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Do you have a monitored security alarm system?
Old 06-12-2012, 08:10 AM   #1
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Do you have a monitored security alarm system?

If so, beware. You may have a large piece of chewing gum under your shoe and not know it. We recently sold (finally!!) our second home in Stepford (sorry Alan, LOL et al.) and completed the transition to the scorpion infested, dry wastes west of the world's live music capital (we don't want crowds of ERs moving nearby, do we REWahoo!). Selling a house in Texas is expensive, time consuming, and frustrating but we thought it was over. No. The security monitoring company won't cancel the rolling contract they bought from the company who installed our system nearly 14 years ago. They are going to keep taking payments from our bank until next year. If we pay a lump sum they will stop now. This is all perfectly legal, apparently. The bank can't stop it, and according to google research the security company will call their attorney if we stop the payments.
So, if you have a monitoring contract - check it to be sure you can cancel when you want to.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:57 AM   #2
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I just broke the ADT monitoring contract on my house in the south and decided to pay the lump sum. The contract was pretty clear regarding the penalties that would have to be paid in such event, so I knew what to expect. There were 2 ways to avoid paying the penalty: 1) the new occupants of the house started using the existing security system and signed a contract with ADT or 2) we signed a new ADT contract at our new place.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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If you knew what kind of priority that cops in general place on answering an alarm call, you would never again use a monitored alarm on your house.

In most cop's opinions (including mine), alarm companies should be required to hire their own security people to respond to alarm calls. Then if they see signs of a burglary they should call police. Something like 98% of all alarm calls are false and there is no greater waste of police resources than answering alarm calls. The alarm companies are the only business I can think of that are subsidized by the police.

If the goal is to deter burglars, you can do that by putting up a fake sign and / or having an alarm with a very loud siren. If the goal is to catch the burglar, good luck. The percentage of burglars caught in the act because of a monitored alarm is so small its not worth measuring. Most burglars are in a house less than 5 minutes. Its pretty easy for the layman to calculate how long it takes:

1) from the time the alarm trips, the alarm company calls the house to verify whether or not the alarm is false.
2) the alarm company calls 911
3) dispatch receives and logs the call
4) dispatch finds a squad that is clear and ready to take the call.....this alone could literally take hours if you are in a busy city since all calls are dispatched on a priority basis and alarm calls are low priority.
5) Cops hear the call and drive to your house. This could easily be 15-20 minutes or more depending on traffic, time of day, and how far away from your house they are.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:44 AM   #4
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The security monitoring company won't cancel the rolling contract they bought from the company who installed our system nearly 14 years ago. They are going to keep taking payments from our bank until next year.

Been there; done that. It's a slave contract.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by FIREd View Post
I just broke the ADT monitoring contract on my house in the south and decided to pay the lump sum. The contract was pretty clear regarding the penalties that would have to be paid in such event, so I knew what to expect. There were 2 ways to avoid paying the penalty: 1) the new occupants of the house started using the existing security system and signed a contract with ADT or 2) we signed a new ADT contract at our new place.
Good for you in keeping up with the contract. Ours was 14 years old - sold on by original installer after a few years. Had forgotten it was rolling 12 months. I can accept a penalty for breaking a recent contract, there are costs to cover, but 14 years? We tried to get them to cover our new place 3 years ago but they did not respond to the enquiry.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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If the goal is to deter burglars, you can do that by putting up a fake sign and / or having an alarm with a very loud siren. If the goal is to catch the burglar, good luck. The percentage of burglars caught in the act because of a monitored alarm is so small its not worth measuring. Most burglars are in a house less than 5 minutes.
The folks selling these services maintain that the audible alarm isn't much good--what do you think? While I agree that few folks investigate when they hear an alarm, if I'd broken into a house it would certainly make me want to leave a lot sooner.
Video monitoring straight to the homeowner: Any advantages? Seems that if I were at w*rk, got an automated call, looked at the images from a camera or two and called the local police it might get preferential attention. ("I see someone in my house I don't recognize. I received an alarm. Please check it out while I head home. I'm in a red Chevy Malibu.")
And, some of these systems require no monthly monitoring fee.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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I have an ADT sign aside the front door (no coverage), with two dogs (Shelties) that will lick you to death if you decide to come in (after you hear them barking).

I don't know if the cost of maintaining two dogs outweighs the cost of an ADT contract, but I do know they give me "love"; something I think ADT could never provide ...
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
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My first and last encounter with ADT after buying a home and calling to disconnect alarm failed miserably. Paint contracted was spraying paint, set off call to fire dept, never made a sound at the home, and here comes 2 fire trucks to the house. Fireguys wanted a false alarm fee, so I says ask ADT for it.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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I have an ADT sign aside the front door (no coverage), with two dogs (Shelties) that will lick you to death if you decide to come in (after you hear them barking).

I don't know if the cost of maintaining two dogs outweighs the cost of an ADT contract, but I do know they give me "love"; something I think ADT could never provide ...
I read this and thought, did I post here and forget I did?

I could have written this post!

I additionally got one of those BAD DOGS BEWARE signs to put at my front gate. Gives me a giggle every time I come home.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:08 PM   #10
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We have 5 "very loud dogs"! Enough said?
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:11 PM   #11
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You mention you verified the contract is valid, but you may want to research further. I am not a lawyer. I took a legal principle course years ago for my job. I could've sworn there is a legal principle that contracts cannot automatically renew after a certain time period (possibly as short as one year).
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:30 PM   #12
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Timely topic for me. We have had a rash of home invasions/car break ins in our neighborhood. DW and I have been talking about whether we should get an alarm monitoring system especially since we travel in the summer (DW a teacher and still working). I would appreciate hearing from others who have experience with alarm systems on the pros and cons. Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rescueme View Post
I have an ADT sign aside the front door (no coverage), with two dogs (Shelties) that will lick you to death if you decide to come in (after you hear them barking).

I don't know if the cost of maintaining two dogs outweighs the cost of an ADT contract, but I do know they give me "love"; something I think ADT could never provide ...
Got the same thing plus a wife that would bitch them to death and is much meaner than any pit bull.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:58 PM   #14
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Got the same thing plus a wife that would bitch them to death and is much meaner than any pit bull.
I take it she doesn't read your posts?
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:04 PM   #15
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We had dogs but a burglar let them out and then robbed us. After installing an alarm, we've had two attempts, but when they heard it they ran.
We purchased our alarm and paid to install it. We pay for the monitoring month to month.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:22 PM   #16
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I take it she doesn't read your posts?

You would be correct !
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:22 PM   #17
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You mention you verified the contract is valid, but you may want to research further. I am not a lawyer. I took a legal principle course years ago for my job. I could've sworn there is a legal principle that contracts cannot automatically renew after a certain time period (possibly as short as one year).
I took an engineering law course 37 yrs ago, and at that time they indicated that a contract without an expiration date continued after one year (considered renewal) is recognized as valid.

I am no lawyer by any means, but you shook a memory for me.

I also installed, maintained, and monitored alarm systems for 25 years, as a side business. Never had a binding contract, this gained me more business than the reverse.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:26 PM   #18
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Close your bank account and open another one. Let them go ahead and sue....

We installed a system some time ago. The tech said not to bother with monitoring (in our area) because the police typically take 7-15 minutes to arrive. The installed suggested a second horn, which we installed.

My sister's home got broken into. No monitoring but loud alarm. The police told her than the very best thing for B&E is a dog, second is watchful neighbours, third is a loud alarm. Monitoring did not make the list.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #19
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It is three flights up to our front door . Most robbers unless they are really stupid would realize how hard it would be to drag the loot down three flights under flood lights .
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:14 PM   #20
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I would cancel the bank account. I also do not allow any company to make monthly withdrawals on my bank account or credit cards. That way I can just stop paying if I'm not happy with the service.

My system also monitors for fire and flooding. However, it would be simple to reprogram the panel to call my cell phone upon alarm. You can also install a simple DVR system and look at the cameras to see what the issue is. That would reduce the false alarms to the police. Many DVRs have input & output contacts for water sensors and heat detectors. You could also control many devices remotely.
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