Protect yourself from door-to-door alarm system scams

Published: May. 28, 2014 at 6:32 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Alarm Association

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

The Mississippi Alarm Association is aware of summer sales because may reputable companies employ a door-to-door workforce to reach out to new customers. So in order to help consumers make a decision about whether or not to buy an alarm system this summer, the Mississippi Alarm Association offers the following advice:

Only do business with credible companies. Ask the salesperson if the company they work for is a Mississippi Alarm Association member company. Companies that are members of the Mississippi Alarm Association are trusted within the electronic security industry. In an effort to provide consumers with products and services in a highly ethical manner, members companies are governed by a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. Members and their sales representatives must adhere to the following rules or risk having their membership terminated:

  • Representatives must accurately and clearly identify themselves, their company and purpose of solicitation before conducting a sale 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 business practices.

Ask for identification before allowing someone in you home. Some state laws require sales people 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 the sales person for their name, company and licenses. Do not accept general statements such as from "the security company" or "your alarm company."

Take time to read through the contract before signing anything. Beware of a salesperson who insists that you sign a contract immediately. A professional sales person 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 sales person and later feel you have been deceived, you may be eligible for a refund. Under the FTC's Cooling-Off Rule, you can void your contract and get a full refund if you contact the company within three days of the sale.

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 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau. 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 from a home invasion. Work with a Mississippi Alarm Association member company to help ensure you get an alarm system that meets your needs and stays within your budget.