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Alarm System Complaints

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There are 5 top complaints that people have about their home security systems.

Auto Renew of my Home Security Monitoring Contract

The top complaint is that the alarm contract automatically renews at the end of the contract. So when you think you are about to be free to choose another alarm company you are unpleasantly surprised by another 1 year contract or more. To be fair the contract does clearly state this BUT you can be sure that the salesperson that signed you up made little or no mention of this clause in the contract. You do have the right to request that your contract does not auto renew. Typically you must request in writing to your monitoring company that you wish to cancel the contract at the end of the term. It is best to mark your calendar or setup some kind of reminder to make sure that you cancel the contract at the correct time. Even if this date is years in the future.

Police department takes too long to show up

The next alarm system complaint is that the alarm was triggered and the police took an hour to show up. If you alarm is triggered the police are dispatched in a timely manner but your alarm system installation company or monitoring service has no control over the police response time. Frankly with false alarms from alarm systems it is likely that these types of calls are taking less of a priority in most cities. Not to mention police force cutbacks have less police on the street to respond to these lower priority calls.

Free home security is not free

The next biggest complaint is when people buy a so-called free alarm system if you’re familiar with these ads they will say call us for free alarm system and pay only $99 activation fee. This is actually true if you want to bare-bones security system. Most of the systems are comprised of the control panel which is usually a standalone panel and typically three door or window contacts and one motion sensor. Though I can’t say that a basic alarm system isn’t a bit better than no alarm I will say that a bare-bones system will not completely protect your home. You will need all Windows and all doors with a contact on them and at least one motion sensor, if not more depending on the layout of  your house so free means a basic system and that may be adequate for your needs and you can always expand on it later but basically the free system is to get you to allow them in your home and sell you a system and it seems more times than not that the primary function is to get a contract signed for monitoring and less about making sure that you and your family is protected. Most salespeople will just try to get you the basics. Frankly they are not really paid much of a higher commission on selling anything other than the initial contract so you must be careful when you’re talking to someone about a free alarm system.

I own my home alarm system but no one else can monitor it

The fifth biggest complaint and many people don’t even realize that this is a potential problem until you try to change monitoring companies but your alarm company will come in and sell you a system without ever lying to you but they will not give you full disclosure. The contract does disclose everything but most people do not read the contract and you are still liable for fulfilling the contract.

There are two options when you buy your system, The first option is that you can lease your system as long as you’re continuing to pay the monthly fees for to be monitored then the security system is yours. Once you cancel you’ll either have the right to buy it out or in some cases the company will just stop monitoring you and they’ll come back to get their equipment that you may have paid for years and years and years and never actually owned  your security system.

The second option is where you actually purchase the system. You own the system outright even after the monitoring contract is fulfilled. You can also purchase an alarm system and not have it monitored. The installation company will probably charge you more if you do not purchase the monitoring because some of their profit is built into the monitoring of the system. You must be careful to purchase a system that is a proprietary system. A proprietary system means that the only company that can monitor it is the one that installed it. You need to ask the right questions before you sign a contract because you don’t want to be stuck with a system that can only be monitored by one company.

When an installer programs your system there are 3 types of access codes. There is an installer code, a master code and multiple user codes. The installer code allows the installer to customize the program to work with your home. The master code is assigned to you and allows you to make basic user changes including the modification of the other user codes. If you do not know the installer code then it makes it difficult if not impossible for a new company to come in and reprogram your system. This would mean that you either need to continue to use your current company or have an entire new system installed.

My Alarm went off but nobody called me

One of the top five complaints is when people’s alarm systems have been triggered but they never received call. There are several reasons why this may be an excused situation. One reason is that your alarm system is setup with an automatic delay built into the system so that it alleviates too many false alarms. If you accidentally trip your alarm the system will start ringing locally but the dialer has a built-in delay. So if you trip the system yourself and immediately usually within 20 or 30 seconds into your code the system will not dial central station. Another reason for no one calling you could potentially be that you have not updated your emergency call list. When you first get your alarm system you make up a list of usually 3 to 5 emergency contacts along with phone numbers for each of those contacts. If you change your phone number and don’t update your emergency contact list they may have called you but you didn’t respond. If you ever have an alarm go off and you expect that you should have been called then you need to as soon as possible contact the monitoring station and give them the time and the zone that went into alarm and ask what their log shows and ask why you were not contacted. The of center station monitoring can login to your account and see what steps were taken when they receive the alarm. They can also tell you if they actually receive the alarm. If you call central station monitoring and they never received an alarm then you should immediately put your system in test and then test your alarm system for all zones.

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