SPRINGDALE, Ohio — Many companies these days are eliminating termination fees for leaving early, but a Springdale man learned home alarm companies will still hit you with a hefty fee.
Mike Barker purchased an alarm system for his new condo after a salesman convinced him it would be a smart purchase for his security.
"I was approached by a door-to-door guy, who said he was with ADT," Barker said. "He wanted to know if we would be interested in an alarm."
Barker said he normally does not buy from door-to-door sales people, but he trusted the ADT name, so he agreed to sign up. Two months later, he needed to trim expenses, so he decided to cancel the nearly $60-a-month security system. That's when he was hit with not one, but two surprises.
Costly termination fee
"So I called ADT up and asked them if we could cancel," Barker said. "Then I found out that ADT didn't sell this to us. It was a local agent."
Barker called the local agent but found out it would cost over $1,000 to cancel the service.
"The cancellation charge was 75% of any unused months, and it was a 3-year contract," he said. "So I'm going to owe $1,295 just to get out of it."
Barker doesn't recall the salesman explaining there would be a 75% fee to terminate early.
ADT has a good reputation nationwide, with an A Plus rating from the Better Business Bureau. Many of its alarm systems are sold by third party vendors, though, and terms and lengths of contract can vary.
WCPO contacted the vendor, Smart Home Security LLC, and they said, "The salesman reviewed each section of the contract with the customer in person. The contract term of 36 months is one of the sections that requires a signature."
However, the company said, Barker is welcome to call them, to see if there might be some options. WCPO also reached out to ADT's corporate headquarters, and a spokesman said Barker would need to work things out with the vendor.
"ADT subsidizes the upfront cost of the customers' security and automation equipment, which is how we can offer no/low upfront fees," ADT said in an interview with CNET.
Barker said he thinks a 75% fee to cancel is absurd in 2021. "I was just flabbergasted."
If you are offered an ADT alarm system, find out who you are really buying it from. In many cases, it may be an authorized dealer who may have stricter terms than terms offered when purchasing straight from ADT.
Whether you buy from the main company, or a third-party dealer, ask about cancellation policies so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
Follow John on Instagram @johnmataresemoney
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com