BBB Teams with ADT and Trade Associations to Help Consumers Fight Deceptive Door-to-Door Alarm Sales

  
     
May 09, 2017

As summer selling season kicks off, news conference features victims and tips on stopping fraud at the front door

Sacramento, CA – With thousands of consumers victimized by fraudulent door-to-door home security sales every summer, the Better Business Bureau is sounding the alarm about deceptive tactics.

Reaching a national audience today from Sacramento, BBB, local victims and leaders of two security industry associations joined forces to alert consumers, along with ADT, a leading home security company, BBB Accredited Business and National Partner.

“Consumers should feel safe wherever they are,” said Mary E. Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “When a con takes advantage of people, literally at their front door, it poses a significant challenge. We appreciate the industry taking a lead on helping BBB address these deceptive sales tactics.”

BBB was represented today at the Sacramento event by Lynn Conner, interim CEO of BBB serving Northeast California, who echoed Power’s thoughts: “We hope our outreach will educate consumers on what to do when they encounter someone using deceptive sales tactics at their front door.”

In 2016, over a half million consumers across North America used BBB resources to research information about home security companies. But thousands also complained about dishonest and misleading sales pitches.

Speaking out today was victim Marie Marshall. The 86-year-old was deceived into switching her ADT service to another company which the salesman falsely claimed was affiliated with ADT. Marshall is now in a 60-month contract with that company, paying a higher monthly rate.

“By the time I realized I had signed with another company, it was too late,” said Marshall. “I am very disappointed that I got duped into doing business with a company that practices deceptive sales.”

BBB shared tips for consumers who are considering a home security system (bbb.org/homesecurity), and also released advice to potential employees who are being recruited to spend their summers knocking on doors (bbb.org/alarmsales).

“We urge those who are selling security systems to abide by the BBB Standards for Trust,” said Conner. “Tell the truth, honor promises, and embody integrity.”

 Quotes from Other Speakers:

Jay Hauhn, Executive Director and CEO, The Monitoring Association

“We are in the life-safety business where credibility is incredibly important. So, it pains me, greatly, to hear about how a few unscrupulous sales reps are giving a black eye to an entire industry that I dearly love.”

“Cleaning up our industry is job one. We’re making progress and getting our messages out. Some companies like ADT and Protection One are leading the way by fighting deceptive sales through legal action in a court of law and through PR opportunities in a court of public opinion.”

Merlin Guilbeau, Executive Director and CEO, Electronic Security Association

“The ESA Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct are our industry’s stake in the ground. It says that you cannot be a member of our association if your company engages in deceptive, misleading, unlawful or unethical business practices.”

“It is our expectation that ESA members will take this code seriously and continually make it part of their company’s culture and way of doing business. It is also our expectation that if there is a failure other ESA members and consumers will take the appropriate steps by following the process outlined in the code and file a complaint so that ESA may take appropriate action.”

“Let’s be clear…we are NOT ‘knocking’ door-knocking. Door-to-door selling is a very effective tool, practiced for decades in our industry. But it needs to be practiced the right way, with honesty and integrity.”


ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.