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CANASA should take on unethical alarm companies

To summarize, these companies flood representatives in a certain area, and have been accused of engaging in less than ethical sales tactics in order to take your customer (and revenue) from you and switch to their system and monitoring service. The alleged sales tactics have included misleading the consumer that this is an upgrade to your existing system, that the consumer’s company has either gone out of business or is transferring the accounts to this new company, your existing supplier is changing to this new company, or a combination of deceptive misinformation. There have even been allegations of salesmen not leaving until contracts are signed and other hard sell tactics being used.

September 1, 2010  By Ivan Spector

The problem and the associated number of complaints have reached the point that the Electronic Security Association (ESA) has come out with a stricter Code of Ethics and tougher new standards of conduct for its members. These include:

• Enhanced identification for sales people, including photo identification cards and which clearly state who the representative works for when making a sales call
• More respect for consumers — when requested a sales representative will immediately discontinue their sales presentation and leave the premises
• No false accusations about competition
• Improved customer contract requirements
• Better refund policies

While we may not have as prevalent a problem in Canada, believe me that these issues exist and will continue to escalate over time — if not this summer then in summers to come. You need to stay close to your clients when these issues arise. Communicate with them on a regular basis, and begin using email as an important if not primary means of contact. It is cost effective and easy. You should advise your clients to be very wary of allowing anyone but an authorized representative of your company to service or program their security system.
I know of an alarm company in the U.S. where the problem has become so bad in their region that they are using a pre-recorded phone message to contact their clients to advise them of what is going on. Not only is this proactive, but demonstrates a clearly defined solution regarding a problem that their clients may be faced with.

As an industry that struggles with a perception regarding professionalism and with regulators adopting a more microscopic perspective on what we do and how we treat our clients, it would be highly appropriate for CANASA to demonstrate some leadership on this issue, consistent with what has been done with the adoption and implementation of Bill 88 in Quebec. Stay tuned.


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