Home alarm companies protect people, property and valuables. They tell you how they will do that in the form of a home security contract.
Contracts exist to define the rights and obligations of both parties. They are very important to you as a consumer. Not only do contracts define what you are getting in return for your money, they also outline the duties and obligations of the home security company. They define your obligations with the home alarm company as well.
What should you look for in a home alarm system contract before signing it? Check for these things:
· Clear definition of exactly what it is you are getting and what it will protect. Get an itemized listing of home security equipment to be installed, where it will be installed, the areas it will protect and the other home security services that will be provided by the home security company.
· How much you will pay and how your rates can increase. Some states like California require a schedule of payments for the home alarm system and restrict the amount of down payment money required for the alarm company to begin work. Make sure that you clearly understand what you will be paying over the life of the contract. Also be clear about how your rates may increase during the term of the contract.
· Who is actually installing the system. Some companies outsource installations to third party vendors. Make sure you are comfortable with who will be installing your home security system.
· The company who will be actually monitoring the alarm system. Again, many alarm companies sell the alarm monitoring services to a third party provider. Make sure the contract specifies who exactly will be monitoring the alarm.
· The length of time of the contract. All alarm contracts have a term. Understand how long the contract requires you to commit to home security service.
· How you can cancel the security company contract. Be careful here as cancellation provisions vary widely from company to company. It’s important that you understand under what conditions you may void the contract, and what penalties you may incur for cancellation.
· The alarm company license and/or registration number. Many states have special licensing requirements for home security alarm companies and their employees. The company’s licensing/registration numbers should be clearly visible on the contract.
· The approximate date alarm system installation will begin and end, and the start date of any services after system installation is completed by your home security provider.
· System user training. Lots of states require that time be allocated by the home alarm company to train the user on the proper operation of the home alarm system. Look for provisions that provide instruction on alarm system use.
· Rollover provisions. Most home alarm company contracts contain rollover provisions. These provisions allow for automatic renewal of alarm monitoring and other recurring services unless the buyer cancels the renewal by the date indicated in the contract (normally 30 days before the contract is to end). Rollover provisions vary widely so make sure you understand what’s included in the contract.
· Get it in writing. Written contracts protect you and the home alarm company. Everything must be in writing on the contract. Avoid verbal understandings.