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Don’t Get Stuck in a Bad Alarm System Contract

Better Business Bureau

Everyone wants great home security. And there are plenty of systems available that provide it, with lots of great options. But one of the hidden perils in buying an alarm system is a bad contract that adds extra costs and prevents you from changing and upgrading your system when necessary.

There are many ways to get stuck in a bad contract, but one of the most obvious ones is falling victim to door-to-door predators disguised as sales people. Many are peddling bad contracts, and they use pressure tactics and an intrusive approach to help close the sale.

To keep from falling victim to this one, always ask for ID before you let a sales person into your home. And make sure the ID includes the company name, with plenty of numbers and information for verification. Ask for a license as well, and make sure you verify its validity.

If you approach companies on your own to purchase an alarm system, always get a written estimate and ask plenty of questions. What is the contract period for monitoring? Are there penalties for early termination, or extra charges for moving? Get a thorough array of performance data and statistics before you sign on the dotted line.

It should almost go without saying, but its important to check the fine print as well. The hidden traps here include the installation price, quarterly monitoring fees, and other charges that aren’t spelled out in the body of the contract.

Finally, the terms of the contract should be clearly explained as well. Are they monthly, annual or on a multi-year basis? Payment terms should be clear as well. How frequently are payments required and what are the procedures for changing the payment interval?

One last hidden trap is the cost of cancellation. Find out what kind of notice you need to provide if you’re canceling a contract. Most contracts can only be canceled with 30-60 days notice before the renewal date.

And if you see the term“balance of contract” payments in the fine print regarding cancellation, you should know that many alarm system companies enforce this provision diligently, and it can cost you a bundle on the back end.

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