Savannah Senior Citizen: Concerns about Security System

A Savannah senior citizen is concerned about a door to door salesman who said he would upgrade her home alarm system. Instead, she says she was signed to a contract with a new company.  “But he told me he was with ADT, that’s what he told me and we’re upgrading it,” says 81 year old Shirley Frazier.

Frazier says she’d been with ADT for years and was satisfied with their service. “But the man told me he had a new system he would put in.  I wish now I had never let him in,” says Frazier.

Frazier ackowledges she signed a five year contract with a different company, Alder, but says she didn’t really understand she was changing companies.

Tom Stephens, head of the Better Business Bureau for southeast Atlantic and northeast Florida says it’s “not uncommon for alarm companies to use an upgrade offer as an enticement to sign new customers.”

He says there’s nothing illegal about it but some customers, apparently like Frazier, find it questionable.  “I think they probably took advantage of the fact she thought it was the same company she had,” Stephens told us.

Stephens says it’s a good reminder for anyone, whether you’re a senior citizen or not to “understand what you’re signing and to realize there is a lot of fine print. And in any type of contract look for length and term of contract and what the cancellation procedures are,” Stephens told us.”

Mrs. Frazier realized she had a new company a few days after her new alarm was installed, because it wasn’t working.  When she called ADT, she realized they had not offered her an upgrade.  When she tried to cancel with the new company, she says a representative told her daughter in law it would cost $2,700 to do so  “Well I think they frauded me that’s what I’m thinking,” Frazier told us.  “Because of the way he first talked when he came in the house.”

Adam Christian, general counsel for Alder told us he believes that nothing could be further from the truth. He told us the company prides itself on offering an important and legitimate service especially for seniors. He says the home alarm system also comes with a personal alarm an older person can wear on their body.  He says in all cases of new services, a questionnaire is conducted to make sure the person signing the contract understands “what they are signing.” And he said in Mrs. Frazier’s case, there were several follow up phone calls to make certain she understood she was changing companies and the price of the monthly contract.

Still, he said the point of their service is to make “customers happy.”  He said they would reach out to Mrs. Frazier “to do what we can to make her happy and if that cannot happen, would consider releasing her from her contract.”

The Better Business Bureau says not all salesman who may come to your door are trying to scam you. Often, they may be from legitimate companies.  However, the BBB says customers have to take it upon themselves to understand what they are buying and if they have any doubts, to not rush into signing a contract.

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