4 Reasons to Avoid “Authorized Dealers” for Home Security Systems
What does it mean to the customer when a burglar alarm company says they’re an “authorized dealer?”
Some of the biggest, most well-known brands that install home security systems allow 3rd-party companies usage of their logo and corporate likeness to market, sell and install products as “authorized dealers” to consumers. This enables the 3rd-party dealers to offer systems from the big brands at a lower upfront cost than buying direct. In many cases, the homeowner is none-the-wiser. Although they may feel like they’re getting a bargain initially, buying from a 3rd-party dealer can lead to some very significant issues down the road, compromising security and life safety and causing serious headaches for the homeowner.
Note: Supreme Security Systems does NOT engage in this practice – we never have, and never will.
The way it typically works is the 3rd-party company will launch a marketing campaign, usually involving fliers with the big brands’ logo all over it, sent to the homeowner and followed up with cold-calling and door-knocking. An alarm system installation is offered at a very competitive rate, sometimes even “free.” Once the installation is completed and a short time period has elapsed (usually 90 days) the big well-known brand will then “buy” the account from the dealer so that they can take over the monitoring and ongoing maintenance. It should be noted that this usually all happens behind-the-scenes and in most cases, the homeowner has no idea.
At the end of the day, there are many valid reasons to work directly with the burglar alarm system provider and avoid the 3rd-party entity… even if they are an “authorized dealer.” Here are the top four:
Reason #1: The installer is wrongly incentivized
When the installer is employed by the alarm company, they work full-time with a salary and benefits. Even if they receive commissions on any upgrades, their main objective is to ensure that the installation goes smoothly, because if they botch jobs and cause the alarm company to have to keep returning to the residence, and they’ll end up costing their company money, and ultimately, losing their job. When the installer is a 3rd-party entity, their incentives are different. Their goal is to get the homeowner to sign a contract… then drive up the size of the order so they get a bigger commission. After a set time period of a few months, they don’t care what happens, since they are freed from any obligations. The bottom line: they are far less motivated than a full-time, salaried installer to spend the time, energy, and resources to ensure that the job is done right the first time.
Reason #2: You may not get the best equipment
If the customer engages directly with the alarm company, then the company will send the most up-to-date newest equipment to be installed. However, a 3rd-party dealer is less likely to do this. They’re much more likely to install cheaper remanufactured equipment and odd parts leftover from other jobs. (Remanufactured equipment means it was broken/damaged, “fixed”, and then put back into circulation.) Even if they are forbidden by the dealer agreement to do this, many dealers do it anyway. Unfortunately, the resident won’t know this was done… until they need to fix or replace something, and the process becomes delayed and more costly because the part number doesn’t match the rest of the installation. Usually by this time, the 3rd-party dealer has basically zero interest in helping to rectify the situation, as they’ve long since collected and cashed the commission check from the sale.
Reason #3: Installers may be questionable
A reputable security systems provider actually stakes its reputation on the well-trained, fully licensed, experienced technicians that it sends out into the field. However, a 3rd-party dealer will usually have no problem sending out technicians who are subcontracted, and quite often these are low-paid temporary employees with unverified work histories, and possibly even criminal records. Speaking from experience as a long-time employer in the security systems industry (over 80 years), the labor market for the most highly skilled installers is very tight. One will never find the top technical talent in the industry working for the 3rd-party dealers, simply because those jobs are much less stable and, most importantly, the 3rd-party dealers tend to pay much less than the rest of the industry.
Reason #4: They use high-pressure sales tactics
Life can be pretty hard out there for the 3rd-party dealer. They endure brutal price competition, both from other big alarm company brands and their authorized dealers, and their own brands and their other dealers in the same geographical territory. Not to mention the security system companies in the area who don’t use a dealer network. What this means for the homeowner is that the dealers only make money on volume, which in turn means they deploy very high-pressure sales tactics. This takes the form of aggressive sales personnel who dodge questions, rush decisions by offering pricing for a “limited time only” and give verbal promises that, somehow, don’t end up in the written contract.
Whether it’s a 3rd-party dealer or not, a trustworthy home security company will devote whatever time and resources necessary to address concerns, without rushing you into a transaction.