The Smart in Security Systems – Part Two
By Colonnade Security
FREE, FREE, FREE...
Free security systems not always a bargain — Part Two
In part one of our article “FREE, FREE, FREE… Free security systems not always a bargain.”
We discussed an old saying how “… nothing comes for FREE in this life,” which applies to an Alarm security system too.
Please don’t fall for the salespersons’ promises; get it in writing before you sign and remember to ask the following questions.
Always find out who owns the alarm system security equipment?
When you sign an agreement with this company for a specified term, when your contract is over, will you own the alarm security system, or does the company still own the equipment?
But you paid for it? Did you?
Most of these companies will list all the equipment they intend to install in your home or business, then show an “Installation Fee.” In legal terms, the installation fee is just that.
It is what they charged you to install their equipment.
A good deal? Really? It gets better. Not only do they still own it, but if or when you have problems with it, they will charge you to fix or replace their equipment. It’s the same as “leasing a car.” When the lease is up, you can continue the lease or give back the car to the dealer. But while you use the vehicle, you are responsible for paying for any maintenance on said vehicle. That little down, low monthly fee does not seem such a good deal now.
In other instances, some deals or sales pitches look very attractive, especially if you have recently moved into a new home or business location. We’re continually asking ourselves, do I have the budget? Do I have the money to spend?
In some cases, a company can install the cheapest equipment and find the cheapest components because they are installing the alarm security system for free. Company XYZ is using a cheap alarm security system as a loss leader, hoping you will upgrade. In this scenario, you are stuck paying for any upgrades to the equipment because you are under contract with them.
I hope this information on buying an alarm security system will help you with your decision-making process.
Remember the following:
Who owns the equipment before you sign?
Ensure the agreement states you own the equipment to be installed, even if it is after your original term is up.
Is the system wired or wireless?
Companies these days are installing wireless alarm security systems, as they are easier to install. There are many wireless security systems available, and pricing can vary. Wireless alarm security systems are usually a little more expensive for the equipment but less time to install.
A wireless system comes with maintenance. Batteries will wear out. Similar to a smoke detector in your home or business. The more devices you have, the more the batteries will cost. They should last anywhere from 3 to 5 years, depending on the device. So be prepared to have to change them every few years. Each battery could cost approximately $15.00. Some companies will offer to change them for you, or you can do it yourself.
Find out who does what and if there will be a charge for battery replacement. Again, most alarm system security companies do not replace batteries for free. They will eventually wear out and need replacing. Yet if they say they will cover the cost of new batteries, get it in writing on your agreement.
Contract or Agreement terms?
Contract or Agreement terms are what governs the terms that you agree to with the security company. Read it all before you sign it. If you have any questions about any terms, ask them to explain it. We have our agreement on our web site for you to view at any time.
What happens if I should cancel before my agreement is up?
There is usually a buyout amount that will need to be paid, or the balance of the contract term is due and payable to the company, just like a cellular phone contract. When you purchased, you have a term for services. The same will apply with an alarm security system.
If I decide to cancel after my initial term is up, am I still under contract?
Most contracts have self-renewable conditions—a standard in the security industry. Make sure the new term renews for a year and not the original term period you signed initially if that was longer than 12 months. There will also be a period in which you can cancel your agreement, usually 60 to 90 days before the agreement ends. If these instructions are not followed, you will find your agreement has self-renewed for a new term.
These are just a few things to consider when purchasing any alarm security system. A purchase you will live with for many years to come.