Warnings against pushy security alarm sales tactics

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "He came walking up the driveway through the columns way down there."

Randall Rhodes was standing in his front yard with a friend and when a young man came up to him claiming to represent the alarm company Rhodes uses. Rhodes says the man told him he was there to update his system.

"And that's the reason I called my alarm company because I couldn't understand why they wouldn't call me as good of friends as they are and tell me, 'Mr. Rhodes, we're going to send somebody by.'"

"These are out of state companies and they hire college individuals," says Lynne Taunton, Executive Secretary for the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure.

The agency licenses security companies and their employees to operate in Alabama.

She says this isn't the first time out of state alarm companies have sent representatives to Alabama.

They're typically college students and she says they're working off commission and "high pressure or deceptive sales tactics."

She says they come into your home and pressure you to sign a contract with their company even if you already have another alarm system provider.

"If you sign a contract with that company and you're still under contract with another company you will be billed twice," says Taunton.

Taunton first told WSFA 12 News about the problem two years ago.  She says it's still happening statewide.

"We've had calls from Auburn, we've had calls from Huntsville, we've had calls from Montgomery," adds Taunton.

She encourages homeowners to "be sure you know who you're talking to and who they represent."

Rhodes didn't take any chances.

"I proceeded to tell him that I didn't think I wanted to update until I talked to my alarm company that I was doing business with."

Taunton says there are a few ways to make sure you don't fall victim to the companies.

--Read what you sign and if you don't understand it, have someone help you.

--Always be sure there is a cancellation clause in the contract.

--Make sure the company leaves a copy of it with you if you change your mind.

Officials say any person working for a security company in Alabama is required to have a license from the security board. Taunton suggests asking to see their ID if you're uncertain about the representative and his company.

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