Why FREE Alarm Systems Are Bad

Anyone searching for a home alarm will inevitably be tempted by a number of companies offering so called ‘free’ alarm systems.  On the surface, what could be better than a free alarm system right?  Of course the rub is that for this ‘free’ alarm system you will always be asked to sign some sort of a long term commitment for monthly monitoring for a premium rate.

You might say, well that’s fine, I’m planning to have my alarm professionally monitored anyway and after 3 years I’ll own the alarm, so what’s the harm?  Well in some cases, perhaps the deal really is just shy of ‘too good to be true’.  But at the very least, take a few minutes to ask some simple questions of the company making the offer.

#1 – What’s included in the ‘free’ alarm package?
#2 – What are the additional installation, set-up or other costs including additional sensors?
#3 – What is the cancellation penalty if something happens and I no longer can afford/want monitoring?
#4 – At the end of the contract, the system is free but will you provide the master installer code and installation manual?

Sorry, what was that last one?  Here’s the thing… a free alarm system is nice, but without the master programming code you won’t be able to reprogram the alarm to call a new alarm company, or to self monitor.  So that FREE security system is now basically a useless box on the wall and you’ll end up buying a new one anyway or paying a new company to install a new one.

Here’s another question people rarely ask about monitoring… How often do you test communications?
Huh?  What do you mean test?

Well, an alarm system communicates with the central monitoring station by way of a phone dialer.  Maybe it worked when the system was initially programmed, but when is the last time it was tested to make sure it’s still working?  What’s the point of paying for monitoring if, in your time of need, no-one responds?  It has and will happen!  A good monitoring company can (and should) set your alarm system to test communications on a regular basis and report if the test fails.

I hope the above article has offered some ‘food for thought’.  Feel free to contact us for more information.