Free Home Security System? At What Price?
A free home security system is rarely free-of-charge. Homeowners who buy into these types of promotions usually end up paying hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars more than what their system is actually worth.
In some cases, even more than what better-purchased home burglar alarms actually cost.
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Initially you may not be charged for the actual system that they install in your home. You will however, more than pay for it by the time the salesperson has finished adding on the
- Extra fees
- Extra charges
- Extra added costs
There are many dishonest offers on the market. Some are easy to spot. Some are not. To determine if an offer is in fact a deceptive bait-and-switch tactic, look for the following telltale signs:
Free System / Sign On Your Lawn – A salesperson will knock on your door (or call you at home) and inform you about the alarm system promotion their company is having in your area.
Some will offer to give you the home security system for free if you become their customer and sign up with them today. Others are willing to give you the home security system for free if you display their company sign on your lawn.
These offers typically include nothing else except the alarm system. No services of any kind. The alarm system itself is more often than not a low quality, sub-standard all-in-one system with very few components. A lot fewer window and door contacts and motion sensors than your home requires.
All-In-One System – These types of alarm systems place the control panel, the keypad and the siren all together in one wall-mounted unit. Hence “all-in-one”.
They provide basically no protection and give the homeowner a false sense of security. These systems are very vulnerable and easily disabled. In the event of a break-in, all the burglar has to do is tear the system off the wall to disable it.
The control panel (the brain) of any home security system should be in a hidden location and as far away from the keypad as possible. The goal is to make it impossible for the burglar to find the control panel.
The siren should also be in a completely different location in the home. You should not be able to follow the sound of a ringing siren to the control panel.
Scare Tactics / Urgency To Buy – Fear is a familiar tactic with these free home security system promotions. The salesperson will probably inform you of a recent rise in break-ins and home invasions in your area.
They will try to scare you by telling you that your family is not well protected and that your home may be the next target of a home invasion or break-in. They will then try to create a sense of urgency within you.They will give you the alarm system for free if you sign up with them today. Right now !
Tomorrow will be too late. This offer is only available for today while they are promoting their alarm system and services in your part of town.
Extra Fees / Contracts – They may not charge you for the security alarm, but there will be fees for everything else.
There will be additional fees for extra:
- Home Security Devices
that their system does not supply and that your home will surely need. There may be an additional activation fee to activate your system.
There will definitely be a long-term monitoring contract that they will want you to sign. This is how they make the bulk of their money. These contracts are overpriced, usually for a 3-5 year term in and in some cases they automatically renew if you don’t cancel them. Some contracts charge an additional fee for early cancellation.
Question For The Salesperson – The following is a list of questions you should ask the salesperson who is trying to sell you the free home security system. Their answers will indicate how good (or bad) a deal this is: (print this list)
- Does your system combine the control panel, keypad and siren in one unit?
- Are your installers certified alarm technicians?
- How many door/window contacts, motion sensors and detectors come with the free system?
- Are there fees if I require addition contacts, sensors or detectors?
- Can other home security companies monitor this alarm system?
- Do you have software that allows you to remotely shut-down my system?
- Is there a monthly monitoring fee to monitor my system?
- Do I have to sign a contract with your company?
- How long are the terms of your contract?
- Is there a penalty fee for early cancellation?
In my experience, there is no such thing as a free home security system. No one gives anything for free. Be careful and use your own judgment. As always, if it sounds too good to be true – walk away.