Twice a week the paper I subscribe too has flyers from different companies with their “FREE Offers” . Perhaps you have seen them. Some of them are from companies offering a “FREE Security system in large print”. In fact do an internet search for a similar term.
- Your Free $2000 Valued Security System Includes: 24/7 Monitoring
- Special Internet Offer - FREE Security System for….
- Get one of our free home security systems for your home. Sign up for alarm monitoring and get a GE Simon home alarm at no cost
Enticing isn’t it. You want to protect your home, your family and your stuff. So getting a FREE security system is a great deal. What could possibly be wrong with this fabulous offer?
*What’s wrong with this is, while you’re busy panting over the ”FREE” headlines and thinking about the money you’re saving by going with that “FREE” offer , those security companies baiting you with, you are not looking at the fine print at the bottom of the advertisement. What you may not have notice is that those alarm companies are hoping to get you one the hook for a 36 month monitoring agreement that guarantees these companies anywhere from $1,000 to over $2,000 from you over the course of the agreement – and often more. Here is the calculation. The cost can range from $30 a month to $60 a month. Often the sales person can offer you additional product and services. In addition to that, the FREE offer may not include the $200-$300 installation fee.
So what happen if you get this service because the sales person gives you all kinds of verbal guarantees, and get you to sign the 3 year contract, then to you horror you find out what a crook of ##i# there service or equipment is. You will find our they live by the first Ferengi Rule of Acquisition. This money is theirs and you are NOT getting it back. You may decide to go with a different company only to find out that they do allow you to “buy out” of the contract for some kind of percentage of the remaining monitoring fees. You are stuck.
This isn’t the case with all companies, I switched from my old security to a better one and my new company paid out my old contract, and provided me with better equipment. Both companies are great companies, based on research. However, the new one came with some better perks. There are some of those advertisements from reputable companies, I can only stress to DO YOUR RESEARCH, but keep in mind that even good companies can have a few bad reviews.
Remember this about home or business security systems; you are investing in a piece of equipment that you are depending on to protect your property, valuables and your family. You want to go with reputable security company. If you get a system make sure that the company guarantees their equipment. If you’re unsure about your equipment or security system integrity – be sure to call or contact a security system expert to check out your system.
The bottom line is this – check the fine print- and ask as many questions as possible before you grab that great “FREE” or “REDUCED PRICE” deal. Ask questions about contract length (if any contract is required – some companies do not require a contract), installation charges, maintenance charges, warranties, activation fees, re-activation fees, moving charges and any other hidden charges that may arise. The best way to evaluate a security company is to ask someone who has one. Drive around your neighborhood and see how many of your neighbors have one, ask four or five of them about their systems.
How to select a system
- Consult with a reputable home security system adviser, not a sales person
- Choose a system with a control panel that can monitor all the zones you have in your home. Each window or door integrated into the system is considered a zone. A basic system is capable of controlling eight zones. However, many panels permit the addition of expansion modules that allow the system to watch up to 32 zones.
- Determine if the routing of the wires for a hard-wired security system might be too long. With a wired system, you will have to drill holes in walls where wires will have to be routed. If the wire run appears too long to you, choose a wireless system.
- Make certain that a wireless system can perform up to the distance of the farthest zone.
- Be certain that the system you choose can accept fire-protection sensors, carbon monoxide sensors and combustible-gas detectors, anti-freeze-up low-temperature switches (especially in cold climates) and water detectors. Make sure that panic buttons are or can be included.
- Choose a system that is user-friendly. Make certain that inputting codes into the keypad is not a complicated process and is one that everyone in the family can learn quickly. You don’t want to have to refer to the owner’s manual as you input or try to interpret codes.
- Work the keypad of the system you select to assure yourself that it is easy to use. Encourage all family members to work the keypad so that you will select one that everyone can use comfortably.
- If the company offers a cellular dial out, select that one, as thieves have been known to cutting phone lines to prevent alarm systems from dialing out.
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