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Important Things To Consider When Purchasing a Security System


SERVICE - All systems eventually need service. Will the company respond quickly to a call?
Will the technician be qualified and trustworthy?

EQUIPMENT - Alarm equipment varies greatly in quality and user friendliness. As with most
things, big names tend to be mediocre, and have a certain amount of built in obsolescence.
Smaller companies tend to be slightly more expensive, but generally utilize better quality, full featured equipment. If you become unhappy with the company or their monitoring service, is the equipment serviceable by another alarm company or monitoring station? Is the equipment UL Listed? Is there any "false alarm" guarantee?

USER-FRIENDLINESS - Because of a myriad of available features, today's alarm systems
vary in user friendliness. Unless it is easy to use on a daily basis, some people may not bother
after awhile (like the VCR clock flashing in many of our homes).

EFFECTIVENESS - Alarms are no guarantee that someone will not attempt to break in. If
someone does try to break in, will the system actually detect them? Use common sense when
studying the content of a system. Design it as if you where the burglar.

WARRANTY - Will the company back the equipment and labor for a suitable length of time?
Is the equipment new, particularly on lease systems?

EXPERIENCE - Installing security systems (especially residential systems) is an art and
experience is everything. How experienced are the installers? Are they suitable for residential
work which tends to be more difficult? Do they have a "trustworthy" background? Is the sales
representative just that or does he/she have actual experience?

WORKMANSHIP - Will all wiring be concealed with no damages to walls? Will all
connections be soldered? Will all devices be tested thoroughly?

- Because of the large market of small systems now available to the industry,
some companies offer leasing. This is the largest "gray" area when buying a system, and should be scrutinized very carefully. Buying a system outright is generally better in the long run if the initial outlay is acceptable. If buying or leasing, is the monitoring agreement longer than three years? Five year contracts are common and should be avoided. Can the rate increase? When leasing can the company "disconnect" your system remotely? Some companies do not divulge that their contract is a lease agreement as opposed to a purchase, so always ask.

- This is the single most important part of the security package and the
one that has the potential for the most problems. Many company's stations are located several
states away and vary greatly in quality. Is the station manned 24 hours a day? Where is it
located? What is its track record and response time? Does it have adequate redundancy?

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