more on lawyers than you do! One thing that can be a concern: it's usually expected that you will guarantee that any accounts you sell them will remain in good standing for one year, or ADT reserves the right to charge you back for what they paid for any accounts that do not make it that long. If there are service problems caused by ADT (ADT generally takes over the service on these accounts 30 days after installation) that cause a cancellation, that's should not be your fault - but you are still responsible for that account. This could have changed, but I think it still works that way: worth checking out and asking the question. Good luck, and thanks again for your question.
RAUL CARLOS
November 16, 2012 at 3:47 AM
Have you heard any horror stories from dealers who have signed up with ADT and have had a bad experieince? I am in the process of becoming and ADT dealer but would like to know what happens when things go down the wrong way on the tracks.
Peter M. Rogers
November 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Raul - Thanks for your question, and it's a particularly good one. I have known many ADT authorized dealers over the years - including a number who are still in the program. The reviews are mixed: ADT's program has gone through a number of evolutions, with changes in the terms and the general requirements, and this has often been the cause of significant frustration for some of the dealers. Perhaps the single most important thing to know is that ADT has a reputation for being inflexible, to the point of being rigid: it's generally thought to be "their way or the highway," in the dealer program. So, you may want to make sure you read everything very carefully up front, and not put faith in the idea that if things do go awry, you might be able to work it out with them later. They spend more on lawyers than you do! One thing that can be a concern: it's usually expected that you will guarantee that any accounts you sell them will remain in good standing for one year, or ADT reserves the right to charge you back for what they paid for any accounts that do not make it that long. If there are service problems caused by ADT (ADT generally takes over the service on these accounts 30 days after installation) that cause a cancellation, that's should not be your fault - but you are still responsible for that account. This could have changed, but I think it still works that way: worth checking out and asking the question. Good luck, and thanks again for your question.
Derek Carr
September 18, 2014 at 12:20 AM
Do you know what type of commission ADT dealers get for per account, or how much they buy it for? In addition, is it an outright sale or is there a revenue share component involved in the commission?
Derek Carr
September 18, 2014 at 12:20 AM
Do you know what type of commission ADT dealers get for per account, or how much they buy it for? In addition, is it an outright sale or is there a revenue share component involved in the commission?
Peter M. Rogers
September 18, 2014 at 5:29 PM
Derek - Thanks, and these are good questions. To get the latest information on the ADT dealer program, you will need to contact ADT directly - or perhaps one of their other dealers could fill you in. In dealer programs generally there are several variables that may come into play in determining the commission per account: the credit score of the subscriber; the up front payment (i.e. the amount of equipment the subscriber buys); the type of services the subscriber orders; the length of initial contract agreement; and how many accounts you are regularly selling to ADT (or whomever). It's a very competitive landscape for dealers out there, with some of ADT's competitors putting upward pressure on the purchase price for an account. And there is plenty of competition for good dealers among the major companies that have dealer programs.
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