Thursday, July 17, 2008

We be scammed!

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Q: Why are there guys installing an alarm system in my house at 10 pm?

A: Because a representative of APX Alarms told Alessandra he was there to "upgrade" our system, and it was only when he was nearly done was it revealed we were changing alarm companies.

Apparently that's the MO of APX Alarms whose marketing people travel around the US tricking people into switching their alarm service to theirs.

See Apx alarm scam

I wasn't home at the time, but when I arrived I was introduced to the guy who was there to upgrade our system.

It was only when we set out to finalize the paperwork that we figured it out that they were going to charge us $10 more a month for their service (even though we got a new battery, smoke detector).

Since we were hesitant to tell him "No, rip this stuff out" because the guys were nearly done installing the equipment, the guy offered to pay us $240 to cover the what we would have paid extra over 2 years.

I have to admit to cognitive dissonance paralysis as I didn't know what to make of the whole scenario. The guy talked us into a 3 year contract (which is what we had had with ATD), but hey we got some extra key fob remotes, and a check for $240 bucks.

By the time we were done and everything had been installed, Alessandra and I felt as if we were victims of a hit and run. This is the interesting part we were told that we could try it out for a week then switch back, but after calling the company we were told we actually only had 3 days to cancel the service with no fees. It didn't help us that the guy was in his early 20s, friendly and willing to shell out what we thought was part of his commission in order to get us to sign. Unfortunately he also spoke Portuguese and had spent 2 years in Brazil as part of a church group (so he heard Alessandra talking to the friends that were over about whether it was a scam or not).

Needless to say we did that first thing this morning with both of faxing the form in from our places of business.

I hate to say this, but it's true. There are times when anyone can get steamrolled by anyone. That's what the science of sales does, it bypasses the brain and the next thing you know, you're fucked in the ass. Of course he told us about the fee while the guys were hard at work, I felt like an ass thinking about asking the guys doing the work to go and put it all back especially since Hey, we're getting a smoke detector bonus AND a cellular phone out to the monitoring service, plus...a lighted sign to put in front of the house.

Luckily there is an escape clause in the contract or we'd be hosed like so many others, contractually bound for 2500-5000 dollars to get out. We don't have that kind of cash on hand.

So the moral of the story is, if anyone comes to your house to upgrade your system. Tell em, "Sorry Dude, Cap'n Marrrrk says you're a fraud."

Meanwhile we feel like dopes, but dopes smart enough to hopefully opt out on time.

Wow. That sucks. After reading your post, I took a gander outside and counted several APX lawn signs on my street...
You can fool some of the people some of the time...or something like that. Try not to feel too bad that it happened to you, sounds like they've got their script worked out pretty well to steamroll honest people like yourselves.
We did get our cancellation notice in within the 3 days and we are out of the "contract". They come to replace our system and fix us up again with ADT in early August.
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