Every day home alarm systems are advertised with “no money down” or eye-popping low installation prices to entice the buying public to put that company’s wireless home security system into their home. Sometimes these advertised specials are a genuinely good deal. In other cases they are just designed to get a salesperson into your home so they can practice their up-selling skills.
So when is a “no money down” home alarm system a bad deal? Let’s find out.
The Protection Details
Most “no money down” home alarm systems provide protection for two doors and one select area inside your home that’s about 35” x 45”. Here’s the problem with that: most homes have more than two doors. Most homes also have windows. These windows are often left unprotected with “no money down” packages. Most homes have more than one interior area.
A bargain is only a good deal when the purchase achieves its intended objective. A home alarm system price is only good if the home alarm system is right for you.
Home security companies realize that most “no money down” packages don’t provide adequate protection. That’s why they hire and train salespeople to come into your home with strong armed sales tactics to upsell you. That’s where the real problems start.
Total Home Security System Costs
Here’s where the first catch comes in with “no money down” alarm systems. Equipment add-ons are extremely expensive, way above normal market rates.
Add-on pricing for home security equipment in these situations is like the companies that sell razors do it…they’ll practically give away the razor so you’ll have to buy the ridiculously high priced razor blades. Alarm companies duplicate that…they’ll give you basic protection so you’ll buy way more equipment at above market prices.
It’s quite common for “no money down” home security systems to cost $3000 or more by including all the necessary add-on options.
The second catch is the cost of your monthly payments. Now think about this one for a minute. You’re going to get free equipment and installation from the alarm company, all based upon a price they set, not one you negotiate. The alarm company will factor these equipment and installation costs into your monthly payment. Then, the alarm company will require you to monitor the alarm system, again at an arbitrary price they set, not one you negotiate. You may also be required to include in your monthly payment some type of monitoring service agreement.
The result? Monthly payments three or four times higher than average market rates. All for a very basic home security system that most likely won’t provide adequate protection!
Another result is monthly payments are based upon arbitrary prices established by the alarm company, not the market or not upon a price you negotiate. In these situations, the alarm company gets a great deal and the consumer is left holding the bag.
Ownership and Long Term Contracts
Some of these “no money down” security systems for homes are actually leased from the home alarm company. That means the alarm company owns the security system. When the contract is over and you don’t want to renew, they will come and remove the security system equipment.
Long term, ironclad contracts are typical with “no money down” home security systems. In fact, contract terms for these type systems were getting so long and so reckless for the consumer that many states began to regulate alarm company practices.
Typically, you’ll be locked into a three year (36 month) contract term but some agreements are much longer. Be to check the term of your contract. Most contracts have automatic roll-over clauses, meaning they’ll extend automatically unless the consumer takes a specific action at a specific time to stop the roll-over provision.
What’s the lesson here? What appears on the surface to be a good deal may not actually be that good of a deal at all. It is essential that you read all the fine print and understand all the details. That’s the best way to make sure that the terms of the deal fit into your budget and your lifestyle. For further advice about selecting the right home security system, read “What to Ask Before Buying a Home Security System” on the My Alarm Center site.