Unscrupulous rivals are going door-to-door in an attempt to try and trick ADT Home Security customers into switching to another security company, and usually, customers don't even realize it's happening.
"This is the worst year we have seen so far," David Bleisch, ADT General Counsel, said. "Lying and swindling people into switching, unknowingly switching their monitoring company."
ADT has received over 4,200 complaints just this year alone from customers who said door-to-door salesmen appeared to be from ADT, but then tricked them into signing up with another home alarm company. Some feel this number is low since those that have spoken up appear to be such a small percentage.
It is a tactic known as the "switchover" or "takeover" and it's one trick in the bag of some unethical door-to-door salesmen that have also prompted thousands of complaints to the Better Business Bureau.
"The door-to-door sales industry is fraught with problems, and the industry has enormous problems," said Jane Driggs, executive director of the Better Business Bureau. "Many complaints focus on home alarm security companies that have earned "D" or "F" grades from the BBB. They should be honest and ethical -- you're going to someone's door."
Other companies include some salesmen who exaggerate the crime rate in the neighborhood in hopes of scaring potential customers into buying, or telling them that they have been chosen for a "free" alarm promotion, even though they are actually signing up for a long term plan with expensive monthly monitoring fees.
The worst part is, the door-to-door salesmen are being trained to do it.
An video was published online showing Adam Schanz, owner of Alarm Protection based out of Salt Lake City, encouraging his sales representatives to knock every door and do whatever it takes to make the sale.
"Guys, nice people in sales, you don't make any money, go to McDonald's," Schanz states in the video. He then goes on tell his sales team to knock doors that have "no soliciting" signs because they are "easy."
ADT has been trying to stop the "takeovers" by competing home alarm sales companies by suing competitors accused of such actions and is offering cash rewards for help in doing so.
When it comes to the door-to-door salesmen, the key is to be careful, informed, and in no hurry to sign up for anything, no matter if they say it is free.