BBB Helps Fight Fraud at the Front Door by Teaming with ADT and Other Security Leaders

As summer selling season kicks off, news conference with Louisiana State Fire Marshal features victims and tips on stopping deceptive sales in the security industry

Baton Rouge, LA (May 18, 2018) – Despite a downward trend in the number of home security customers victimized by fraudulent door-to-door security sales representatives, the Better Business Bureau is continuing to team with leading organizations, including The Monitoring Association, the Electronic Security Association, and ADT LLC, to educate consumers.

During a news conference hosted today by Louisiana’s State Fire Marshal, H. “Butch” Browning, BBB helped sound the alarm about deceptive sales practices.

“We applaud the industry for continuing to root out the few bad apples who practice deceptive sales and con consumers,” said Carmen Million of the Better Business Bureaus Serving Baton Rouge. “Through today’s outreach we hope to prevent more front-door fraud.”

In 2017, over 700,000 consumers across North America used BBB resources to research information about home security companies. But thousands also complained about dishonest and misleading sales pitches, or reported door-to-door scams.

jay at ADT BBB Baton Rouge Deceptive Practices event 2018

TMA Executive Director Jay Hauhn addresses the issue of deceptive practices in the security industry.

Two of those victims spoke out today and shared how unscrupulous sales reps tried to con them out of their contracts with ADT, an A+, BBB Accredited Business and National Partner.

“I was misled into signing a contract with a salesman whom I thought was representing ADT,” said 62-year-old James Bourg of Greismar, LA. “After he quickly installed a new security panel, I did my homework and found out I was duped. I cancelled the next day.”

In 2016, nearly 3,400 customers complained to ADT about deceptive sales from competitors. There were 800 less last year. While complaints are declining, ADT vows to keep fighting.

“Whether we are bringing offenders to justice in a court of law or educating consumers in the court of public opinion, ADT will continue trying to stop deceptive sales in our industry,” said P. Gray Finney, ADT Chief Legal Officer.

At today’s event, BBB shared tips for consumers who are considering a home security system (bbb.org/homesecurity), and also released advice to potential employees who are being recruited to spend their summers knocking on doors (bbb.org/alarmsales).

“We urge those who are selling security systems to abide by the BBB Standards for Trust,” said Million. “Tell the truth, honor promises, and embody integrity.”

Additional coverage:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.

 

TMA Supports Effort to Expose Deceptive Sales Practices in the Security Industry

Deceptive sales practices that mislead consumers negatively impact our industry’s reputation. On May 9 at 11:00 AM PT, TMA and ESA will participate in a press conference hosted by the Sacramento Better Business Bureau to support efforts to alert consumers about these practices. Two local ADT customers who were recently victimized by deceptive door knocking will speak.

The press conference will be covered by local media and live-streamed by the BBB to all 113 of their U.S. locations. The publicity will help enlighten and educate consumers about ways to prevent being misled. TMA will share highlights of the news coverage on our blog when available.

Electronic Security Industry Joins Forces to Fight Deceptive Sales Practices

With the summer selling season in full swing, door-knocking scams are on the rise. Companies like ADT are reporting nearly twice the number of consumer complaints versus the prior year as awareness increases of a major issue threatening the image of the security industry. Representatives from business and industry organizations are teaming together to help fight this major problem.

On June 23 at the Baltimore Convention Center, against the bustling backdrop of ESX 2015, CSAA participated in a news conference about Deceptive Sales Practices in the Alarm Industry. CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn was among those addressing members of the local and industry press on this sensitive topic.

David Bleisch, General Counsel of ADT, noted that ADT continues efforts to thwart these practices, including offering a reward to anyone who can provide lawfully-obtained information showing how alarm companies are training employees to engage in deceptive sales practices. “Another new addition is that we are requiring all ADT sales representatives to provide their ADT ID number when asked by a customer,” he said. “With that information, the customer would then call ADT to verify the sales representative’s employment status.”

Baltimore resident Diane Pruitt described how she was recently solicited by a scammer, as did former Baltimore police officer Derrick Layton.

CSAA’s Hauhn said that CSAA members are committed to trust between companies and customers. “We are not knocking door-knocking,” he said. “Door to door selling is a very effective tool, practiced for decades. But it must be done the right way. Companies must train their sales reps to follow the ESA Code of Ethical Conduct and take swift and actionable responsibility when they fail.” His words were echoed by ESA President Marshall Marinace.

From left, CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn; ESA President Marshall Marinace

From left, CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn; ESA President Marshall Marinace

Casey Callaway of the  Council of Better Business Bureaus closed the session with the following information to help members of the public thwart would-be scammers.

  • Always check bbb.org first. Do your research and read customer reviews and complaints before you do business with anyone.
  • Think of your safety first. Always remember that you don’t have to invite salespeople into your home.
  • Ask for ID. Sales people should be able to provide proof that they actually work for the company they claim to represent, and you can also ask to see a sales license if your jurisdiction requires it.
  • Read everything. Don’t default to trust and quickly sign contracts without fully understanding what you are agreeing to.
  • Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics. “Must act now” offers and overly aggressive salespeople should raise a red flag.

— Reported by Elizabeth Lasko, CSAA, and Bob Tucker, ADT