department of consumer affairs

What You Should Know Before Signing a Home Security Contract

A Carlsbad’s woman asked NBC 7 Responds for help when she tried to cancel a contract with a home security system company, Five Alarm Security.

“My husband passed away a couple months ago,” Frankie Hebert said. 

Since then, Frankie said she has needed to make some changes around her Carlsbad home that included adding a home security system. She said she shopped around and finally settled on a local company, Five Alarm Security. 

“They came by, they discussed everything with me and then after about the third visit, we agreed on what I would need and what they would provide,” Frankie said. 

Frankie’s house was already set up for a security system so Five Alarm Security converted it to a wireless system with a digital doorbell and geofencing alerts. Frankie said she signed a contract for installation charges ($528 plus tax) and $45 monthly charges for three years. 

“In the state of California, there is a three-day cooling off period,” Five Alarm Security owner Sean Hamm told NBC 7 Responds, “It’s called the right-to-rescission and it’s three, clear calendar days.” 

Hamm said they usually wait a few weeks after the contract is signed, and the cooling off period is over before they install the equipment. Frankie said she was fine with that until she started using the system. 

“So the second night, when I tried to call and report the error on this, I was on the line for 15 minutes and nobody picked up the phone,” Frankie said. 

Frankie said she even accidentally set off an alarm that called the police. She said after the first weekend of having the system installed, she said she felt frustrated when some of the key features weren’t working for her. 

“I called them up and told them I just wanted to schedule somebody to come and take the stuff out of my house because I didn’t feel secure with their company,” Frankie said. 

Sean Hamm said his company could have resolved most of Frankie’s complaints but she wanted the system gone. Frankie told NBC 7 Responds she thought the cooling off period should let her out of the contract since it was only installed for a few days. 

According to California law, you only get three days after signing the contract, not three days after the installation. Frankie had signed the contract two weeks prior to the system’s installation. 

“It’s really hard for me to fault anything that we did,” Hamm said. 

Even though legally, Five Alarm Security did not have to let Frankie out of her contract, NBC 7 Responds spoke with Hamm and he decided to cancel the deal. 

“She still has the hardware, we’re out $1,500 in time and labor and she paid us for that,” Hamm said. “A nominal fee doesn’t begin to approach what it actually cost us to put the hardware in.” 

NBC 7 Responds found Five Alarm Security has positive consumer reviews posted online.

Frankie said she’ll shop around for a new security company and make sure she knows all the rules before signing the next contract. 

To read more about what the California Department of Consumer Affairs recommends you know prior to signing a home security contract, click here

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