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
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?
connections be soldered? Will all devices be tested thoroughly?
BUY OR LEASE - 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.
CENTRAL STATION - 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