Last summer Attorney General Ken Paxton cracked down on unscrupulous home security companies that had door-to-door salespeople selling their systems and breaking the laws. They were caught violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Summertime is upon us again and during the next few months, door-to-door salespeople may become more frequent again in neighborhoods across Texas. Austin police departments will likely start receiving complaints about door-to-door security sales workers and their fraudulent sales tactics.
This seasonal influx of home security salespeople isn’t just isolated to Texas. The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission have both issued country-wide warnings about increased summer sales activities and door-to-door home security scams.
Unethical alarm companies send door-to-door salespeople during the spring and summer months to canvas neighborhoods and sell low-quality alarm systems using big promises that they will never deliver. Their intentions are to trick homeowners into signing up or switching from their existing provider (like Texas Security & Surveillance) to an unaffiliated third-party service.
They often bait homeowners with promises of better equipment, monitoring and other home security services. However, buyer beware because not all these door-to-door sales people are telling the truth. They are only out to hustle you and earn a quick buck.
The scammers look for neighborhoods they feel may have easy targets and they descend like a swarm of bees trying to sting susceptible homeowners. The alarm installation crews are waiting in the wings for one of them to score a deal and they will often try to install the system the same day. This way they can get in and out before the homeowner has a chance to process what is really happening.
Even worse are criminals that hide amongst the swarm of systems salespeople trying to case your home and get some inside details about your existing home security system or lack thereof. They can then return and easily burglarize your home.
Watch this video that captures a criminal in the act posing as an alarm salesperson in an attempt to get inside the home and possibly case the home security.
Both the sales scams and criminal casing have become problems in Texas and we want to make sure our Austin customers are aware of the issue and know how to protect themselves. Here are some tips on how you, the consumer, can protect yourself.
Who Are They Targeting:
- Elderly Seniors
- Single Family Homes
- Active Professionals
- Current Texas Security & Surveillance Customers
Misleading Tactics Used:
- Simply showing up at your home claiming to be an alarm company representative when they are not. (we never show up without an appointment nor do we EVER sell our products or services door-to-door)
- Attempt to convince you that they need to inspect your alarm system for potential issues.
- Claiming that Texas Security & Surveillance (or your current home security company) has changed their name and they are there to transfer your account to the “new” company.
- Claiming that your current home alarm company is going out of business and they would like to offer you their services.
- Wearing uniforms or clothing from major alarm manufacturers like Honeywell or GE. These companies do not sell direct to consumer, especially door-to-door.
- Make “Today-Only” or other limited time offers too good to be true.
To Verify You Are Dealing with A Reputable Security Professional:
- Ask for identification. In Texas, door-to-door salespeople for alarm systems must be registered with DPS’s Private Security Board and are required to carry a DPS issued ID.
- If they appear to be an employee of your current home security provider, call that company and verify their employment.
- If the person claims to work for or be affiliated with Texas Security & Surveillance, call us at (855) 693-4003 to verify. Be assured that we will never arrive at your home without an appointment, nor to use door-to-door sales tactics.
How to Protect Yourself:
- Protect personal information and do not describe your security system or even admit to having one. Just decline to answer.
- NEVER allow a door-to-door security worker to inspect your home security system or enter your home. If you are our customer and need an inspection, simply call us at (855) 693-4003.
- Do not be pressured into making hasty decisions. Thoroughly read all contracts and documents involved with any potential sale.
- Prior to signing anything, check the DPS website to confirm the company is licensed and check references. You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the company.
- Do not make any cash or credit card payments unless you are certain you are working with a reputable company.
- Remember that Texans have the right to cancel a sale within three business days. Do not sign a contract with any blank spaces or that is undated, and always keep copies of anything signed or initialed.
Austin residents that fear they may have become a victim of a scam can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General by calling the Consumer Complaint Hotline at (800) 252-8011 or filing a complaint online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/
At Texas Security & Surveillance, we’re committed to protecting your family and home. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning the security of your home.