Buyer Beware

So this article is going to take a different tone. I recently had an interaction with a customer which, today, is pretty typical of the type of competition that we’re facing in the world of security. Now, I want to make clear that we don’t consider the type that was outlined in the interaction as competition. Hopefully I can explain why here.

What we have in this world of Home Security is the perception that all alarm systems are created equal. We have big corporations capitalizing on the politics of fear to sell you inferior products simply based on their cost with no regard for their functionality. They tell you free, they charge you an obscene amount of money a month to do essentially nothing and then blame you whenever there is an issue.

Security is an industry that is built around honesty, integrity, and ethical conduct. The companies we’re seeing rise up into the industry at this time do not seem to care about any of these principles. Thus they are capable a selling products with the promise of ongoing monthly bills and a forced lock-in for a yet-to-be-determined length of time.

To them I say, not everyone requires the full-blown totally geared up alarm system. Everyone who is experienced in this industry knows that.

The basic systems that are installed free of charge are not, actually, free of charge and have become even more bare bones than they previously were. Two door contacts does not a secure residence make, and with all additional devices either driving up your already high monthly cost or causing additional install charges, I’m not sure where the sale ends and the scam begins.

Professional Security providers and dealers focus more on your needs then on your wants. We don’t upsell you on devices or services that don’t make sense for the needs that you have. That doesn’t mean we don’t have those products, it means that we recognize the gaps in your home that need to be filled and we fill them. Once that is done we allow you to decide what devices and what services you believe you would find a use for.

I actually had a conversation with a young woman who signed up for an alarm contract where, as a bonus, she received a free electronic lock that could connect to the alarm panel that she had. This sounds like a great deal on the surface. I’m going to tell you why it’s not.

First of all this young woman lives in a townhouse which is managed by a property management company. This townhouse complex uses a set of keys on what is called a Master System. The property management company is capable of gaining entrance to the unit in the case of emergency or required service as long as they provide 24 hours notice before entering.

I want to be clear before going any further. There is absolutely no property management company that does not understand the need for individual security. If you for any reason believe that the Property Management Company maintaining your rental property is compromising your security in any way, approach your nearest law enforcement agency and see what your next steps are. That said there are reasonable expectations for property management companies when it comes to entrance and denial of entrance in a rental property. This principle reared its head with the bonus offer of this electronic lock.

See, the electronic lock that they provide was a different “keyway” then the rest of the townhouse complex. What this means is that the master key used to maintain the units was incompatible with the lock itself. Because of this the property management company refused to allow the lock to be installed on the door. Of course they did. Makes sense.

When this young woman called me to see if this issue could be fixed her first impression was that it was the property management company that was being unreasonable. After about an hour’s worth of conversation it became very clear that the sale that had been provided to her was not properly researched, the due diligence was not taken to be sure that her needs were being met, and that what was being done was actually not in her best interest. This was simply a salesperson who did not know anything about rental properties or Property Management improperly guiding a customer, or potential customer, to accept a deal that had no benefit to her whatsoever.

When I told her there was no way I could make that lock work satisfaction of her property management company and that that was no fault of the property management company itself, tune quickly changed from being happy with the deal she got to being extremely upset the company that had sold her the system.

I’m not sure how the situation was resolved. I heard from her twice more after the initial call, once to thank me for my help and once to reinstall the lock that had been replaced by the electronic lock she was now unable to use. Beyond that I know nothing of the resolution that was provided. It’s hard to imagine however that the resolution was satisfactory. After all, the selling company already had her locked into a two-year contract.

These are phone calls that we take every day. Unfortunately by the time we get these calls too late for us to do anything. Often at this point we simply have to wait for the contract to run out and then we can help more.

Security systems are not cell phones. They aren’t cable boxes. These are devices that are physically attached to your walls to your doors to your windows. They leave holes wireless or not when taken down or removed. They are proprietary especially when Wireless. Renting a system, or Leasing, or buying into a contract makes very little sense when for any reason that system could be removed from your home or from your property play based on a contract dispute. In fact, the fact that that lock give it to be provided at no cost tells me that very few people buy into this way of supplying security.

Free security, and free systems, are exactly what they appear to be. Pressure sales from pressure salesman who do not know their product and are relying on you to not know their system either. Service for these system is nearly impossible to get, and for 36 months you are bound to the monitoring company who may know little more about the system than you do.

Anyone and everyone who is considering the purchase of an alarm system, especially at this time of year, is more than welcome to call us for any advice they may want regarding the security they require in their home. We are never too busy to consult through email, our contact us section, or in our showroom to show you exactly what it is we provide and why it has lasted for four decades.

There is a reason we do not fear the larger corporations getting involved in this industry. And every day they solidify that they are not competition, simply an obstacle towards educating the public on how to protect themselves and their homes and their businesses from those who do not respect their property.

I told you the tone would be different for this one. We take this seriously. We wish everyone would take it more seriously. But if they won’t, we’re more than happy to point out their flaws. 

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