The Truth About FREE Security Systems


You see it advertised everywhere, FREE security systems. Do you really think they are free? What do you think you are getting for free? Is the system providing you and your family with real security or the illusion of security?

Everyone knows there is no such thing as free, yet we all see constant advertisments for FREE security systems. The installation may be no charge or a very low charge but you are locking into a 3 year agreement for monitoring services usually to the tune of about $39 per month. The agreement is not cancelable and usually has some sort of automatic renewal clause that further binds you to the security contractor. If you inspect the contract closer you will notice a clause that that states the security company has the right to raise your rates yearly as high as 10% or the contractor can sell your contract to another larger company whom you might not want anything to do with. In most cases if you do cancel your alarm monitoring service they will download your alarm and turn it off.

The equipment you will receive for a FREE security system is usually the cheapest stuff out there. The control is typically incorporated into the keypad and can easily be disabled just by ripping the keypad off of the wall or the equipment is proprietary and can only be serviced or monitored by a particular company. Proprietary equipment marries you to the security provider and since they are the only ones that can service it you better hope they have prompt service if your system breaks. Don't even think of switching companies unless you want to pay for a new control, keypad and sensors.

Of course your FREE security system offers some protection but only for 3 doors. The rest relies on a motion sensor. What about the windows or other doors you ask? What do you expect for free, Fort Knox? As for a motion sensor being the back up, if you're going to have a false alarm its going to come from a motion sensor. False alrm fees usually start at $75 and go up from there. So much for free.

What you have with a FREE security system is the illusion of security. You do get a sign for your yard though. Most thieves know that all you have to do is cut the phone line to render the system inoperative and that the neighbors aren't going to hear the interior siren (that is usually built into the keypad that will attract the intruder to it and he will simply rip it off the wall). My hope is that your loved one doesn't walk in on the break in that the system was supposed to prevent.

In conclusion, if you are buying a security system, it is OK to pay for it. I recommend local companies that have been around for a while. Call the security system contractors and ask them if they will install a local non-monitored system, if they say no then they are not truly interested in your protection. Ask if the equipment is proprietary, you want to be able to change security companies if you are not happy with them. Ask if the system includes an exterior siren, interior sirens are useless if the phone line is cut. Ask if they provide cellular back up communicators to guard against a phone failure. Ask if they are licensed and how long they have been in business. Check references. You will usually receive superior equipment that is expandable when you purchase the system. I highly recommend protecting ALL perimeter doors and windows. I also recommend an exterior siren. For further security a cellular communicator is a good option as are a couple of portable panic buttons. Thats all for now.

The Electronics Guy

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