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Idahoans to receive refunds from Utah Security System Company
Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has reached a settlement with a Utah home security company accused of violating Idaho’s Consumer Protection Act. The settlement requires the company, Vision Security, LLC, to implement significant changes to the way its sales representatives interact with Idaho consumers.
“The purchase of a home-security system is a significant investment and consumers should feel safe knowing that the people selling them are providing truthful and honest information, without hidden fees or misrepresentation,” Attorney General Wasden said.
Consumers reported to the Attorney General that Vision Security’s door-to-door sales representatives misrepresented the terms the company’s security system contracts, and that representatives failed to fulfill their promises to “buy-out” consumers’ current security system contracts.
Consumers often ended up paying monthly monitoring fees to two companies or paid large termination fees to cancel one of their monitoring agreements. Additionally, Vision Security’s door-to-door sales contracts failed to provide consumers with accurate information about the time allowed to cancel contracts.
The settlement requires Vision Security to make several changes to how it does business in Idaho. For example, the company’s sales representatives:
•Must wear identification that includes the sales person’s name and affiliation with Vision Security.
•Must inform the consumer of his or her three-day right to cancel the agreement.
•Must not tell consumers that their current alarm monitoring company went out of business or is affiliated with Vision Security.
•Must not misrepresent the number of security systems Vision Security has installed in the consumer’s neighborhood or misrepresent that a consumer’s home is located in a high-crime area
•Must not misrepresent the condition or operability of the consumer’s current security system.
•Must not promise to “buy-out” a consumer’s current monitoring agreement.
Idaho consumers who paid early termination or “buy-out” fees to their prior alarm monitoring companies may be eligible to receive restitution. To apply for restitution, consumers must submit a complaint form and supporting documentation to the Attorney General before September 8, 2014. For detailed eligibility information and to download a complaint form, consumers can visit the Attorney General’s website atwww.ag.idaho.gov.
During the summer, security system companies hire traveling sales agents to go door-to door, making “cold-calls” on homeowners. In some cases, the salespeople use high-pressure or deceptive sales tactics to get potential customers to buy expensive equipment and services that consumers don’t need or want. The Attorney General’s Office advises consumers to avoid sellers who:
•Make a time-limited offer and claim that you need to act now.
•Urge you to sign a contract stating the equipment is “free.” To get your “free” equipment, you will have to sign a long-term and expensive monitoring contract.
•Pressure their way into your home and then refuse to leave. It is not impolite to tell a salesperson you are not interested. It is much easier and safer to say “no” at the doorstep than try to get the salesperson to leave once they are inside your home.
•Use scare tactics, such as talking about a rash of supposed burglaries in your neighborhood.
•Target homeowners who have signs on their properties for security systems with competitors.
•State or imply that they are from your existing security company and that they are there to “upgrade” or “replace” your current security system. Once inside your home, they may install a new system and have you sign papers that include a costly contract for the monitoring service.
•Claim your security company has gone out of business, that they have taken over the accounts, or that you have to buy new equipment and sign new contracts. Normally, you would be notified of a change like this by mail, not by an unannounced visit from another company’s representative.
Consumers or businesses who believe a door-to-door seller has engaged in misleading or deceptive business practices are welcome to file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Complaint forms are available atwww.ag.idaho.gov or by calling 208-334-2424 or toll free in Idaho at 800-432-3545.