Many people sign up for alarm systems, and then end up having to cancel them. Alarm companies are very good at marketing their services, and it’s easy for someone to sign up without fully understanding the contract they’ve signed, but even harder for them to get out of it.
The purpose of this guide is to provide the most effective ways to get out of a security system contract without a cancellation fee.
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you are not in breach of your contract and are looking to leave the contract for other reasons.
#1 – Look In Your Security System Contract For Loopholes
You should know the terms of your contract. This would have been essential at the beginning however, assuming you are currently terminating your contract, you need to take a refresher on what exactly is in it and any cancellation policies; we will provide some basics of these contracts and what to look for.
There are three major types of contracts:
- A Fixed-Term Contract is a contract that has a limited term.
- A Renewal Contract is an extension of a fixed-term contract.
- An Open-Ended Contract is the most common type and will continue until either party ends the agreement.
Within the contract, there are some key terms and conditions that you should look for:
- Installation, maintenance, and service fees
- Length of contract: how long will this contract last?
- What happens if I terminate early? Is there an early termination fee?
- Is there a termination fee?
- What happens to my security system equipment?
- Early termination clause
Usually, you can get out of a contract under the following contract conditions
Security contracts generally have a clause that allows you to leave early without any termination fees if (given reason).
- New technologies promise a better quality of privacy and security for homeowners.
- The security company’s surveillance systems a malfunction
- The company breached its contract with you.
- The security company doesn’t offer their services to your new area
- You decide to return the product within three days of receiving it (FTC regulations) or by the end of the trial period, and there is no early termination clause.
#2 – Transfer Security System and Contract to Someone Else
The transfer of home security systems is not a difficult process. Some companies offer to transfer a customer’s system without breaking their contract, making this a very appealing option for you to get out of the security contract.
The bigger issue is transferring the basic electronics to someone else. You need to keep in mind that most of the time, the security equipment may be proprietary to the company, especially if you are on a monthly fee plan. Hence, you need to make sure that everything is transferred correctly to the new residents or house of the person that will be using it [for more information on this, see our section on how to transfer a security system to a new home.]
If you move out of your home and the new residents are not interested in installing security system, you would need to contact your home security company and request them to transfer the account to the new homeowners. The same holds if you have rented or sold your house.
When moving from an apartment, you would need to contact the building owner’s management office and ask for them to transfer the system.
#3 – Turn Your Current Contract into a Month-to-Month Plan
Turning your contract into a month-to-month plan can be beneficial for both the homeowner and the security company, so don’t be surprised if your contract allows you to switch to a month-to-month plan at a whim. Check the information in your contract and see if this is in the clause or call your parent company and ask. (1)
Homeowners need to know that many monthly contracts are cheaper than annual contracts. The monthly plan, in general, is more affordable for homeowners. They also don’t need to worry about renewing their contract every year.
On the other hand, it’s in the company’s best interest to offer month-to-month plans because they have more flexibility with their current customers. They can increase or decrease their rates and change payment terms at any time without dealing with an annual renewal notice (in most cases).
One of the benefits of month-to-month contracts is that you can end your plan as soon as you want. You can also change providers anytime and won’t lock yourself into a long-term contract. You will still be able to experience the same level of security protection but with more flexibility and opportunities to switch providers if you need to.
#4 – Take Legal Action to Break a Security Monitoring Contract
As a last resort, if you are in a contract and the company does not want to break it, legal action through a lawsuit may be the only way to do it.
The most common lawsuit to break a contract is when your lawyer can find a breach of contract from one party. A breach of contract is typically seen as a failure by one party to live up to their end of an agreement. This “breach” may be either intentional or unintentional. A contract breach may result in civil liability and criminal penalties, depending on the situation and what type of contract was broken. It can also have you contact your local consumer protection agency for further support.
Breaking a security monitoring contract through a lawsuit is not easy, but it could be your only option if the company is stubborn and refuses to let you move on.
Your first option would be to contact a contract lawyer in your area and assess your options. However, remember that sometimes the lawyer fees may outstrip the actual cost of staying in your contract and taking the loss with your security company.
#5 – Terminate with Proper Notice
Terminating a security contract with appropriate notice is necessary for all parties involved. The law dictates that a contract can be terminated, providing all other clauses are met by giving the required notice.
There are many steps that the person must take to terminate the contract, including: fully
- Sending a written termination statement [this can also sometimes be done over the phone or through email support]
- Providing written notice of termination [with some companies, you can do this through email or the phone support bracket
- Returning all property and equipment received for the security service
- Providing an accounting of the final inventory of property and equipment received for the security service
#6 – Confirm Your Cancellation
Canceling your home security system can be tedious, but it’s important that it’s done right, or you’ll end up being charged for an additional month of service.
- Call the company’s customer service that provided the service and cancel it over the phone.
- Email them using the cancellation form on their website. This is usually found under “Contact Us” or “Cancellation Information” on the website.
- Use a cancellation form they send you in the mail after being contacted by them, or send a cancellation request email.
- If none of these methods work for you, contact your bank and have them stop payment on your account for future monthly fees (Refer again to our legal and contract section to make sure there is no risk of legal blowback from the company)
#7 – Switch Providers
The task of switching security system providers can be intimidating and time-consuming. Finding a new provider for your home or business takes a lot of research and time.
There are many factors to consider to get the perfect security system, such as:
- Do I want a wired or wireless installation?
- What level of protection do I want?
- Do I need indoor or outdoor sensors?
- Read media and customer reviews of the security-providing services to make sure it’s reliable.
- Talk with security companies and customize home security contracts to fit all your needs.
- Consider the pricing of security monitoring contracts from different companies.
#8 – Remove & Relocate Monitored Security Systems to a New Home
The move can be a difficult one on many levels. The process will take time, and you may have to spend money to ensure that your home is as safe as before. However, the good news is that you have the power to control how difficult this process will be.
The first step is contacting the monitoring company representing the home where you are moving from. Explain your situation and ask if they can transfer the account address to your new location. If they cannot, you will need to sign up for an account in your new location and install the alarm system before removing any equipment from the old location.
When you move, you are usually allowed to take any of the security equipment you had to the new house. Most of the time, the company that installed your security system can reinstall it in the new house. They may charge a fee for this for certain companies, which can go up to $100, but it will be worth it because it makes relocating easier.
In case you do not want to pay to have the system reinstalled.
Remove all the equipment from your old residence and transport it safely into your new home. This includes all doors, windows, cameras, motion detectors, sensors, and keypads.
The security system needs to be set up the same way as in the old home. This means you need to research the company’s recommendations on re-doing your wiring.
Create a new Wiring Plan (if needed). (2)
This is an important step and must be done correctly to ensure no issues with the new home’s security system.
This may seem complex, and it is; that is why we recommend having an expert or the company you first contracted help you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If I switch, will I need to pay for new security equipment?
No. Some security systems allow you to use your existing security equipment with their service, while others replace your old system with their own.
You should ask the company what they will do before you switch. You should also ask them what equipment they offer, how much it will cost, and if you can bring your equipment in for an installation.
Is some security equipment proprietary?
In many cases, security equipment is proprietary. This can be frustrating for customers who want to choose their product or customize it. However, in some cases, the design is open-source, and customers can purchase the raw materials to create their version.
What happens to my current alarm system contract?
You may find that the new company that bought your current security provider does not offer the same system as your previous company. You will need to contact your provider’s customer service. [look into our first step on contracts and determine if you can get out of your contract.]
Is there a cost to switch alarm companies?
The answer to this question is not simple. It will depend on the type of alarm system, the company, and how long it has been in place. Many factors go into pricing.
(1) month-to-month plan – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/subscriptionagreement.asp
(2) Wiring Plan – https://www.scribd.com/presentation/333818252/Electrical-Wiring-Plan
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