Over the past few years of reviewing security systems, we’ve tried to highlight the good in every security company. But this post is different. After days of reading negative user reviews, I’ve compiled a list of the most common complaints against several security companies.
Just to be clear, this post isn’t intended to destroy the reputation of any company. The goal is to let you know what to watch out for before signing a contract. I’d also like to point out that things might be different from one customer to the next. You might or might not receive the same treatment from these companies.
To make this post easier to understand, the complaints are divided into 5 categories: Products, Sales, Installation and Technician Calls, Billing and Fees, and Customer Support.
ADT is one of the largest security companies in the US, and also one of the most hated. They hold an A+ BBB rating, but that doesn’t explain why over 4,000 customers have filed complaints within a 3 year period.
Installation and Technician Calls
ADT hires subcontractors and dealers to perform installations or service calls, and that’s where most of the problems arise. There are reports of technicians who are unprofessional, rude, and clueless. They are also said to show up late, or in some cases, they don’t show up at all. Customers also accuse ADT of charging for appointments, even when they don’t solve issues.
Billing and Fees
To get started with a system, a sales rep will visit your home and provide a quote stating your monthly fee, installation costs, and other fees you will have to pay. But sometimes, there are hidden fees. For example, several customers complained that their installation fees were bumped up to almost $1,000 and there are technicians who are aggressively selling them additional equipment…ehem…commision… ehem.
Almost all negative reviews have one thing in common: ADT’s customer service is terrible. There are the long wait times, poor communication between offices, and unhelpful (and sometimes rude) customer service agents.
- 4000+ complaints filed through BBB over the past 3 years
- Technicians arriving late or not showing up for installation or service calls
- High installation fees
- Unresolved issues after service calls
- Early termination fees
- Overall poor customer service
Frontpoint is a reputable security company. A lot of review sites regard Frontpoint as one of the best security companies in the US, but it also has its fair share of complaints.
Frontpoint’s products are good, but some customers are uncomfortable with self-installation, which is required by Frontpoint. Other customers also claim they’ve received defective equipment. Frontpoint replaces faulty equipment, but it takes days for new devices to arrive.
- 72 complaints filed through BBB over the past 3 years
- Faulty products shipped to customers
- DIY installation causes problems on customer’s end
SimpliSafe has received a lot of good reviews because of their unique business style. They will sell you the equipment; then you can choose between self-monitoring and professional monitoring. However, some customers have had problems with their products and customer service.
There are several issues with SimpliSafe’s products. First is their base station, which communicates to the monitoring center via cellular signal. In certain areas, the base station works with Verizon only; while in others, both with Verizon and T-Mobile. Problems arise if there’s poor coverage in your area, but that can be solved by calling up SimpliSafe and asking them to switch your system’s cellular signal to the other provider (i.e. Verizon to T-Mobile or vice versa). If you have a Verizon-only base station, they might even send you a new one.
A more serious issue is false alarms. Customers say that SimpliSafe’s sensors go off for no reason, sometimes in the middle of the night. Naturally, it can lead to penalties if the police are called to respond.
According to reviews, SimpliSafe’s customer service is hit or miss. Sometimes they are nice and helpful; sometimes they’re unreliable. Sometimes they’re quick to respond; sometimes they will put you on hold for minutes. Also, the customer support phone line is only active between 9 AM and 6 PM (EST). If customers need help with their system at night, they will have to write SimpliSafe an email (and possibly wait for days before getting a response) or wait until the next day to give them a call.
- 42 complaints filed through BBB over the last 3 years
- Prone to false alarms
- Subpar equipment
- Customer support not always online
Vivint is one of the leading security companies when it comes to technology. They have a variety of sensors, cameras, and home automation products. However, what seems to drag them down is their customer service.
Technically, the problem with the product is the service that comes with it. When you have a security system with Vivint, you expect it to be monitored. However, several customers found out the hard way that their system is not properly relaying alerts to the monitoring center.
Vivint is known to send door-to-door salespeople to offer their services… even at night. Their typical sales pitch goes like this: They are in the neighborhood offering Vivint systems for a special discounted price that ends TONIGHT! You can take advantage of the offer if you sign up immediately. A sales tactic that should wave a red flag.
There are also complaints about salespeople who are too pushy, harassing, rude, or dishonest about things like contract length.
Installation and Service Calls
Vivint offers professional installation. However, the process doesn’t always go well. In one case, the technician left without properly activating the system. Unaware of the situation, the homeowner paid for months of inactive monitoring services. Luckily, they had a false alarm months later. They called Vivint to cancel the alarm, and that’s when they found out they’d been paying for nothing.
- More than 3,000 complaints filed through BBB in the last 3 years
- Pushy salespeople and shady sales tactics
- Installation issues
- Systems not communicating with the monitoring center
- Long wait time to get a hold of customer service reps
Almost all customer reviews about Link Interactive are positive. The only recurring complaint is about installation. Like Frontpoint, Link Interactive’s systems are self-installed, and yes, users don’t always find this easy. Other than that, there are no complaints against Link Interactive.
- DIY system difficult to install
LiveWatch has proved to be a good security company. They offer great equipment and monitoring services. However, user reviews reveal customer service as an issue.
A lot of customers and non-customers hate LiveWatch’s aggressive sales tactics. Customers who tried to request a quote through LiveWatch’s website ended up receiving multiple sales calls, emails, and texts per day. Their salespeople have a history of misleading customers. For example, they may tell a customer that LiveWatch can monitor their existing system simply by plugging in a new cellular module, not always true.
A lot of customers find the customer service not as “top-notch” as LiveWatch claims it to be. They are hard to reach, they put you on hold for minutes, and they don’t always do what they promise to do. One customer claims that LiveWatch charged $25 for every non-emergency call made to support.
- Aggressive sales tactics
- Customer support is hard to reach
- They don’t always deliver on their promises