Advice from Trading Standards
Posted on July 19, 2011
Buckinghamshire Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard against a company called DIRECT RESPONSE SECURITY attempting to sell "free monitored alarm systems".
Salespersons normally cold-call by telephone and advise residents that they have been selected to receive a "free monitored alarm system" and that a representative is in the area and will call on them to discuss the matter further.
The representatives calling at people's homes then make a number of false/misleading claims that there is a problem with crime in the area and convince residents to get a burglar alarm fitted. Once the alarm is installed, the residents are left with a large bill for future monitoring services they have been tricked into signing up to.
Trading standards across the country are reporting complaints of companies scaring consumers into accepting a free burglar alarm which then ties the victim to a contract costing thousands of pounds.
The Trading Standards Institute is urging consumers to say no to companies offering these free appliances, claiming they are working with the police or as part of a Government scheme, or that they are researching for a fire and security alarm system company.
The salesman will typically cold call, keen to make a home visit the same day to discuss the installation of a free or cheap alarm. The companies are reported to use high pressure tactics and to scaremonger about rising crime levels in the area, while some are reported to make misleading claims about the alarms being directly linked to the police or the availability of a hotline to police patrol cars.
What they fail to mention are the fees that residents will have to pay for the monitoring, upkeep and rapid response facilities, which can add up to thousands of pounds.
Some have found themselves tied to a six-year contract agreement costing up to £6,000.
Consumers who sign on the dotted line will have a seven day cooling off period during which they can change their minds.
Trading Standards are urging residents, especially pensioners and their families, to be on their guard and not to buy anything based on a cold-call. If you think you have been a victim of this or a similar scam and would like advice on your rights please call Consumer Direct on 0808 156 2259.
Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire
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