By Robb Hicken/ chief storyteller
Mountain Home resident Ron became more and more concerned after he received a call saying he needed a security system because of excessive crime.
Mountain Home, 35 miles southeast of Boise, by many standards is a typical quiet Idaho town of about 12,000 residents.
Crime stats show that its burglary rates were well below the national average when compared to towns of similar size. In 2010, there were 51 burglaries, 276 thefts, and 9 auto thefts.
“The man said that Boise has the highest production of methamphetamines in the world and the by not having a security system in my home, I was inviting my family to be murdered,” he says.
Ron was only one of a number of area residents to hear this sales pitch. Strong-arm tactics like these are made to scare homeowners into subscribing to security system or switch them from their present system.
Feeling uneasy about the phone call, Ron called the sheriff’s department. He says the caller identified himself as working for ADT, however, company officials said the phone number, 208-690-3115, was not associated with ADT systems. ADT Security Services locally is an accredited business and has a valid state license.
After calling the phone number, BBB was told by recording device it was Smart Home Protection Services. Smart Home Protection Systems is not an accredited business. Smart Home’s license in Idaho is expired.
Company representatives also said the phone number was not associated with any of the sales representatives, and“Any person with that kind of sales tactic would no long be working for Smart Home Protection Systems in any capacity,” a representative stated.
BBB called the number Thursday morning, and the recording continued to say it was associated with Smart Home Protection Systems. There was no answer when trying to access a spokesperson.
BBB suggests those individuals looking to buy a home security system, contact at least three companies before selecting an installer. Buying a system off a phone conversation or from a door-to-door salesman is not usually the best procedure. To find out what kind of system is best for you, it is wise to call a professional installer. You may also get recommendation from the insurance company that covers your home.
Verify that the company is properly licensed and if they screen employees before hiring. Ask for references and check the company out with the Better Business Bureau and/or the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.
Due to the high number of complaints, BBB offers these tips:
- If approached by salespeople, get the details upfront and find out what they are selling.
- Be extra cautious with products that need to be ordered and can’t be delivered instantly. Take a moment to verify credibility and confirm affiliation by asking for printed materials listing full contact information. Avoid high-pressure offers that must be redeemed immediately.
- Be careful with personal information such as Social Security numbers; don’t give it out when asked.
- Pay attention to payments. Be wary of companies that offer limited options such as cash only. Before making any transactions, ask for receipts and about return policies.