Tips for Purchasing an Alarm System From Your Doorstep

Warm summer months tend to bring out sunscreen, swimsuits and home security salespeople. While the majority of these salespeople are from credible alarm companies, a few bad apples can unfairly taint the entire summer sales workforce.

Many reputable companies, some of which are members of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), employ a door-to-door sales staff to reach out to new customers. To help consumers spot home security scams and make informed decisions when purchasing an alarm system from their doorsteps, ESA provides these tips.

Only do business with credible companies. Ask the salesperson if the company he or she works for is an ESA member company. ESA member companies are trusted within the electronic security industry to provide high quality products and services to the public. ESA member companies are governed by a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct that reinforces their commitment to conducting business in an ethical manner. Members and their sales representatives must adhere to the following rules or risk having their membership terminated:

  • Representatives of member companies must accurately and clearly identify themselves, their company and purpose of solicitation before conducting a sales presentation.

  • Representatives will be appropriately licensed and registered in compliance with all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations.

  • Representatives will immediately discontinue a sales presentation and leave the premises upon the request of a consumer.

  • Representatives will not engage in deceptive, misleading, unlawful or unethical businesses practices.

Ask for identification before allowing someone in your home. Some state laws require salespeople to identify themselves, their company and the product or services they are selling before asking you any questions or making any statements, while other states only require salespeople to carry the information on their person. Regardless of what your state requires, always ask for the salesperson for their name, company and licenses. Do not accept general statements such as from “the security company” or “your alarm company.”

Also, be cautious of individuals who claim that they need to update or replace your security system because your alarm provider has gone out of business and their company has inherited your account. This is just one of many common scams that fool homeowners into unknowingly upgrading their systems or modifying their contracts. To avoid becoming a victim, call your alarm company to verify his or her claim before making any new equipment or contract commitments. 

Take time to read through the contract before signing anything. Beware of a salesperson who insists that you sign a contract immediately. A professional salesperson will take time to answer your questions and clarify information. Read each word of the contract and understand exactly what you are signing. Make sure you get, in writing, your monthly rate, the length of your contract and any other fees you will incur from this product or service. You should be confident in the company and your decision. Take a few days to look over the contract and compare quotes with other security companies to make sure you are getting the best price.

If you purchased an alarm system from a door-to-door salesperson and later feel you have been deceived, you may be eligible for a refund. Under the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Cooling-Off Rule, you can void your contract and get a full refund if you contact the company within three days of the sale. Click here to find out more about the Cooling-Off Rule.

If four or more days have passed since the date of purchase, you should file formal complaints, first with the attorney general in your state, then with the FTC and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). By filing formal complaints, you may be able to resolve your issue with the company. At the very least, your complaints will be kept on file and will be brought up when other consumers inquire about the company.

Don’t let the fear of being misled keep you from protecting your family and belongings. Click here to find an ESA member company that can help you get an alarm system that meets your needs and stays within your budget. 


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