Milwaukee Looks to Crack Down on Unethical Sales Practices
A city task force, composed of security industry representatives and Milwaukee officials, is expected to recommend a number of new requirements to halt unethical sales practices and faulty installation of security systems. The task force was created in response to consumer complaints that door-to-door salesmen use high pressure and misleading tactics to sell burglar alarms.
The Private Alarm Systems Task Force is expected to recommend to the Common Council’s Public Safety Committee that sales representatives for alarm companies complete a minimum of 14 hours of training or be accompanied by a representative who has completed the training, according to Milwaukee News Buzz. Alarm companies do not have training requirements at the present time, although they are licensed by the city.
Despite the consumer complaints against sales reps and installers, city officials have taken their time to suspend or revoke companies’ licenses because they don’t want to cut off alarm system coverage for customers. Additionally, the task force is recommending a temporary suspension of an alarm company’s ability to sell more alarm systems in the city in order to cut back on deceptive sales practices and false alarm reports.
Sales representatives would also be required to tell customers that burglar alarms do not provide a direct link to Milwaukee police. A 2004 policy states alarms must be double checked by a private first responder firm hired by the alarm company, the alarm customer or someone else before an officer will respond to it, according to the magazine.
The task force also wants to increase fines for companies who continually violate the city’s unverified alarm ordinance, such as out-of-state alarm businesses.
Sellers of alarm systems will be required to register with the city License Division and provide photos of themselves. Additionally, alarm companies must create a brochure for sales reps to hand out to customers along with their new alarm contract explaining the city’s alarm policies and the consumers’ rights.
Alarm systems installers are also expected to receive certification by the Electronic Security Association’s (ESA) National Training School. Presently, installers only need to be licensed in the city as electricians, according to the news outlet.
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