Free Home Security System: Truth or Myth?

A charming college aged kid comes to your door, knocks politely and engages you in the idea of home security.  Before you can say anything he offers you a “Free security system” sounds interesting you think, he offers a free consultation (more free stuff, this guys a winner) so you let him in, and before you know it you’re writing a check for a few hundred dollars. As buyer’s remorse sets in you ask yourself, how did this happen? The alarm system was supposed to be free.

Some of us have also received those annoying mailers with offers advertising free alarm system or $99 deals for $1000 worth of equipment, all that to get a sales man in your house, who in turn sells you a five year monitoring contract. So why have alarm companies continued to get away with free product advertising for years?

Consumers need to prepare for the bait and switch, Free is the most effective form of marketing so they understand that people respond to that, more educated consumers though are weary of free offers, ever heard the saying –”there is no free lunch” it’s true.

Here are a few tips:

Find out how much equipment you’re getting: Free alarm systems are typically pre‐set packages by the alarm systems, these packages are designed with the interests and the pockets of the alarm companies in mind, so this is most likely not enough to cover all the equipment you need to protect home and your family. I’m sure you guessed it by now, to add more equipment you need to pay more for each and every item you add, which could add up to a lot of money.

Find out the monthly costs and contract terms: some alarm companies entice you with their free system advertising then they roll in the equipment costs into the monthly monitoring charge, so you end up paying for the equipment over a long term contract for up to 5 years; and you thought you were getting a free alarm system.

Make sure your rates are locked in: Some of these alarm companies may attract you initially with lower month payments so low it may seem like a no‐brainer only for them to increase those rates on you repeatedly throughout the term of the contract. You could complain and express your anger but they know that you are contractually obliged to pay, if you cancel or terminate your contract they hit you with termination fees which could cost you thousands.

Watch out for older, hard wired technology: Some alarm dealers hoard older technology they get for cheap, most of these are hard‐wired which means the parts could be installed permanently in your home, when you go to upgrade to a newer more reliable security system your alarm company charges you excessive fees to upgrade, not to mention they may increase your monitoring and extend your contract.

Make sure you never buy exclusive or proprietary equipment: This is a question most people never ask, what happens if your customer service experience with your alarm company isn’t up to par, or your security system malfunctions or isn’t reliable? Most people may want to change alarm companies altogether, or terminate their contracts which could cost you thousands of dollars.

Hope these tips help as with anything if it’s free, you probably want to take a deeper look into it and don’t be fooled by the marketing tactics.