When my wife and I bought our home in Florida, it already had a security system in place. We held off connecting the system to a home security service provider for almost three months, as we were intent on shopping around and finding the best, most sensible deal. Our chief concern was flexibility. Ironically, we didn't want to be locked into a contract.
A salesperson from one of ADT's many “authorized dealers” (Safe Streets USA, out of Garner, NC) arrived at our door with the promise that although we would certainly have to sign a three-year contract, Safe Streets USA was NOT in fact ADT. This meant that they were free to "work something out" with us in the event we should have to cancel service.
We have since found cause to do just that. Here are the options they presented to us:
1) Take the contract with us to our next place of residence and continue service.
2) If our system cannot be removed from our home, sign another three-year contract and ADT will install a new security system at our next place of residence.
3) Pay the remainder of the contract as a cancelation fee (75 percent of the remainder if we meet the time qualifier).
There is a semi-secret fourth option available as well. In order to get it, however, you’ll have to badger the dealer through whom you had signed for services to send the option in writing. They will, of course, refuse to do this, and repeatedly so. The options listed above are all you’ll get. But you must insist, just as repeatedly. Filing a “BBB” (Better Business Bureau) claim will help you immensely at this point.
Here is the semi-secret fourth option, in all its glory:
4) Get the new residents to sign a three-year contract, through the exact same dealer through whom you had signed, and you will be released from your contract without penalty or fee.
Now ADT does stand behind this option. Call them, and they will tell you that this is indeed a courtesy they offer. The problem is, as was mentioned before, your authorized dealer (Safe Streets USA, out of Garner, NC, for example) is NOT, in fact, ADT. And when it comes to the contract, they can hold you to it all they like. Across the Internet, on sites just like this one, you can read any number of stories about people who had followed the fourth option to its completion, in good faith, and continued to be charge the cancelation fees, regardless.
At present, we find ourselves tumbling down that same exact path, following the fourth option to what may very well prove an unsatisfactory, troubled ending. Not just for ourselves but for the unwitting new home owners to whom we have no choice but to vouchsafe ADT and, especially, Safe Streets USA, as good, honest companies with whom to do business. Quite the moral dilemma. But there is another, final option – one that preserves one’s soul and secures a some justice.
Fight Back! Here’s how you do it:
Take all your anger and frustration and go on a RATE RANT. What is a “rate rant”? If you’re reading this now, you’re likely no stranger to consumer rating and commenting of businesses in the Internet. Today there are literally hundreds of websites that allow customers to rate and comment about their experiences, no matter what the product of service. The reason why this so often has very little impact is because people tend to only post once, if at all.
A simple query from any given search engine will provide a number of sites accepting ratings and comments. Simply draft a small, concise complaint, sign up or log in to the site, rate the company as low as possible and post your complaint.
Here’s the tickler:
Then you do it again and again and again. The beautiful thing about ADT is, in fact, their army of authorized dealers. Understand, the contract you signed for service is relatively the same for every dealer no matter where you live in the country. So, you’re not really after the authorized dealer. You’re after ADT, the parent, contract providing company. It is perfectly acceptable to rate and post comments for any authorized dealer you find. Reason being, they are all providing the same exact service through the same exact company – ADT. In fact, your comment should identify the service provided in general, not the dealer in particular. It’s the service provider that’s the problem (even though, as was in my case, the dealer’s salesperson misled us to get our signature).
When enough is enough:
A simple rule of thumb is that when you’ve exhausted your local area for rating and posting, move on to the next – town, city, state, region of the United States. You only stop when you feel that you may have cost the company (ADT) as much as they’ve taken from you. The only problem I see here is that one can never truly know whether or not their rating and posting is impacting ADT in this way. The only course of action after this realization is to search and rate and post until your simply tired of doing it. ONLY THEN will you feel that you’ve done enough.
Happy hunting and good luck.
Product or Service Mentioned: Adt Security System.
Monetary Loss: $700.