Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Alarm system contracts, know what they are saying!
It has always been said, let the buyer beware. This should be true when it comes to alarm contracts. It is not what is written in bold type that one will have an issue with, but the fine print, cloaked in legal language that is often confusing and written to protect the company and not the client.
Several important areas to consider when looking at security system contacts are the renewal clause, rate increase clause, warranty clause, and ownership clause. It is in these areas that many clients find themselves in an unfavorable condition when something comes up.
Alarm companies must clearly disclose the length of the contract but it is how the contract renews that places the client in an unfavorable situation if the contract automatically renews for the full length of the original term or in one year increments. A client may think that they have only signed a 36 month agreement, only to discover that the contract rolled over for another 3 years or another year. The best type of contract to get is a contract that renews month to month. Auto renewing contracts trap clients into remaining with a company and not being able to shop the open market. Another area to consider is the rate increase clause.
Most alarm companies have a rate increase clause, but clients should be aware of when it can be applied, and how much annually. With most people on a budget a 10 percent rate increase may place a customer in a difficult situation. One of the biggest areas where people find themselves unhappy with their alarm company is how warranties are handled.
The alarm warranty clause is a must read for a client. If you have a limited lifetime warranty, know what that means and also know if there are trip charges or service fees. If you have a full warranty, know what if anything is not included. Finally read the ownership clause.
The ownership clause will state what if anything the alarm company maintains ownership over. If the company retains ownership over the master control panel, this will allow the alarm company to come out and take it at the end of the agreement, rendering the system dead. This means that it can not be sold with the home, or used as an audible alarm. Some companies even maintain ownership over the window decals and yard sign.
In conclusion, know what you are signing and don’t be pressured into signing something that may hurt you in the long run. For more information regarding security systems call Jim McNeely at 919-949-9690.