Strive to Ensure Security Sales Reps Are Reputable

Alarm companies better make sure their sales reps are reputable or face the consequences.

Are alarm company sales reps destined to join the ranks of salespeople who sell aluminum siding, used cars or bridges (particularly the Brooklyn Bridge)?

First we see news exposés claiming that alarm systems are less than useless, a plight on society, wasting the valuable time and resources of police, fire and EMT personnel. Now we see a news story how the dogs are turning on themselves and devouring each other, all at the expense of the unsuspecting naive people they prey on. What am I talking about? Suzanne Boling, director of operations of Gideon LLC was good enough to send me the link to watch the ABC news story on alarm company salespeople.

According to the piece, the billion-dollar alarm industry engages in underhanded sales tactics. The focus is door-knockers, and the primary target seems to be ADT. Claiming to be ADT employees looking to upgrade the alarm system or give some-thing for nothing, the door-knocker gains access to the home, after which the salesperson is trained to continue the deception and get the homeowner to sign up for a new alarm system with a five-year term. According to the story, ADT sued one company and picked up $2 million. That’s a lot of door knocking.

RELATED: ADT Launches $25K Reward Program to Stop Security Sales Scams

The alarm industry has come a long way since it started with door-knockers. In the beginning, the door-knocker knocked on your door to let you know that you needed someone to stop by nightly to check your door or you might find the door kicked in, windows busted or maybe your legs busted if you didn’t get the message yet. Today’s door-knockers don’t threaten violence or property damage, at least not directly. All they need to do is show a newspaper from most any locale: More violence, less effective police and fire protection, better get a new alarm system.

Licensing alarm companies and requiring employees be fingerprinted and screened is not a very effective way to combat the door-to-door sales abuses. Only criminal records are checked during the licensing and registration process. Perhaps the state (or maybe ABC) needs to check for outgoing personalities, fluent conversationalists, snazzy glossy pictures of crime and fire scenes, psychopathic personalities or maybe children of aluminum siding or used car salesmen.

On a more serious note, of course business and government agencies should not tolerate deceptive business practices and there are plenty of laws on the books to deal with that conduct. Overwhelmingly, the salesforce of alarm companies are honest, hardworking people, and unfortunately not much of those billions of dollars make it to them. More often than not, the sales-person is also the owner of the company and performs or assists with the actual installation. The alarm industry is still made up of one giant, a handful of really large companies, and to varying degrees, owner-operated businesses. It’s too bad that a few bad apples are rotting the barrel. We’ll just have to get over it.

About the Author

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Security Sales & Integration’s “Legal Briefing” columnist Ken Kirschenbaum has been a recognized counsel to the alarm industry for 35 years and is principal of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, P.C. His team of attorneys, which includes daughter Jennifer, specialize in transactional, defense litigation, regulatory compliance and collection matters.

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