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Knowledge is Power!

How does it work? Let's review, in depth, how an alarm company provides "free" systems, pays millions in commercial advertising, and still make huge profits every year. We will also include information that these companies don't want you to know. You might be surprised.

You have seen the commercials. In the mailings for a "free" security system. This seems like a great deal, right? NOT! Please read on.

The free alarm system gets the salesman's foot in the door so they can lock you in to an outrageously high price long term contract.

A free alarm system, consisting of 2 doors and 1 motion detector, and keypad. BUT if you act now, you get a free second keypad (wireless) and a panic and medical button (same item that can do multiple task) FREE! I laugh at these ads!

Think about it. This is not safeguarding your home by any stretch of the imagination! A real sense of false protection in any home. Two doors and 1 motion just doesn't protect your home. So you add all ground windows, 3 more doors, and a few motions, and a carbon monoxide detector. This could range from $295.00 to as much as $2,295.00 lets say.

Add the connection fee of $65.00 and the deal is locked with your signature and credit approval. You sign a contract for the monitoring for 5 years at $39.50 per month and your done. Lets examine the cost of your system. For simplicity, we'lll split this sale in the middle at $1,295 in additional protection and forgo the some of the $99.00 installation fee some charge.

After one year: $39.50/month X 12 = $474.00 + added protection of $1,295.00 + connection fee of $65.00 + annual network access fee of $20.00. The total cost is $1,854.00.

After three years: $39.50/month X 36 = $1,422.00 + added protection of $1,295.00 + connection fee of $65.00 + annual network access fee of $20.00. The total cost is $2,842.00.

After five years: $39.50/month X 60 = $2,370.00 + added protection of $1,295.00 + connection fee of $65.00 + annual network access fee of $20.00. The total cost is $3,830.00.

After ten years: $39.50/month X 120 = $4,740.00 + added protection of $1,295.00 + connection fee of $65.00 + annual network access fee of $20.00. The total cost is $6,300.00, hypothedtically.

If it's too good to be true, it probably is

Your free system is almost three thousand dollars over the course of five years. Over six thousand dollars for ten years.

The monitoring fee is outrageous! The connection fee: Bogus! The network access fee: Bogus! Phone companies DO NOT charge alarm companies these fees. The free system offer is a tactical sales pitch to lock you in to a high priced, long term contract of five years or more. It also got the salesman through your front door, which is the primary objective of the advertisement.

The real nightmare

What you don't know is that the system they installed is proprietary. This means that no other company can take over the service if you decided not to renew your contract. Further, they may increase your fees every year, depending on contract aggreements.

A proprietary system secures the installing company of your continued patronage. If you get fed up paying exuberant monitoring fees and go with another company, it will be required to replace the system with non-proprietary equipment. The end result is paying twice, and then some, for the same protection to rid yourself of the original company. With a signed contract, customer service will mostly likely be poor or non existant.

The cheese is always free in the mouse trap

What they don't want you to know.

What they don't inform you is if you decided to break the contract or if you are late paying your bill, the company can remotely lock your system. This will render it inoperable. This is done by computer. The alarm company 'dials' into the system and instructs the software to shut down.

Your free system is dead! Burglar and fire detection. No local protection at all. Unethical? Definately! Illegal? I am afraid not! I have seen this done so many times, it makes me sick I was employed by these companies long ago.

They will still demand the full terms of the contract, even though now your very expensive free system is a piece of decoration on your wall.

But what happens if your financial income changes? Your still obligated to pay that monthly bill. This is the reason why credit approval is required. Bad credit? They don't want your business.

If you default, your good credit to purchase the free system is now ruined. Wow.

Some free systems you don't even own! After the terms have been met, the home owner may actually be forced to have the alarm company remove the system if you do not decide to renew the contract.

They install only Proprietary Systems.

What should you do before purchasing an alarm system?

Before purchasing an alarm system be an informed consumer. What will the system protect?

  • Read the contract before signing. Connecticut law states you have three business days to cancel any signed contract and legally not be bounded by its terms.

  • Ask if the contract is self renewing and for how many years. A written notice to the alarm company, sometimes 60 days in advance, is required to terminate the agreement or the contract will renew for another five years.

  • Obtain three proposals from reputable companies. Follow your instincts. If something doesn't sound right, there's a catch somewhere.

  • Use the internet for research on specifications and different types of systems.

  • If you have technical questions and the salesman cannot provide a satisfactory answer, talk to someone else. The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.

  • Get references from existing customers. Don't ask for letters. Get phone numbers.

  • Ask someone you trust how well they like their alarm company.

  • Ask if the installation crew is licensed and inform them you will be asking to see it upon arrival. No install should occur without a licensed tech onsite.

Good monitoring service can be obtained for an average of $20.00 to $48.00 per month, depending on service and if you are a home or business, from a reputable company. If the monitoring rate is cheap, there is a reason for it.

All they care about is volume. Not customer service. Not their employees. They pay their unlicensed technicians next to nothing. Non qualified, poorly paid techs = poor quality installation. Many of these employees have little to no skill. They are not licensed because their employers pay them as little as possible. Really talented technicians are paid well, because they are a surprisingly rare and valued commodity in the industry these days. These "free alarm" offering companies do not attract the best technicians.

Here is your free system.

It really turns out to be a bad deal for trusting an alarm company to protect your family or business

This is how OUR numbers will look, hypothetically.

After ten years: $21.00/month X 120 = $2,520.00 + initial alarm cost of $400.00 + connection fee of $0.00 + annual network access fee of $0.00. The total cost is $2,920.00 vs $6,300.00. A savings of thousands in the course of just ten years.

Now the math!

This is how they make millions by giving away free systems

Multiply $3,800 for five years by how many customers they acquired with the free system.

For every 500 customers their gross income is $1,900,000.00

For every 1,000 customers their gross income is $3,800,000.00

For every 10,000 customers is $38 million dollars! For 5 years! Ka-ching!

And the truth shall set you free!

Now you know how the companies who offer free systems can pay for advertising and make huge profits.

One last bit of information

Most of these 'free alarm' offering companies go with wireless systems. It takes virtually no skill to install them. A lot of the programming can be done ahead of time, so the technician that installs the system can get the job done as quickly and easily as possible, just as their employer expects them to.

Wireless systems, although may be best suited in some circumstances, are costly in upkeep. This upkeep is NOT free. What does this mean? There are inherent added cost the customer must pay to keep their system working propertly and they know that!

This context of this page is not meant to discredit other companies or to be misconstrue for any other reason other than informative purposes. There is no mention of any specific organization on this webpage and no intent of any reference is implied. This page's sole purpose is to further the development of knowledge and understanding of this industry's unknown and unethical practices of companies based on 28 years in this industry.

Thank you for your time. Be safe.