State agency warns residents about security company tactics

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Meet Blanca Mease. She, like many other home owners, owns a security system.

She was approached by representatives with the company APX Alarm Security Solutions, Inc.

Based in Utah, the company has 2300 representatives nationwide, 10 years in the security business and more than 230,000 customer accounts.

But Blanca says her experience seemed fishy.

"They said they were in the area changing out phone lines that were being cut by theives or robbers and they wanted to change our lines for cellular lines," says Blanca.

Blanca says she immediately questioned the employees since they weren't from her current security company and because they were pushy--trying to get her to sign a contract with them.

They're tactics that got the attention of Lynne Taunton with the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure.

It's a state agency making sure security companies treat you fairly and are properly licensed.

She says the board has received nearly 20 complaints about APX.

"From what we understand these people are very pushy. They are very insistent. They're not following the code of ethics that is part of this agency," says Taunton.

But it gets worse for one customer. Tammie Gipson signed a contract with APX after they used similar tactics on her family.

"They were real persistent to make a sale," says Gipson.

She says APX took out her existing security system and replaced it with a new APX system.

"It's not good work," says Gipson.

Tammie says she was able to get out of the contract, but now the company won't call her back and hasn't removed the system.

"At this point, I don't feel like I can trust them," says Gipson.

So WSFA 12 News called APX to find out what's going on.

They say these kind of tactics are against their policy.

"We spend a tremendous amount of time and resources to provide training that focuses on being respectful and courteous. I think our sales reps are trained well," says Stuart Dean, Director of Media Relations with APX.

But WSFA 12 News dug deeper--checking with the Better Business Bureau.  According to the BBB report, APX has a rating of D- with more than 1500 complaints nationwide.

But here in Alabama the BBB says a D- rating is far from typical.  Out of the more than 50,000 businesses registered in central Alabama, less than 1% have a D-.

It's a reputation APX says they're working to fix.

"It's a concern and it's something we're working aggressively with the BBB to try to address and resolve. I want to communicate that we take all reports seriously here," says Dean.

But Taunton still urges residents to be cautious.

"You need to read every word, you need to be sure of what you're signing," says Taunton.

APX leaders say they are taking the situation seriously as they do with every complaint.

They say they've taken measures in the past to fire workers that do not use ethical tactics with customers.

Right now the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure is sending out notices to local security companies explaining the situation.

They're also working to file an administrative complaint through the Attorney General's office.

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