Summer is a time for fun in the sun, vacationing and outdoor adventures. Unfortunately, it is also a busy time for burglars. Although no alarm system will make your home completely burglar-proof, a home security system reduces your chances of being burglarized by up to 400 percent. BBB is advising homeowners who are looking to install a home security system, to do research first.
It is not uncommon for unethical salesmen to approach homeowners door-to-door using high pressure sales and scare tactics to make what could be a hasty decision. Unfortunately, this sense of urgency could lead to a lot of trouble without proper research.
“The successful purchase, installation, maintenance and monitoring of a home security system takes time and adequate planning”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “But it’s worth the effort to ensure that you and your family are safe and secure within your home environment.”
The BBB advises consumers to do the following when looking to invest in a home security system:
• Choose a professional installer. Deal only with reputable firms and check out the company’s Business Review with your BBB first at www.bbb.org. Use extreme caution if the salesman arrives in an unmarked vehicle and does not have local contact information printed on professional materials.
• Carefully consider your security requirements. Review the sales contract closely to ensure you understand exactly what equipment and protection you will be provided and that it fulfills your wants and needs best. Make sure all the blanks are filled in, and read the fine print.
• Contact at least three companies before selecting an installer. Research multiple companies and find out if they are properly licensed in Texas. Free bids from Accredited Businesses are available with the BBB’s Request a Quote feature available on www.bbb.org.
• Ask about all charges up front. Prices for home security systems will vary greatly, based on the level of protection and type of technology used, so be sure to know your budget and compare bids on similar systems. Factor in initial installation charges, as well as monthly monitoring charges. Talk to your insurance agent; some systems may qualify you for a discount on homeowner's premiums.
• Know the ins and outs of your contract. If your alarm system will be monitored, either by your installing company or by a third-party monitoring center, find out the length of the contract. Typically, monitoring contracts are between two to five years in length. Some questions to ask before you obligate yourself to a long term contract:
• Insist that the installer "walks" you through your system until you fully understand how it works. This will prevent the most common problem: false alarms. False alarms are an indicator of the quality of the alarm installation and user education. Make sure that you are aware of how your system works and that all of you questions are answered.
For more information on finding businesses and consumer tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.