The APX Alarm Scam: How a pushy salesman got me to sign a 3 year contract for an alarm I didn't want
I was just drinking my coffee after work minding my own business..
I got a knock at my front door and my little dogs went nuts with the barking. I went to go see who was there and found a young guy standing on my doorstep, about 25 years old, clean cut. At first I thought it was the water meter guy so I opened the door, but not too far or else the dogs would run out. I realized he was a salesperson, not the water meter guy, and stood outside on the doorstep to see what he wanted. Mistake number one.
I could almost tell right away that the guy was a sleeze ball and that he was trying to say all the right things, be my friend, smile at all the right times - something about him from the beginning seemed a bit shady and I should have listened to my gut. He started talking about how I must have heard how crime has gone up in the neighborhood, etc. even though he also said he was from the other side of the country so I'm not sure how he'd really know that. I live in a very safe town and crime has not been on the rise to my knowledge! He started telling me that APX has selected my house to receive "free" security equipment and that there would be no cost to me. He said that it would be a form of advertisement for them and that all they ask is I put their sign on my front lawn. I was like "yeah right, you mean to tell me that you have intentionally selected my house for this free equipment?" and he was like "well no, I mean it's on a first come, first serve basis and in your area we are installing for free about 60 units and we're already up to about 50." That seemed slightly more believable to me but I was all prepared to shoo him off and say no to an alarm system I knew I did not want or need!
But then I started getting sucked in. He saw my little dogs and asked what kind they are and I could see through his strategy of trying to get on my side but I fell for it anyway! He said that he also has a maltese at home! The guy told me that a lot of people get peace of mind even for their dogs knowing that they're protected. The best thing is that the system comes with a free smoke detector too that automatically calls the fire department for me in case of fire when I'm not home so my dogs could be saved! And there are no false alarms with this free smoke detector because heat and smoke have to trigger it and it knows the difference between smoke from a burning carpet and smoke from burning toast. Now I was starting to feel bad.. maybe I really should get one of these to protect the dogs and after all, I do live alone and heck, maybe I need one to protect me too.
He said also that he'd just been to the neighbors on one of my cross streets and that they were getting it and had concerns about crime, etc. Afterwards I thought about it and I'm not convinced really that any of my neighbors necessarily bought into this!
But then I was like "Okay, this is really not for free, so what is the catch - what do I have to pay?" and he told me that yes, there is a monthly service charge of $44.99 and even that is a discount from the regular rate because of the promotional offer he is offering me. I asked him if that was it, the $44.99 and he said there was nothing else to pay. I asked how long I had to commit for and he said 3 years but that I could get one free move anywhere in Canada or the USA.
He started talking as if he'd already made the sale, saying "we'll just install the unit in your house and put a sensor detector maybe near this front window here" and that kind of stuff. He said they could put another sensor on my back patio door - "you do have one, right? I've seen them in some of the other similar houses nearby." All he needed to know about that was do I have double or triple pane glass on the patio door. I told him I have no idea! Well, would he mind if I come in and take a look then to see? That's how he got in my house! Stupidly, I let him in.
The guy came in, looked at my patio door, explained how they would put the sensor on the door and again started talking as if he'd already made the sale. I asked how much time I had to think about it. He said that there was a 10 day no risk trial and that I really should sign up now to take advantage of the offer and he repeated that APX is only giving away equipment to 60 families in my town and they're already up to 50. If I think about it, it might be too late! While he was hanging out next to my patio door, he told me that "the Wentzell's down the road were concerned about darkness in their backyard." I know he was trying to make himself seem more legit by convincing me that my neighbors were taking him seriously. I don't even know who the Wentzell's are but I still bought it!
So on we proceeded to my livingroom. Can we sit down? Yes, okay. Then he just pulled out the paperwork and was like "Jennifer, there's just some information I need to get from you" and got me to fill out some forms. I could hardly believe I was signing up for this thing that I didn't want! It was like he was controlling my brain. After I was mostly finished signing the paperwok, giving my contact information and my emergency contacts, he did a run through of all the "equipment" I was getting for free. "The main unit is a $799 value but it's at no cost to you, one remote control is $99 but we're giving you two for free, the installation fees are regularly $299 but you don't pay for it, etc.etc." Then out of the blue he told me that there's an activation fee of $198 and that is to connect me to 911, fire department, police, etc. but that because this is a promotional offer, that they will pay half for me leaving me with only $99 to pay! I felt like I was taken advantage of! I told him that he didn't tell me upfront about any fees other than the monthly service charges because I specifically asked him in the beginning when he was still on my doorstep. He tried to weasel his way out of it saying that it's a governent fee and unfortunately they can't waive it. I said that it doesn't matter, that he still didn't tell me about it upfront when I specifically asked him! All he could say was with a red face "yeah sorry, I probably should have told you about that" and then went on to talk about my dogs some more to try to distract me.
So I was signing the papers for the contract even after he pulled a fast one on me with the activation fee. I was too far gone or so I thought and had to go through with it! All he had to do was make a quick call to check my credit and it came back excellent and he complimented me on this so we were all set to go!
The only other thing I had to do was wait for him to call using my phone to the APX customer service center for me to do a survey about him! At that point, with him sitting across from me in my livingroom listening to the conversation, it was pretty hard to give him anything but a glowing review!
But wait, what's that? A knock on my door?! What?? Two APX installation techs were at my door just as I finished up with the paperwork and survey as if by clockwork to install my free equipment immediately. Were they just hanging out down the road or something? How did they know when or if to show up? Did the salesguy press a button on his cell phone when I wasn't looking to signal to the techs to hurry up and show up at my door before I have a chance to come to my senses and change my mind? I think that's exactly what happened!
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So I let the APX installation techs in and my shady salesguy introduced me to them, said they would explain to me how to use the equipment and then he was on his way, again, I assume before I had a chance to come to my senses and tell him I don't want or need a security system!
About an hour later, the techs were finished, showed me how to use the equipment and I must say, for anyone who actually wants or needs a security system, APX looks pretty nice to me and probably works well. My issue is not with the equipment, it's with the very pushy sales tactics of the saleperson who got me to buy into the whole thing against my better judgment.
That same night, I was in total shock and could not believe what had just happened. I was just minding my own businses after work drinking a coffee and a few hours later, I'd signed up for a 3 year contract for a security system I didn't want or need. Unbelievable! I started looking over the paperwork I'd signed and reading the small print about the 10 day trial period and what I had to do to cancel the whole thing. You can't just call the company apparently, you need to fax them your cancellation request or else do it by registered mail. The very next day I sent in my cancellation request by fax!
I then called APX to make sure they got it and they did. The guy on the phone was nice but pushy as well. He asked why I decided to cancel and I told him that I don't want or need a security system! He said "wow, that's unusual - most people want to protect their home." He asked me if there was a money issue and that they would be able to waive the first 3 or 4 months or service to "help me out a bit." I wasn't getting sucked into this thing again, so just told him that I don't want it. He said "our techs are very busy installing equipment" and the soonest I can have one come out to uninstall your equipment is two weeks from now" which I said was fine but funny how they have no trouble showing up immediately to install the stuff but are too busy to come take it away.
Anyway, I guess it's over now and I learned my lesson! I will be monitoring this month's credit card statement more closely and for the next few months to make sure APX really doesn't charge me. I learned that it's best just not to talk to door to door salesmen because a lot of them are really good and can make you hand over your hard earned money for stuff or services you never would have even thought about by yourself.
Don't let these APX guys talk you into buying security systems if you don't truly want and/or need one! If you genuinely want one, however, as I said, it seems to be a pretty good system.