TOPEKA, Kan., July 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Protection One, one of the largest commercial and residential security service providers in the United States, is spreading the word about misleading sales tactics used against consumers by some unscrupulous alarm companies.
These tactics can cause damage to an existing security system or result in financial loss for the consumer. Some alarm companies seeking new customers will tell homeowners their current provider isn't monitoring their system, has outdated equipment or has gone out of business. The companies then offer to take over a customer's service under a new contract or to make adjustments to the customer's alarm equipment.
These tactics also can cause some customers to receive an additional bill for security services from a second company. Customers often are told that all they have to do to switch service is sign a new monitoring contract. They're rarely told that, in order to switch, they may have to pay off the balance of their current contract per the terms of that contract or pay to replace security equipment owned by the current alarm provider that has been removed without authorization.
Protection One urges all monitored security customers to be on the lookout for:
* Security system sales representatives who make fraudulent and illegal claims in order to force a customer into an on-the-spot decision regarding the customer's security system;
* Representatives from security companies who tell customers their current provider is no longer in business, has been sold or merged, may no longer service the area or their equipment; or
* Alarm representatives who ask customers to sign new contracts in exchange for upgraded equipment or to renew old contracts but who can not demonstrate they are authorized representatives of the customer's current provider.
* Protection One also suggests these tips:
* Be skeptical of those who pretend to know details only you and your alarm company could know.
* Ask questions. Will the new company replace all the equipment or compensate the current alarm company for the cost of the equipment? Does the new company monitor alarms 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Does the new company provide its own monitoring or use a third-party to monitor your alarm?
* If you're concerned about your monitoring, call your alarm company and test your system. (Systems should be tested at least monthly.)
* Before you sign a new monitoring contract, call your current provider to make sure you understand the terms of your current agreement with that company.
* Don't feel pressured to make an on-the-spot decision. A legitimate company will give you an opportunity to consider its offer.
"Providing security services is not something we take lightly, and we are concerned these tactics threaten our customers' peace of mind and are a disservice to our industry. To help do our part and to protect our customers, we will continue to pursue legal action against those who intentionally deceive our customers and seek to obtain our customers' business and money through such fraudulent tactics," said Richard Ginsburg, Protection One's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We regret any inconvenience or concern that may be caused by these confusing tactics used by a handful of unscrupulous security companies. We also believe it's important to help all consumers recognize these deceitful practices."
Protection One provides intrusion, heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detection equipment and related services to more than one million homes and businesses in the United States and is a leading security provider to the multifamily housing market through Network Multifamily. For a free "Guide to Keeping Your Family and Home Safe and Secure," contact a Protection One branch near you. For a list of branch locations and contact information, visit http://www.ProtectionOne.com and click on the Get Local link or call 1-800-GET-HELP