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The APX Alarm Scam: How a pushy salesman got me to sign a 3 year contract for an alarm I didn't want

Updated on March 13, 2011

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!

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.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Well, we have had APX well now Vivint. since Jul 2007, and I must say I'm not to fond of the new name. Their services are great, when we were remodeling our kitchen, we had to pop-open a door sensor to screw back into the wall, within 1 minute of opening it, APX was calling us to tell us that the sensor was being tampored with, we told them it was us, they asked for verbal password. The monthly cost isn't as expensive as the other companies we were looking at being that we live in Baltimore City. We have 2 glass breaks, 3 door sensors, the old panel, (the big one), smoke & fire, and 2 keyfobs, and I have to say I'm glad we close them, our dogs and cats, mainly dogs, bark at everyone that come in the door, but our salesman, the dogs never even barked, he was very nice and calm, one thing though, the installation techs, were there like instantly, and they completely waived our fees, but monthly, their responce time is un believeable, I have to say I love APX(Vivint.) I wouldnt go to any other company.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You didn't get scammed, you just didn't have the sense to speak your mind and say no. He DIDN'T MAKE you sign the papers, YOU signed the agreement.

      All sales people uses tactics, after all they are mostly working for commissions and have families or other expenses to pay for too. They may use tactics, but never flat out lie to you. If the representative didn't mention something to you right off bat, it happens. Most of these sales people may have had little experience and were nervous, theres a lot of training they have to go through and not so easy to remember every darn step of the process.

      Again, to reiterate, you weren't scammed, you just didn't have the stomach to say no. So not their fault, only yours. APX has been around for a very long time and has a large customer base (believe they are around 3rd or 4th in security systems, but moving up very quickly) and has great equipment. That one day you get robbed, house burns up, or anything of the sort happens, dont go regretting you didnt protect yourself.

      Don't put down a company's name because you allowed yourself to get into something you didn't want.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Dont knock someone for trying to do his job you didnt have to buy it plan amd simple its not just. Door to door salesman its any salesman so instead of bitching online and ruining for other salesman tht are just like u trying to make a living, if u didnt want it dont sign up ur fault not his, in my opinion ur lucky u didnt put a name cuz ur whole essaybwas slandering to him and apx grow up and realize u signed the papers

    • BioMedGirl profile image


      8 years ago from Corpus Christi, Tx

      That sounds like a pretty typical story of a door to door salesman. I NEVER listen to the door to door guys unless it's a neighborhood kid I recognize selling some fundraiser or another.

      I used to have a bit of fun with the telemarketers by trying to reverse sell them an item that was 'superior' to the one they were selling.. It's a great way to waste their time like they try to waste yours! Now I just screen my calls or hang up though.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I got scammed by one of their "salesman" The LLC I own with my Dad, owns a

      property where they scammed the renters into purchasing one of their systems.

      The salesman told me that the company wouldnt install the alarms without

      specific permission from the homeowner...I happened to be working on the

      property the week he came by and and I agreed to sign of on it...6 months later

      when my renters had stopped payment on a 3 year agreement, I received a bill

      from a collections company for $1600 and change. What i "signed off on was a

      purchase agreement...I was busy painting on a ladder and I didn't read what i

      was signing like I should have.

      As you probably already know, the APX Alarm Representative I spoke with said that whatever the salesman said was between me and him, and since the salesman was no longer an employee there, the only way to "resolve" it was to find someone else to "take over" the account or turn it on myself, since its installed at a rental property I have no way (or desire) of doing that...I can only assume I was bilked into this because my credit was better than my renters, and that he ran a credit check without my knowledge. It must have been the only

      way to get the sale.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Either way, you were dumb enough to sign a contract and let him into your home. Next time, don't answer the door.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I use them and LOVE them. Before getting an alarm system my apartment was broken into and over $6K worth of items were stolen from me. Since then I've never been without one. When my house was built they installed an ADT system. It was basic and ok but their service was terrible. Once I accidentally set off the alarm and they never called. So I called them to be sure they weren't dispatching police and they told me "ma'am we only dispatch after a security alarm has been going off for over 60 seconds". WTF??? So in an emergency I should wait 60 seconds before doing anything with the alarm?? Needless to say I was more than happy when the APX people showed up with only 3 months left in my ADT contract. Like everyone else I was a little skeptical at first. They had already installed in two of my neighbors. What sold me was the features. There is an iPhone app for you to arm, disarm and remotely monitor your system. The system has a SIM card so there is no home phone line to worry about. If the alarm goes off it rings to the center and they actually speak into the box in your house to listen and confirm everything is ok. Seriously it is the best decision I could have made. Their after sale customer service is amazing. Very helpful and friendly. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a security system. It's top notch!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You're a moron. Pushy salespeople doesn't mean it is a scam, it just means you can't say "no". Why couldn't you give an honest review of the salesman during the survey? Because you were worried about hurting his feelings? Geesh, how many girl scout cookies and magazine subscriptions every year? Learn to say no.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This isn't a scam, they are a real company that provides the services that they say they do. You signed up for it, because you couldn't open your mouth and say no. You said it was like the salesman was controlling your mind, but we all know that isn't true. Don't blame the company for you being unable to say a simple NO. I don't like door to door salesman either but, you act like if he were a car salesman and you went to a car dealership he would have sold you a car you didn't want.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a scam in my eyes. They came to my door and told me they would give a free system if I would display a APX Alarm sign in my yard. The salesman said after a year if I wasn't satisfied, I could cancel after a year. I signed up, after two years I sold my house and moved into a house with a better security system. I called APX to cancel my service and they told me I would have to pay off my contract of my contract $1750.00. So now I'm paying a monthly payment of $50.00 security service for the next two years of service I don't use. A scam in my eyes.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      First off NOTHING about this was a scam, you just don't know how to deal with people and tell them NO.

      I have had APX, Kirby, window treatments, an electric company and some kind of house cleaner salesmen come by my house in the first 6 months of living here. Salesmen will always be pushy because its their job... I bought the APX alarm (got the same deal as she did) and bought a Kirby. I was able to get great discounts because "I" took advantage of them. I knew they were trying to make a sale and I never accept the asking price of something. I was able to get them to put an alarm on my shed door which wasn't connected to the house. I am very happy with both of my products. My husband loves the Kirby and uses it all the time and I love our APX alarm. The smoke detector will go off if you smoke out the house cooking bacon but they will call to see if there is an emergency. APX has also replaced my thermostat and gave me a large pack of energy saving light bulbs for free. There customer support has been very friendly and helpful anytime I have called them with a question. Their sales man had a name badge and offered to wait if I wanted to call the company to check on who he was. The alarm was also installed the same day which I appreciated so I didn't have to wait around the house another day for them.

      If you don't want something do not let them in. If you do let them in just say no thank you and ask them to leave. If you think its a scam ask to see ID.

    • profile image

      Rev. Nic 

      8 years ago

      I didn't find any scam within what my parents told me about their experience on alarms. Quite honestly, my parents had been considering an alarm system because they knew crime was going up in similar areas due to the devastating affects this downward economy is having (& on honest people). My parents are great judges of character. They have hung up on many, slammed the door on many, the list goes on. What this salesman did is definitely called doing his job. If you had a "better judgment" of doing something else, then you allowed yourself to get "scammed" thereby, in essence, scamming yourself! If you don't want it, don't get it. That doesn't seem hard to me. Everything the alarm salesman did to you was in honest appreciation of his job. He has to make a living & I applaud him for doing it. I wouldn't applaud any one for entertaining the motion & listening to the guy (wasting his time he could be making a real, final sale) buying the product, & then being ticked at yourself & canceling the sale because you couldn't hold your ground on something you felt you didn't really need.

      You're right about the product being a great product, though. I wish you would have kept it. It is important to keep houses & possessions safe & it's certainly not a scam for a person to utilize the information about the person that is apparent (i.e. your dog) to help the home dweller feel that they might actually need a little bit of protection. I'm personally very happy that my parents took the offer & received this alarm system like they did. Since there's no kids around & they live alone (with their dog) it has been a worry of mine that they need to be protected. I guess growing up & me & my sisters moving out & everyone "moving on" while my parents stay put had this affect on me. I'm more than happy with the product & if by chance my parents did get scammed into their alarm system ... well then I'm actually okay with it because of their safety (& I didn't talk to any salesman).

      Another thing, their costumer service has actually been very helpful. I visit them several times throughout the year & I needed help a couple of times. It has even gone off once on a break & I didn't know what to do. Knew what I needed to tell the man over the speaker, though, & he helped me to fix it. The price of safety & being secure in this world is priceless & the actual price they put on it combined with their service to the costumer is VERY much a good deal.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh boy I have had almost the exact thing happen to me with APX alarm systems I think they are very pushy and un truthful in their dealings PUSHY PUSHY

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Correction on my previous comment: what I meant to say was that there is nothing about APX that IS a scam. Massive typo.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Okay, it sounds like you're one of those older people that's always afraid of getting scammed. I promise you, there is nothing about this company that isn't a scam. I work for APX, and I would NEVER work for a company that I thought was dishonest or doing something that I disagree with. You have no idea what a good deal you get with being an advertisement house. How do we know about the crime in your neighborhood? We have people that do research on areas all over the country a VERY long time in advance. We also get told by the residents we talk to about things that have been happening. Mentioning your neighbors isn't a scam either; we never say something that isn't true. If we tell you your neighbor's helping us, they are. And most people actually appreciate that the techs show up so fast to install the system right away, it's a customer service thing. And no, we don't have magic cell phones that we can push a button on and tell a tech to descend on your house and begin installing, we'll usually just call them and give them the address to be at. I promise you there is NOTHING dishonest about this company.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Had the exact same experience yesterday almost verbatim dialogue as the lady in the article. Too funny!! Had the good sense to say no. Bought a Kirby once against my better jugdement. Never again!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Also, if you want to cancel you have to cancel at least 30 days before the end of your contract and if you don't cancel in time they automatically sign you up for another 3 years. The customre service is awful!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      So because you couldn't say no, you feel you were scammed?

      Give me a break.

      I once thought about being a door to door alarm salesman(for another company). How did they know crime was up in your area? They do research, they know their market.

      Why were the installation techs there so fast, again if they know the area, their salesmen are good(seems like they are), they can complete the transaction quickly.

      Would you rather have waited, scheduled a time for them to come by later to install when it was less conveinient for you?

      Sounds like good business to me.

    • KenWu profile image


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      The sales person had employed some NLP tactics to get you into the buying without you noticing. Everything that he did lead you to your unconscious decision. Pretty cunning tactics but most person in the sales industry know how to use such tactics pretty good.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Kapileswar... Sounds like someone is controlling your brain right now regarding that statement you made!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      from most of these articles its sound like the sales reps were very honest in what would be involved price, agreement length ect.. and one thing you have to keep in mind is that in sales sometimes people absolutely love the product after but weren't sure at the begining until AFTER they were sold. so for the fact you listened to the sales rep and accepted what he had to offer doesn't mean you were scammed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      good hub-- given the informaation , why to let any one else controlling brain of ours.

    • kenhubs profile image


      8 years ago

      Sorry about your experience. Honesty and respect is the way; if you're tricked into a sale, don't be suprised if you're tricked again at a future date. First impressions are a good indicator of what to expect from a company.

    • OldSkoolFool profile image


      8 years ago from California

      What's the big deal, so you got drawn in by a sales person...That's why they are called "sales people". They try to make sales. You must of had some interest otherwise you would of just told him know and shut the door. I just think you had buyer's remorse like 75% of the purchasing public.

    • Diane Inside profile image

      Diane Inside 

      8 years ago

      I had one of these apx guys on my door step last year, my husband actually let him in. I shot it down though, my husband was actually interested, but I stood my ground. The guy probably thought I was one witchy woman, but I have dealt with door to door salesmen before. He left without making a sale. I actually went to lowes and installed an alarm system myself. It is not a monthly charge and it doesn't call the police or anything like that but at least it lets me know if anyone tries to enter my home, without my knowledge. It will even let me know if anyone enters when I am not home. I can add fire detectors and so on if desired, as well as other entrances such as garage, or basement. Anywhere it works really well. Thats good enough for me and no monthly fee.

      Glad you got it cancelled.

    • KatMalone profile image


      8 years ago

      Especially now with the economy being what it is, I have found you need to be suspicious on everyone, and everything.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You got tricked. You say in the article that you could see through his tactics but I don't think you could. I think you just got irritated after you realized you got sold. Whatever. The funny thing is if you would have just pressed him on the installation fee he would have waved it. That's the thing with door to door sales. Remember you can always barter down to a better deal.

    • cblack profile image


      8 years ago from a beach somewhere

      I once had 2 Kirby vacuum salesman come to my door carrying paper towels and laundry detergent. They said we could have these free gifts if we would let them show us some cleaning products. They went to the truck and one of them came back with a vacuum and the other one took off in the truck. He didn't come back for 3 hours while the guy sat in my house insisting we buy a vacuum. It was ridiculous. He even drank a couple of my husbands beers and smoked some of my cigs.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      People please just learn how to say NO! for phone marketing just HANG UP THE PHONE, for laid back people, hustlers, free loaders when they approch you on the streets just tell them get the $#@%& away from me, get off my back , just tell them I don't have money, and my 100% tactic that always work i just IGNORE THEM walk faster don't give a chance to fool you, specially in this time. GOOD PEOPLE BE STRONG

    • ryancarter profile image


      8 years ago from Falkville, Alabama

      PurpleOne, I have to agree about the activation fee. I have had similar experiences when it comes to surprise fees. Verizon Wireless got me with a few during my time as one of their hapless victims.

      When you say a phone is free, don't charge an activation fee after the fact. I'm not sure how APX handled their fees, but Verizon would just tack it to your first bill.

    • Shona Venter profile image

      Shona Venter 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      It seems like pushy salesmen are here to stay, unfortunately. Fair enough, they are trying to do their job as well, but they also need to learn to understand when a potential client is actually not interested in what they are trying to sell.

      Normally, one of the best tactics is to ask them, "Which part of "I am not interested" are you having difficulty in understanding?""

    • Sa`ge profile image


      8 years ago from Barefoot Island

      interesting and informative hub, thanks for the heads up!

    • PurpleOne profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      ryancarter, what about the activation fee that he didn't bother to tell me about upfront when I asked him if there were other fees? he told me no.. then later, when he had me signing all the paperwork, he slipped it in.. that doesn't seem shady to you?

    • ryancarter profile image


      8 years ago from Falkville, Alabama

      Ummm, the "shady" sales guy sounds like he was just doing his job, LOL. Look, if you didn't want it, you did the right thing by cancelling immediately. I'm sure a LOT of people cancel out of this, and that probably shows up in the guy's monthly employee review.

      Nothing about the sales pitch, or how the guy handled the sale screams SCAM to me. Acting like you've already bought the product is one of the oldest tricks in the salesman book. The next time you're in Radio Shack or Sears or someplace, pay attention to the salesman when you ask for some help. Most of the time they'll not only show you what you're looking for, but go ahead and head to the checkout desk, asking how you'll be paying today!

    • Entourage_007 profile image


      8 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

      Hmm I never heard of APX but apparently they do have a cost per action plan setup online. Thank you for giving me a heads up.. I do not like door to door salesman.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      You work for a competitor and probably use the same tactics so of course you don't see a problem with it. Let people decide for themselves and leave when they tell you "no".

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The APX company uses Very Good Equipment. (No) I actually work for a competitor and I am bry familiar with the company, equipment, sales tactics, and most importantly their service. It sounds to me that people dont like being "sold". My only concern is how acn you say with 100% certainty that you willnot have a NEED for a Home Protection Systems. Most people hear security and think "I live in a safe neighborhood". That may be the case, but there is also the threat of fire, or personal injury that would make having a Quality system INVALUABLE. NO one wants to have a NEED for a system, but most folks understand you have to "have" the protection/prevention/detection system in place BEFORE the issue arises. You won the battle by geting the system removed, lets hope it doesnt cost you the War by not having it when you really need it.


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