It’s that time of year again — time when unscrupulous salespeople fan out around your neighborhood selling security systems door-to-door. Also known as “door knockers,” these guys use aggressive sales pitches, and fraudulent claims to try and get you to buy expensive, or even substandard home alarm security systems and equipment. They’ll even use deceptive tactics to try and steal you away from your existing alarm company.
These door knockers are pros but if you know what to watch out for, you can protect yourself. Here are five tips to keep you from becoming a victim:
1. Don’t invite a door knocker into your home. Not even if he has identification and a license. The fact is sometime these temporary door-to-door salespeople want to get inside to case your house for a potential burglary.
2. Beware the limited-time offer pitch. Some door knockers will offer you a super deal — one that seems too good to pass up. For example, he might tell you the hardware — the actual equipment — is free. But then he’ll tell you the deal is only being offered for a limited time to get you to sign the contract. Sure, the equipment is free but not worth it if you have to sign a very expensive, multi-year system monitoring contract.
3. Don’t fall for his scare tactics. To get you to sign on the dotted line, the door-to-door salesperson will tell you about the wave of burglaries in your neighborhood or your town. Just politely tell the salesperson, you’re not interested. If he continues to be aggressive, shut the door in his face, then call the police.
4. Remember, he’s not really from your security company. Often a door-to-door alarm salesperson will claim — or imply — that he’s from your existing security company and he’s there to upgrade or replace your system. Don’t believe a word of it. His goal is to get inside your home to install one of his company’s alarm systems. Then he’ll coerce you into signing a contract for costly monitoring services. The fact is, your security company would never send someone out to your home unannounced.
Don’t believe him if he says your alarm company has gone out of business and his company has taken over your account. Your company would have notified you by mail or telephone if that was the case.
5. Only do business with credible security companies. Before you decide to purchase a home security or alarm system — not from someone who knocks on your door — do your homework. Get references from family and friends then check out the alarm company with your local Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general and licensing officials.
6. Watch out for unlicensed contractors offering security. It is illegal in the state of Massachusetts to install Life Safety equipment without a license. Make sure anyone working in your home has all of the proper credentials. Click here for more information from the Massachusetts Systems Contractors Association.
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