Customers reviewing AlarmForce products and services on various websites give the company above average reviews in several categories. Better Business Bureau (BBB) records reflect that in the warranty, delivery, and sales categories, AlarmForce has very few detractors. Other sites indicate similar degrees of satisfaction with what AlarmForce provides in these areas.
There does not appear to be much difference between U.S. customer praise and complaints and Canadian customers’ experiences.
The complaints fall into five categories: contract issues, product dependability, billing attitude, and monitoring center response.
The positive reviews reflect consumer satisfaction with the speed of delivery, the warranty on malfunctioning equipment, sales, and general company philosophy on how to support home and small business owners with intruder response.
Clients give high ratings to the company for the speed of delivery and service provided by the AlarmForce technicians. Once a customer signs a monitoring contract, the company provides quality and custom installation according to the majority of reviewers.
AlarmForce owns all their equipment. They manufacture and effectively lease it to their customers. Most complaints about malfunctioning equipment result in quick and speedy replacement. Users appear satisfied with the way that AlarmForce handles these problems.
Unlike many competitors, AlarmForce does not use high-pressure sales tactics. Most users write in their reviews that the sales force is polite, does not pressure anyone into buying things that he or she does not need, and that they receive what they contracted to obtain.
The basic protection offered by AlarmForce apparently fills a niche that most other home security firms fail to provide. The company’s simple and cost efficient systems are popular among a certain sector. The basic package has one motion detector and a two-way voice panel. There are no high-tech gadgets or elaborate installations on all windows and doors.
This simple setup, for many people, gives them peace of mind especially in low-crime areas. They have someone, the monitoring center, with whom they can immediately speak if there is an issue, and they know that the monitoring center will respond appropriately when they are away.
The company’s somewhat unique philosophy regarding deterring crime using their two-way voice product has gained acceptance and support from most community members. There exist several news stories and anecdotal accounts of monitoring station personnel warning off thieves.
Once an alarm trips, the monitoring station will announce through the console speaker that the home is monitored and that the police or guard force will respond. This often is enough for would-be thieves to vacate the premises immediately.
The VideoRelay home surveillance product too receives widespread praise. As with the rest of the package offerings, the camera is a simple device that the technician installs at one of the entrances to a house or business. Coupled with the two-way voice that is part of all AlarmForce packages, this allows the homeowner to view and communicate with whoever appears on his or her doorstep.
Many registered complaints on various websites and with the BBBs concern contracts. Many complaints mirror those registered against other home security companies and their contract policies.
Since the company always owns the equipment, this can cause headaches for people who move. The company does not consider moving a valid reason for breaking a contract. The home or business owner has the option of taking the equipment with him or her to their new home, or returning the equipment to the company. If the material is not returned, the customer will be charged. If the client chooses not to finish out the terms of his contract, the customer will also be charged for the remaining months of the term.
This causes headaches for consumers, especially those that must move due to being part of the military or because they were transferred. AlarmForce strictly enforces the contract termination fee, even for military members.
The equipment return often creates problems too. In several incidents posted, new homeowners told the previous owners they would use the security service, so the equipment was not returned. Ultimately, the new owners opted not to use AlarmForce but did not return the equipment.
In fairness to AlarmForce, the contract clearly specifies that AlarmForce owns the equipment and that the user must return it when the contract expires, or the owner or company terminates it. Nevertheless, the lack of flexibility to terminate a contract when a user must move hurts the company’s reputation. AlarmForce forces you to take their system with you when you must move through no fault of your own or suffer the financial consequences.
Contract renewal policies and tactics also receive poor marks by clients. In several cases, customers claim that, when their system was serviced, they unwittingly initialed a block on the service form that allowed the company to renew the contract for another three years.
Customers complain about auto-renewals also. Apparently there is a clause that unless the company hears from you, they will auto-renew the contract. If the customer does not find out, which is usually the case before the monthly fee comes due, the company will not allow the client out of the contract without significant hassle. Most complaints state that AlarmForce usually, if the notified after the first thirty days of renewal, charges a minimum of three-month’s monthly fees to cancel.
AlarmForce has suffered from product quality control issues since the company opened for business. AlarmForce manufacturers all their sensors, their VideoRelay product, and their two-way voice consoles. Users registered many complaints about the quality and dependability of some of these items over the past two decades.
One of the chief complaints concerns battery life. Most sensors manufactured by GE or 2Gig last five years or longer. AlarmForce batteries, according to many user reports, can fail after two-three years.
Sensors also appear to have more failure rates than those of other similar products made by competitors.
In the past few years, the battery issue appears resolved. A survey of various websites that contain AlarmForce reviews have very few complaints listed since around 2013 regarding battery life though there are a few.
The number of complaints concerning the quality of the VideoRelay cameras is much fewer than the number of complaints registered regarding the sensors.
Billing Attitude and Communication
Many complain about the attitude of the billing and customer service representatives. It is hard to determine the validity of these sorts of complaints given the strident tone of the reviewers. Nevertheless, other companies do not have similar numbers of complaints unique to this area. This appears to indicate a training issue at the very least, or a corporate policy regarding billing that is inflexible and not user-friendly in some cases.
The majority of the service and product issues listed on BBB and other websites concern the lack of response to questions, complaints or requests for service. Many customers in their write-ups refer to repeated calls and emails attempting to get problems fixed or contract issues settled. Allegedly, AlarmForce does not respond promptly or at all. Some of these can be attributed to the customer not receiving the response they wanted. Others, however, assuming the reports as written are accurate, suggests that AlarmForce customer relations need improvement.
Monitoring Center Response
Many high-profile complaints including some picked up by media concern the AlarmForce monitoring personnel’s lackadaisical response to threats. Protocols for monitoring center personnel apparently, according to quoted AlarmForce spokesmen, require two sensor alarms before dispatching police. There is also an unusual clause in their contracts that state, “… dispatch, whether by police authority or private response services, is not guaranteed nor is the response time.” This resulted in one instance of several hours delay and $20,000 of stolen property for one homeowner.
In fairness to AlarmForce, there are also many reports of monitoring personnel successful deterring crime. Besides the two-way voice speakers, AlarmForce monitoring centers have properly and promptly notified police when thieves tripped a sensor.
Reading through and analyzing customer reviews, it appears that overall AlarmForce does a reasonable job of providing the home security services they promise. The company philosophy resonates with a substantial percentage of the average homeowner. Their products do what they promise and at a reasonable cost compared to the competition.
Their customer service could use improvement, however. Their reputation would be enhanced if they would be less rigid in their contract enforcement policies. For more information on AlarmForce read our AlarmForce review.