Around this time of year our neighbourhood is infiltrated by pushy home alarm sales people.  Apparently not enough people purchase home alarm systems directly, so many security companies go with the old fashioned door-to-door sales approach.

Now I'm not a big fan of solicitation to begin with.  Calling me at home and interrupting my dinner isn't going to get your survey answered.  But telemarketers are just a minor nuisance compared with these shady home security companies and their door-to-door alarm sellers.

Home Alarm

It Starts With the Hiring Process

Home security companies rely on hiring post-secondary students to sell their alarm systems door-to-door in the summer time.  Every spring, thousands of University and College students are quickly trained and then deployed all across North America with the promise of a great work experience and quick cash.  It’s a perfect marriage between an opportunistic company with a short selling window and the money-hungry students looking for summer employment.

The students are quickly gathered together for a few weeks of, “don’t take no for an answer”, training and then sent into our neighbourhoods to try and convince us that we need their product.  The allure of huge commissions and a big screen TV bonus, combined with the companies’ tailored and targeted sales approach makes for a highly motivated and aggressive seller.

The Shady Sales Pitch

The sales approach is fairly similar for all door-to-door home security sellers.  They are well dressed and travel in pairs, and will typically approach your house on a weekday afternoon.  This is likely intentional to target seniors and stay-at-home mom's.  The sales pitch goes a little something like this:

We’re from XYZ Security and we’re trying to get our name out there in the community.  We’re looking for households to put our sign up on their lawn and in return we will install this home security equipment in your house for free.  Just don’t tell your neighbours about this deal, ok?

There’s been a few break-in's in your neighbourhood lately and we just want to make sure that your home is safe.  Can I come in and take a look at your windows?  Do you have kids?

We’ve taken over all the contracts from XYZ Security (your existing security company) and just need you to fill out some paperwork to transfer the service.

What are they Really Selling?

All of these shady tactics and high-pressure sales pitches are designed for one reason, to get you to agree to let the security company install their home alarm system in your house.  What isn’t discussed is that this alarm system isn’t really free, they are getting you to sign a multi-year contract where you agree to pay a monthly fee for the home monitoring system.

Before you even have a chance to think it over, a technician shows up and starts drilling through your walls to get the wiring set-up.  I guess they figure that you are less likely to change your mind if they’ve already put a hole through your house.

Who’s Protecting You from the Protector’s?

I have nothing against home security systems in general, but the fact that these companies only go door-to-door says a lot about the appeal of their product.  Their main focus is to extract the maximum amount of money out of as many customers as they can in as little time as possible.  It’s not about your protection and security.

These companies offer free entry-level equipment that may not last 5 years, and have numerous complaints in local Better Business Bureau’s about their sales tactics.  Their monthly rates are some of the highest in the industry.  Some don’t even have a license to sell door-to-door.  Is that who you want to do business with?

If you are really interested in a home alarm system to protect your house and your family then be proactive and shop around your local market.  You'd be surprised at the difference in price, customer service level, and installation quality.  Then you can take all of the time you need to make an informed decision about the products and service.

Readers, do you have a home alarm system?  How do you feel about these aggressive door-to-door sales tactics?