St. Louis, Mo., July 9, 2013 – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning area residents to be on the lookout for door-to-door salespeople offering free security system upgrades this summer after an 84-year-old woman from St. Louis said a saleswoman with Utah-based Vision Security tricked her into signing a long-term monitoring contract.
The homeowner said a Vision Security saleswoman got into her home last month by claiming she represented ADT, the company that had provided security monitoring for her home for the last 18 years. The homeowner said the saleswoman offered to replace ADT’s older equipment with a new, improved system.
“I never open my door to strangers,” the woman said, “but she (the saleswoman) said that ADT was upgrading my system in case of a power outage.” The woman’s children discovered later that their mother had signed a five-year contract with Vision, which has no connection with ADT.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said the number and pattern of complaints from consumers involving Vision Security indicate that the St. Louis case is not isolated.
“The BBB’s files are filled with cases almost identical to this one,” Corey said. “This appears to be a chronic, widespread issue with Vision and something the company needs to address quickly.”
Robert Harris is listed as CEO of Vision Security, which has an address in Orem, Utah.
A review of Utah BBB complaint records shows numerous cases in recent months in which homeowners claim Vision salespeople misrepresented their company affiliation or made false claims that Vision had been authorized to take over for consumers’ current security companies.
A consumer from Newport News, Va., described a Vision salesperson as “sneaky and manipulative” by claiming to offer a free security system upgrade. “The whole sales spiel was designed to fool you into believing they were from your current company,” the customer said.
A consumer from Spartanburg, S. C., said Vision Security representatives “lied to us from the beginning” by claiming Vision had purchased the monitoring contracts of Vivint, the consumers’ original security company.
A consumer from San Diego, Calif., said he was “blind-sided” by a Vision Security salesman who claimed he worked for Brinks and was offering a free upgrade to his Brinks system. “The whole time, I thought I had invited Brinks representatives into my home,” the consumer said.
The BBB Business Review for Vision Security shows a D+ rating, with more than 270 complaints in the last 36 months. Most of those complaints have been filed in the last 12 months.
The review describes Vision Security as a direct marketing company associated with various alarm monitoring companies across the country.
The BBB review notes a “pattern of complaints alleging misrepresentation during initial contact with the sales representative.” The review says that complainants allege that they are falsely told the representatives are with their current provider, that the representative is there to perform a system upgrade or that Vision has taken over for their current provider.
The BBB says that the company has been responding to and resolving complaints brought to its attention but the issues continue. Vision Security has said they do not condone the questionable sales practices and train their salespeople not to use them. The company also said it has a disciplinary policy in place.
The St. Louis woman’s son said this week that Vision has agreed to cancel the contract. He also said ADT has reinstalled its system at no charge.
“It was wrong,” he said of the sale to his mother. “I want people to be aware of this.”
The BBB offers the following tips to persons approached by a home security salesperson:
- Be wary of salespeople who say they want to upgrade or improve your current alarm system, or who claim they have been authorized to take over monitoring for your current system. If you have any doubt, call your current provider.
- Ask the salesperson for identification and contact information. Make sure the salesperson has any license needed to solicit business in your neighborhood. If you have questions, call the police.
- Do not rely on oral promises and do not sign any contract that you have not read and understood. Security alarm salespeople may make oral guarantees that are not a part of the contract.
- Home security companies routinely offer free equipment installation. The company makes its profit on monthly monitoring charges.
- Understand exactly what kind of system you are getting for your money and make sure you know how long you will be locked into a monitoring contract.
- If you have any concerns, ask for a day or two to research the company before signing a contract. Do not be pressured into making a hasty decision.
- Most contracts allow you to cancel within three days of signing an agreement. Many companies have special arrangements with senior citizens, giving them additional time to cancel.
- Ask for references in your area and contact them about their experience with the company.
- Check out a BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
Editor's Note: At this time, Vision Security, LLC has resolved complaints brought to its attention by the BBB. The 300 complaints received reflect a three year nationwide total. It has been brought to the BBB’s attention that the elderly woman’s complaint is being resolved. Vision Security has told the BBB that it will not tolerate any misleading or deceptive sales practices by its representatives. For more information, please contact Vision Security’s General Legal Counsel, Sean Brown, at email@example.com. Consumers seeking information about a home security company or who wish to file a complaint may contact the BBB at www.bbb.org or 314-645-3300.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, email@example.com, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, firstname.lastname@example.org