These days it seems all good things that are free come with a contract: cell phones, satellite cable, and alarm systems, but is signing that 3 year contract worth it in the long run? Today were are going to explore the ins and outs of the security alarm industries use of contracts to provide consumers with a free alarm system and determine if the consumer is better off after signing.
So you’ve decided to get an alarm system installed at your location and you’re done some research to narrow down your needs and you’ve come to realize you have two main choices. You can sign a contract for 3 years and ABC Alarm Company will happily give you a free basic system to cover your locations basic needs, but before you sign on the dotted line you notice that XYZ Alarm Company will allow you to purchase the same alarm system and you will not need to sign a dreaded contract. So, what should an alarm user do?
The benefits of signing a contract to receive a free system up front are a reduced upfront cost, a reduced cost over the life of the contract, and protection from monitoring rate increases. Signing a monitoring contract is a great option for those who know they will be at their location for several years and who want or need to pay little in upfront cost. When a consumer signs a contract, which is typically 3 years long but can as long as 5 years, they receive a basic alarm package at no cost. This package typically offers a panel, keypad, 3 contacts, a motion detector, a siren, and a key fob. However, someone who knows that they will not be at their location for long, who doesn’t own the property or has an aversion to contracts should choose a no-contract option.
When a consumer chooses not to sign a contract term, the upfront cost of purchasing equipment is usually marked up significantly. The installing alarm dealer needs to make money to stay in business. He is either going to make it over the course of a contract term or by charging an upfront price for the equipment. Sometimes this upfront price can be more than triple the dealers purchase price. However, not being tied to a contract is a blessing for some consumers whose plan might change at any moment or who have had trouble with contracts in the past. When a consumer signs a contract it is a legally binding document which allows the alarm company to bring a consumer to collections for the balance of the contract term. If you are not the type of person who can commit to the contract then by purchasing the equipment upfront and negotiating the upfront cost is the best way for you.
Deciding which option is best for you can only be determined by your unique needs. It is best to weigh the two options and cost against each other from several competing companies before making a decision and try negating with the companies to bring the cost and the contract terms to what you find to be reasonable.