Better Business Bureau for the Region and Greater West Virginia Cantons provides tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.
Millions of homeowners try to secure their homes, families, and belongings with a home security system (often called a burglar alarm). Better Business Bureau has received numerous inquiries from individuals dealing with security systems companies.
BBB has also received many complaints from consumers about less ethical companies trying to get them to switch their alarm service. This is often done by a door-to-door salesperson claiming to be the consumer’s current provider offering an “upgrade” or by saying that their current alarm service is out of order or has been sent to the door-to-door -Seller sold.
Tips for Choosing a Credible Company
• Choose a reputable company. The best security system for your home does justice to the lifestyle and the values to be protected. Carefully consider the security requirements and budget. Consider recommendations from your homeowner’s insurance agency or your tenant’s insurance company. Only trade with reputable companies and check the company out with BBB.org first.
• Contact at least three companies before making a selection. Find out if they are properly licensed in your jurisdiction and ask if the company does a criminal background check of employees prior to hiring. You can also search the Electronic Security Association (esaweb.org) for companies to ensure they are committed to industry standards.
• Inquire about all fees in advance. The prices for home security systems vary depending on the level of protection and the type of technology used. Compare quotes for similar systems and remember to consider the initial installation fee as well as monthly monitoring fees. Check with your insurance agent as some schemes may offer a discount on home insurance premiums.
• Know the specifics of the contract. If the alarm system is monitored, either by the installing company or by a third-party monitoring center, find out about the duration of the contract. What recourse claims do you have if you are not satisfied with the services provided? Can you terminate the contract? What rights do you have if your surveillance company is bought or taken over by another alerting company? These are the types of questions you need to consider before committing to a long term contract.
Look out for those red flags
• Sales tactics under high pressure. A reputable seller will give you time to think the deal through and schedule an appointment to return it later. Don’t give in to sales tactics under high pressure; Take the time to do your research and make an informed decision.
• Offers that sound too good to be true. Some sellers may offer an extremely good price for their product or service. The saying goes, you get what you pay for, and a lot of people were quickly disappointed when the products didn’t live up to the hype or the company did a bad job.
• Missing company identification. Any legitimate seller can positively identify you for both themselves and their business. Beware of sellers who don’t seem to have any connections with the community. Migrant workers often enter and leave an area quickly and may not deliver what is promised.
• Bad BBB rating. Always check with BBB first for a company’s review, how it handled complaints, customer ratings and other information available on the BBB Company Profile.
FOR MORE INFORMATIONS – What if you change your mind after the sale? The Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling off” rule is three days for doorstep selling. For more information about these federal doorstep selling laws, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/buyers-remorse-ftcs-cooling-rule-may-help. Find qualified and BBB accredited security systems near you by searching at www.bbb.org/near-me/security-systems.
FOR BBB INFORMATION – Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to search for a company, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, find our events, follow us on social media and much more!