Read the fine print...

The alarm contract! When to sign, or not to sign ?

What you should know.

Scrutinize all contracts
Read the fine print before you sign it.

Alarm Contract

While reviewing contracts, carefully examine each document and “read the fine print”. Consequently, legal binding contracts can prevent the sale of a property if the system has a remaining balance or the alarm contract has a remaining term. Within many contracts, buying out the term can lead to costly and unforeseen charges…including hidden equipment buyouts. Often at times you can port the alarm contract to a new property. Some contracts will also allow the contract to be transferred or assumed by a new owner. In some cases the contract must be handled by the real estate contract or a lawyer. One thing is for certain…before signing any contracts, be sure to read it thoroughly and know what it means? If not, you could be in for a big surprise down the road.

Alarm Monitoring

Learn what each security company offers for alarm monitoring services. Ensure the alarm company has their monitoring within a U.L.C. listed station. Each station requires full backup systems and facilities! The station will then monitor your security system in the event of alarm. Learn the name of the station since many firms use 3rd party monitoring services. Do a background check on the station to see how they treat (you) the end user! Also, check to see if the station is local to your area. Many large companies enlist the services of monitoring stations and call centers located overseas. This can lead to unforeseen delays where a timely response is needed. Accordingly, perform your due diligence and read the fine print.

Security Proposals

If you have a security company you are comfortable with, then it’s time to request a proposal. First of all, request two or three quotes from licensed firms who provide written estimates with no obligation. Request a quote that breaks out individual costs for your review. Avoid companies who list the entire estimate as a bulk (lump sum) total. Many firms will shroud their pricing to obscure hidden costs, or added labor charges. As a result, you should ask for a full break down of the pricing and services each company offers. This allows you to properly compare pricing between firms. Also, beware of firms asking for a deposit before the work begins. Finally, do not provide upfront payments to any door to door sales people.

Graeme Browne, CPL, CJL
Union Alarm Company Ltd.