ESA Adopts Code of Ethics, Standards of Conduct for Members

Leaders of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), formerly NBFAA, announced a stricter code of ethics for its members on Wednesday at ISC West that will place certain expectations on companies that conduct door-to-door alarm system sales.

The ESA hopes the new requirements will reduce coercive sales tactics, as well as complaints to better business bureaus about the industry.

“We believe a stricter policy for sales calls, backed up by tougher enforcement, is vital for enhancing the image of our industry and creating more success for our member companies,” said Merlin Guilbeau, ESA’s executive director.

The new requirements include:

  • Enhanced Identification: Sales representatives must carry photo ID cards and clearly state who they work for when making a sales call.


  • More respect for consumers: When requested by a consumer, a sales representative shall immediately discontinue a presentation and leave the premises.


  • No False Accusations About Competition: Sales representatives may not make any false statements about competing organizations.


  • Improved Customer Contract Requirements: Written materials, which clearly and conspicuously disclose all terms and conditions, must be presented to customers when closing the sale.


  • Better Refund Policies: Prior to the sale of any product or service, sales representatives must disclose all termination fees and must honor all refunds in accordance with their company’s policies.

The new ethics code comes in response to nearly 3,000 complaints in 2009 against the home alarm system industry to the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB), which supports the new policy.

“BBB hears from thousands of homeowners every year who feel pressured, manipulated and misled by a door-to-door alarm sales representative and trust in the industry as a whole is being undermined by these rogue reps,” said Stephen Cox, president and CEO of the council. “We hope these more stringent rules will encourage every player in the industry to bring integrity and honesty to the forefront of their customer service and sales practices.”

The new guidelines are also supported by leaders who represent central stations such as Stephen Doyle, CEO of the Central Station Alarm Association.

“It’s that high-pressure way of doing things that is not professional, and it’s unseemly,” Doyle said. “It doesn’t represent our industry well.”

The new requirements take effect immediately and could result in termination of ESA membership for those failing to comply. For a copy of ESA’s code of ethics and standards of conduct, visit

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