Consumer Alert - Is that knock on your door
Cause for Alarm?
The warmer weather signals the start of the
season when your home can be more vulnerable
to a break in.
Crime statistics indicate a traditional
spike in burglaries during the months of May
through September. Along with the rise in
crime comes an associated interest in home
security systems to help prevent burglaries.
Working to meet the demand and raise
awareness about the value of alarm systems,
security companies across the country use
the summer months and well-established
technique of going door to door to offer
home alarm systems and services. The
Electronic Security Association (ESA)
advises consumers what to look for in a
reputable alarm company.
"The vast majority of security salespeople
are honest, hardworking and abide by the ESA
Code of Ethics. Regrettably a small number
of dishonest individuals can negatively
influence public opinion about door-to-door
sales," said Merlin
ESA Executive Director.
"This time of year, consumer agencies such
as the Better Business Bureau and state
regulators report an uptick in the number of
complaints nationwide concerning improper
door-to-door sales practices," said Guilbeau.
"Unethical salespeople put a black eye on
the entire industry by taking advantage of
Before buying any security system, ESA and
consumer agencies urge consumers to:
Avoid any offer that sounds too good to be
true or offers anything free, claims to
provide upgrades or has a time limit.
Ask for a local telephone number to contact
the security company to ensure that the
number is legitimate.
Contact local law enforcement if you feel
uncomfortable in any way.
Always contact your current alarm company
before signing any new contract so that you
understand the status of your current
To encourage ethical sales behavior in its
members, ESA has adopted a strict code of
ethics that addresses consumer concerns and
provides a process for consumer complaints.
The new code includes a requirement for
salespeople to carry a photo identification
card, discontinue a sales presentation at
the customer's request, disclose all terms
and conditions in writing and not make false
statements in order to secure a sale.
Consumers can find more information about
the ESA Code of Ethics and Standards of
Conduct at www.alarm.org.
In addition to high-pressure sales tactics
often aimed at the elderly, homeowners are
cautioned to be aware of these statements
that should not be used to coerce a sale:
Stating police will not respond to older
Implying that the salesperson is from the
alarm owner's current company.
Offering free system upgrades.
Pressuring the consumer to make a decision
quickly because the offer is only good that
Offering a substantial "discount" for
placing an alarm company sign on the
To guard against these types of sales
practices, more than thirty states have
licensing requirements for alarm companies
to ensure they are following the laws of
that state. You can find a list of states
with these regulations at www.alarm.org.
The Electronic Security Association (ESA) is
the largest and longest-established trade
association representing the electronic life
safety and security industry. ESA's consumer
website offers information on the industry
as well as tips for consumers. ESA may be
reached at (888) 447-1689 or on the Web at