Source: Better Business Bureau of Metro Atlanta, 5/2/2012
Do you have a security system sign in your yard? You may want to be aware of some company’s unethical selling practices. They go into neighborhoods and seek out homes where security system signs are displayed in their yards. The salespeople look very professional, wearing badges with the name of the company they are working for.
They begin by telling you they are in the process of choosing three or four homes in “your neighborhood” for their new wireless program. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen, all you have to do, outside of signing up for their services, is display their company sign in your yard. They emphasize that this new wireless program does much, much more than your current system (how do they know that?) and in July, unless you switch, your current security system will no longer work.
When a consumer makes it clear to the company that the answer will be no, the sales rep states “we haven’t chosen your home yet and you will have no security system when the new wireless system goes into effect in July.”
The reason I know this is because it happened to me. Of course I said no and called my security system company. They informed me that this was a ploy used by their competitors to get their current customers to switch. To me, it seemed like a threat of loss of service and could scare consumers who did not know better and would be afraid that come July, they would be unprotected if they did not switch.
I called our local police and told them what was going on. To protect our community, they came down to speak with these sales reps. I’m not sure of the outcome but I didn’t see them again.
So the moral is this – if you have anyone show up at your door, follow these tips:
1. Always think safety first. If you’re home alone and don’t recognize the person, don’t open the door. If they are a legitimate company, they will leave a brochure or business card.
2. Be aware that because you have a security sign or other type of sign in your yard, you could be a target for this type of unethical selling practices.
3. Always, always check with your own security company, or other company, first. You can even ask the sales representative to wait outside while you do. If they are telling the truth, why would they mind waiting?
4. Scare tactics may not work on everyone but they can on our senior citizens and others who have no one to turn to for advice. If you believe this type of business practice is happening in your neighborhood, please call the police and let them know. At least there will be a record on file.
5. Tell your Neighborhood Watch if there is one established. BBB can come out and speak to your group on this matter and other scams to advise you of the red flags to be aware of.
6. Finally, if there will be any changes to your service you will be contacted by your company. You won’t hear this information from someone who knocks at your door, and especially someone who tries to scare you. Try and remember the name of the company the person is representing and file a complaint with BBB. Trust and truth in the marketplace is all of our responsibility.