ADT’s Hidden Fees

I have to say that I have been less than impressed with ADT’s business practices. I have been a customer for about five years now, but as with many companies, the rubber hits the road when things go wrong or you need to make a change. Two years ago, we moved and ADT installed a new wireless based system in our house, giving us an installation discount for having been an existing customer. A wireless system means that they don’t have to hardwire anything except for the main control panel. All of the sensors, door and window contacts report back to the main system from small wireless battery operated modules.

As a result of some recent renovations, we have a new exterior door which I wanted to add to the system. Thinking it would be a simple process, I first called ADT and asked if they could send me a new door contact (which can’t cost more than about $10, it’s mostly just a magnet and a battery) and tell me how to enroll it into the system. Two reps told me that this was not possible and they would have to send out a technician for this who would cost a minimum of $150 for the first hour, plus some ridiculous hourly fee thereafter, not including the cost of the product itself. This essentially made the cost of the additional door contact more than the cost to install the entire system in the first place.

Feeling that this was blackmail and frustrated after talking to several managers, I told ADT to cancel my service. However, only then did I learn that I was under a three year contract, even though I paid for my system and pay ADT about $30 per month for monitoring. I was told that I would be subject to a termination fee and a notice period. So much for the fine print.

My advice is to do your homework before you sign-up with an alarm company, even if they are the biggest and most well known. Because of intense competition, ADT can’t raise prices on their systems or fees, so they are instead sticking it to you with all the extras and for service. At the same time, they are refusing to adapt to new technologies such as Internet telephony (VOIP), because their systems still only work with traditional phone lines, which most customers are moving away from. ADT’s answer to this? An expensive cellular based addition to your base system that costs much more to install and an extra $10 per month. There goes all of your savings by switching your phone line in the first place.

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