Around Acadiana, many homeowners seek to secure their homes, families and belongings with a home security system, also called a “burglar alarm.” Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana regularly receives phone calls and complaints from consumers about unethical security system companies sending salesmen door-to-door attempting to get them to switch their alarm service. These unethical salesmen often falsely claim to be their current provider offering an “upgrade,” but actually is a new contract.
Some of these companies have even falsely claimed that the consumer’s current alarm service is out of business or was sold to the door-to-door salesperson’s business.
BBB offers the following tips to ensure the home security company protecting your family and home is credible:
- Start with Trust®. Always check with BBB at bbb.org before doing business.
- Choose a reputable business. The best home security system will accommodate your lifestyle and specific valuables you want protected. Carefully consider your security requirements and budget. You may also get recommendations from your homeowners or renters insurance carrier. Deal only with reputable firms and check out the company with BBB 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 runs a criminal background check on employees prior to hiring. You can also look up companies on the websites of the Electronic Security Association (esaweb.org) and the Canadian Security Association (canasa.org) to make sure they have pledged to uphold industry standards.
- Ask about all charges up front. Prices for home security systems will vary based on the level of protection and type of technology used. Be sure to compare bids on similar systems. Do not forget to factor in the initial installation charge, as well as monthly monitoring fees. Also, talk to your insurance agent; some systems may qualify you for a discount on homeowners’ premiums.
- Know the ins and outs of your contract. If your alarm system will be monitored, find out the length of the contract. Typically, monitoring contracts are two to five years in length. What is your recourse if you are not satisfied with the services provided? Can you cancel the contract? What are your rights if your monitoring company is purchased or acquired by another alarm company? These are the types of questions you need to consider before you obligate yourself to a long-term contract.
Here are some “red flags” to alert consumers to unethical security system sales and business practices:
- High pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give you time to think through the deal and will make an appointment to return at a later date. Do not give in to high-pressure sales tactics; take the time to do your research and make an informed decision.
- Deals that sound too good to be true. Some sellers might offer an extremely good price for their products or services. The adage holds true that you get what you pay for and many people have been quickly disappointed when the products didn’t live up to the hype or the company did a shoddy job.
- Lack of company identification. Any legitimate salesperson will be able to provide you with positive identification for both themselves and their company. Beware of sellers who don’t appear to have ties to the community. Itinerant workers often enter and exit an area quickly and may not deliver everything promised.
“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
Please contact Better Business Bureau at bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.