Consumer Business with Denisha Maxey
Hundreds of property owners search for ways to secure their homes, families and valuables. Property owners often decide to purchase a home security system, also known as a burglar alarm to keep the burglars out! Alarm companies receive several inquiries about their business. Consumers are using the BBB website to research ratings, complaints and consumer reviews on various alarm companies. We receive hundreds of complaints a year, in our office about alarm companies who use less than ethical sales practices to get consumers to sign up with their services. Alarm companies are known for using door to door sales, where sales representatives knock on consumer’s doors to solicit their business. Often deceptive sales practices are used to trick unsuspecting consumers into switching their service by making claims that their current alarm company is going out of business or posing as being a representative sent by their current provider to upgrade their system. Use these tips to feel secure when you decide to purchase service from an alarm company.
Always do your homework and visit BBBhou.org to research an alarm company. You can view important information about the company, such as ratings, customer reviews, and complaint history. You can also get a recommendation from your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance carrier. They are able to provide you with a list of companies their customers are currently using. Inquire if alarm companies perform background checks on employees. You want to feel secure when you allow their technician in your home to install the service. Always verify if a company is properly licensed by checking the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Private Security Program by visiting www.dps.texas.gov.
Get more than one quote before making a decision. You know what your security needs are and they are numerous options available. Maybe a basic alarm system will work for you or maybe you need an elaborate system that includes cameras you can monitor from a cellphones or other electronic device. Only you know what you are willing to spend, create a budget and stick with it. Contact several alarm companies and request quotes before making a purchase. Ask about any specials for installation you may be eligible for and what the monthly fee is for the service. Do not forget to factor in the discount you may get off of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for having a security system. Getting a discount may make the decision to purchase an alarm system more affordable.
Know your rights as a consumer, thoroughly read the contract and the alarm company’s policies. The contract and the policies will contain valuable information, such as if your system is monitored by a third party, if you are required to get an alarm permit, are you locked into a contract, any exclusions regarding cancellation, and if there are any penalties for early termination of your contract.
Purchasing an alarm system is an important decision, do not be pressured into signing up with a company you do not have any information about.
Denisha Maxey is director of dispute resolution at Houston Better Business Bureau.