Door Knocking - Tips For Customers
May 4, 2011 - Door knocking - or door-to-door sales - is a technique being used more frequently by many companies, including alarm companies. While it can be a positive way to reach out to and share security information with a community, the Better Business Bureau (and SecurTek) has received complaints of high pressure sales tactics used by these companies. The Better Business Bureau warns customers to be cautious and informed when answering the door to alarm system salespeople.
The BBB received more than 3,000 complaints against burglar alarm companies in 2009, a 68% increase over the previous year. Some of the situations they cite include customers being convinced that their current monitoring company was going out of business. The door-to-door sales person advised the customer that he was there to install an upgraded system so that the company he was representing could take over the monitoring service once they signed a new contract. Some customers had their systems replaced and signed a new contract only to realize that their original security monitoring company had not gone out of business, and they were now paying two monitoring contracts.
In an effort to help keep our customers informed, SecurTek has compiled some useful tips to lend a hand if approached by door-to-door security sales people:
- Always do research before purchasing any products or services.
- Deal only with reputable companies. You can check out the company at the Better Business Bureau's Web site, www.bbb.org.
- Don't be pressured into buying something you don't want or need. A reputable company will let you check out the offer and compare bids from several installers.
- Make sure you get the name of the sales person, the name of the company they are representing and their contact information (address, phone number, email address).
- Some companies will offer a "free" alarm system. While the equipment and installation may be free (make sure this is in writing), there is a monthly monitoring fee. Make sure you compare all the costs.
- If you do sign up for service, ask who will be providing any service or maintenance for your system and where the company is located. Write this information down.
- Find out about local building codes and regulations regarding burglar alarms, including costs for false alarms in your community.
- Check out the company that will be monitoring your system. Ask if it is the same company you are signing a contract with. If not, make sure you obtain the name, address and phone number of this company.
- Consider advantages and disadvantages of each system and decide which will be best for your particular situation.
- Ensure the contract includes all promises made by the salesperson. If the promises are not in the contract, do not sign it.
- Study the contract carefully before signing it.
- If you are planning on moving, ask what happens with your contract, and get that information in writing from the salesperson.
- After your purchase, make sure you check the system routinely to be sure it is in working order.
- If you are having problems with your alarm, make sure you document dates, times, who you talked with, who came out and what was fixed.
In March, the Electronic Security Association adopted stricter policies aimed at improving ethical conduct for members and enhancing service to consumers. The new policies include:
- Enhanced identification: Sales representatives must carry photo ID cards and clearly state who they work for when making a sales call. All of SecurTek’s Authorized Dealers and their representatives have photo ID.
- More respect for consumers: When requested by a consumer, a sales representative shall immediately discontinue a presentation and leave the premises.
- False accusations about competition not permitted: Sales representatives may not make any false statements about competing organizations.
- Improved customer contract requirements: Written materials, which clearly and conspicuously disclose all terms and conditions, must be presented to customers when closing the sale.
- Better refund policies: Prior to the sale of any product or service, sales representatives must disclose all termination fees and must honor all refunds in accordance with their company's policies.
- If you have any questions or would like to voice your concerns about door-to-door sales in your area, contact SecurTek at 1-877-777-7590.