While eating breakfast at a fast food joint, Clark eavesdropped on a conversation at a nearby table. Based on what he overheard, it seemed two of the men were employed by a security alarm company and in the process of interviewing a young 20-something man for a sales position.

Beware of these dirty dealings in the alarm industry

The young man was told that the job involved obtaining recent police burglar reports and then going door-to-door in those neighborhoods. The men told the young man that a good tactic was to let customer's imaginations run wild after showing them the police reports. Then, go for a monthly contract of from $24.95 to $39.95, whatever he could get out of them and pocket the spread.

Talk then ran to rollover contracts. That's what happens to contracts when customers don't contact the security company about their intentions at the end of the contract term. That contract simply renews on its own for another contract period.

Here are Clark's tips to follow when your home needs security and you don't want to be swindled: 

  • First, take your time shopping and researching.
  • Security companies should earn your business and shouldn't require you to sign a contract. 
  • Don't sign a contract -- ever. 
  • Don't let a security company representative into your home unless you have first determined that the company won't require a signed contract. 
  • If a security company wants to charge you more than $20 per month for monitoring, don't do business with them and search for another company. 
  • Is the monitoring station UL approved? Is the station properly staffed and trained? 
  • Gather price quotes from various companies for security and include smoke and fire monitoring. 
  • You might also consider SimpliSafe.com, a company that offers $15 a month monitoring on simple burglar alarm systems you install yourself. No technical know how is necessary!



Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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