Door-to-door home security sales agents may use high-pressure or deceptive methods in locking homeowners into unethical contracts.
Dallas, TX -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/03/2014 -- Fortress Security, a security and monitoring provider in Texas, warns residents to be wary of door-to-door solicitors engaging in home security systems scams, particular strategies aimed at those who already have service in place. Jerrod Smith, founder and owner of Fortress Security, urges consumers to do sufficient research and be aware of common deceptive practices.
“We’ve heard of agents claiming a particular company ‘asked us to come by and just simply upgrade your system since it’s old – free of charge,’” said Smith. “Our customers have been told, ‘Fortress Security has gone out of business and we are here to transfer your service over to us.’”
When accepting a supposed upgrade without carefully reading the new contract, a homeowner may not immediately realize they are agreeing to concurrent service, or even that they are signing on with a completely new company. While many consumers are aware of the importance of diligent research, clever sales agents add incentives to speed the process along by claiming they offer savings only available by signing the agreement on the spot.
“Never sign a contract with a door-to-door salesperson without contacting your existing alarm company first,” said Smith. “The famous high-pressure door-to-door close of ‘this deal is only good if you sign up with me RIGHT NOW’ is usually bogus.”
After reports of this type of activity in the state, the Texas Attorney General’s office issued a list of consumer precautions last year:
- Ask for identification. Door-to-door sellers of alarm systems must be registered with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Private Security Board and are required to carry and present a DPS issued “pocket” identification registration which will include the salesperson’s photo, company name and address.
- Protect personal information. Texans should not provide the door-to-door salesperson with personal information about themselves or family members and should not describe their security system or acknowledge the existence – or nonexistence – of a security system.
- Texans should call their current security system provider’s customer service number to verify whether they sent a representative to their home.
- Don’t be pressured into making a quick decision. Some door-to-door salespeople may be aggressive and claim that Texans “must-act-now” to qualify for “free” equipment or a big discount. Instead, homeowners should check with their security system provider before making any immediate purchases or upgrades or signing any paperwork.
- Before signing anything, Texans should do their homework. Check the DPS website to confirm the company is licensed and take the time to check references. Get bids from at least two licensed companies and consider different security system options before making a decision.
- Texans should spread the word and warn their neighbors, friends and family in the area about the door-to-door salesperson if they believe it is a scam – and report their experience to local law enforcement. For safety reasons, many counties and cities require door-to-door sellers to register before they go door-to-door.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the company.
- Texans have the right to cancel. Under Texas law, a door-to-door seller must advise both orally and in writing of the right to cancel the sale within three business days. The door-to-door seller must also provide a contract or receipt stating the date of the sale, the name and address of the merchant, and a statement of the consumer’s right to cancel the contract, which includes the address where the purchaser can send a cancellation notice. Texans should not sign a contract that contains any blanks or is undated and should always keep a copy of anything they do sign or initial.
While these tactics are used by unethical service providers, not every company that sells door-to-door is manipulative. However, Smith encourages strong skepticism and careful reading of contracts to avoid falling victim to fraudulent strategies.
“If a resident reads the contract, and they like the deal and the salesperson, they may not have a problem,” Smith said. “But a rushed decision is not ideal and some of our customers say they prefer not to do business with agents who knock on their door during dinner or family time in the evenings.”
About Fortress Security
Founded in 2001 in Arlington, TX, Fortress Security provides customizable business and home security systems, automation programs, and monitoring services for crime, fire, and medical emergencies. With 17 years of experience in the security industry, owner Jerrod Smith has led his company to earn the Honeywell Dealer Council of Excellence and ITI/GE Americas Dealer Excellence Award.
For more information, visit http://www.fortresssecurity.com/HomeSecurityScams