Johnny Base 10/2/2015
ADT VS FrontPoint Security who’s the winner? Recently, I called the two most popular home security companies, ADT and FrontPoint, to compare their products and service. I want to know exactly what the experience is like to call both companies. How knowledgeable, pleasant, or not pleasant are their sales agents. And what each company offered and how much they charged. I went to each company’s website and found they had very similar technological capabilities. But neither company’s website gave me an idea of how much it would cost to get started or how their contracts worked. So, I went to the phone.
First I called ADT using one of the three numbers I got from their website.
Initially, I got an automated message telling me to press ‘1’ for inquiring about my home, or ‘2’ for a business. After pressing ‘1’ I was told me to press ‘1’ if an existing ADT customer, or ‘2’ if a new customer. After pressing ‘2,’ another message informed me all of their agents were busy helping other customers and one would be with me shortly.
In two and a half minutes, a pleasant female voice introduced herself. She asked my name and how she could help me. I told her I was interested in a new home security system and wanted to know how much installation and monitoring would cost. She immediately asked my address. This is a sore point with me. I don’t like giving my address out to sales people- or anyone I don’t know, for that matter. One issue is, I don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements or junk mail from the company with which I’m speaking, or anyone to which they might forward my information. I told the ADT representative this and she assured me my information could be tagged ‘do not solicit’ and that the information was mainly to help sales with pricing and to see if my house was already wired for monitoring. I informed her I was only interested in cellular monitoring in which case my exact address shouldn’t matter. She said she still needed my address to make sure my house would have cellular coverage. I assured her it did. She asked for my address again. I repeated what I already said (getting irritated by now) and she said she was transferring me to a sales specialist. After 2 minutes, a professional male voice answered, asked my name, and how he could help me. I repeated the same issues expressed to the first representative. He immediately asked for my address.
1) Exclusively sells/installs Ademco-Honeywell equipment
2) Offers monitoring contract for other brands of previously installed equipment
3) Can change contract rate after a year
4) If dissatisfied with rate change, customer can cancel contract
5) Minimum 3 year contract
6) Requires representative to come to home for design and install.
7) Will not set final pricing over the phone.
8) Connection to monitoring system is not necessarily 100% cellular
I called FrontPoint with the one number on their website. I went through an almost identical sequence of automated messages. But when I pressed the appropriate keys on my phone, I got a human voice immediately. The professional, friendly voice asked my name and how they could help me. I expressed the same questions as I did with ADT. No one asked for my address. The first representative said I could install the system myself and no visit would be required. The rep said I could order the equipment from them or I could buy it from any source that sells GE equipment. I asked about pricing. He told me the most basic package- door sensors, window sensors, motion detector, and control panel- is $99.00, if my credit score is above 600. I asked him about contract prices. He said that it depends on the equipment package, but the most basic monitoring contract is $34.99 a month. Just as with ADT, I asked him if FrontPoint could change the contract rate- and if so, at what point. He said it could be changed by a maximum of 5% a year after the first year. He also informed me that I could request a rate lock on my monitoring contract. But a rate lock would require a 3 year contract as opposed to the minimum 1 year contract. I asked him what set FrontPoint apart from other home security companies. He said their top-notch customer service is not outsourced. He also said FrontPoint offers a 30 day free trial. He asked to run a credit check on me in order to lock-in prices on equipment and the monitoring contract. I told him I couldn’t make a decision right then, thanked him for the information, and bid him farewell. He tried to set up an appointment to call me. I told him I would call him. He tried again. I again told him a call wouldn’t be necessary.
1) Exclusively works with GE equipment
2) Can change contract rate by no more than 5% a year
3) Offers contract rate locks on request
4) Minimum 1 year contract
5) Self installation with tech support
6) No home visit required
7) Will give you a final price quote over the phone
8) Offers a 30 day free trial of equipment and services
9) Connection to monitoring system is always 100% cellular
FrontPoint deals exclusively with GE equipment. ADT only sells Ademco-Honeywell equipment, but will take over monitoring contracts for other equipment previously installed. Both companies’ monitoring systems have the ability to monitor lock status, cameras, and thermostats remotely from a smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer. Thermostat settings and lights can be adjusted from customers’ smart phones as well. FrontPoint has the additional capability of sending alerts to your smartphone if there’s a power outage. Both companies have battery backup in case the power goes out. FrontPoint has the advantage of sending alerts if the rechargeable battery backup is running low. The unit has 8 hours of normal functioning from the time at which the low battery alert is sent.
FrontPoint Self-installs Require No Visits From Representatives
In order to install an ADT monitored system, a representative has to come to my home to design the system and price it. This can be a big security risk which unduly weighs on the customer’s peace of mind. Not to be paranoid, most representatives from security companies are probably fine upstanding people. But let’s face it- we’ve all heard of firemen committing arson, policemen staging robbery schemes, and locksmiths picking locks. Do you really want to worry about the possible ‘one bad apple’ who is a security systems expert having intimate knowledge of YOUR system and the layout of your home? To be safe- and that’s the name of the game here- many would say NO.
In Terms of Hassle-free Installs and Feeling Secure: Who Wins- ADT or FrontPoint?
When a customer decides to get a FrontPoint security system, they simply have the sensors, motion detector, and control panel sent to their house. FrontPoint never even asks for a home address until a sale is made. FrontPoint was very forthcoming with pricing information. If a customer has a credit rating of 600 or better, the basic install package is $99.00. The monitoring contracts’ monthly terms are separate from the install. The minimum monitoring contract is $34.99 a month. Sensors and motion detectors can be bought from other companies as long as they’re GE equipment. FrontPoint GE security systems are 100% wireless and cellular making them portable and user-installable. The communication between the sensors and control panel is 100% wireless. The communication between the control panel and the monitoring center is 100% cellular. Cellular is safest for communication to monitoring systems. Phone line or cable modem internet connected monitoring systems can easily be breached with a pair of wire cutters. If an internet router goes out for whatever reason (as in power outages), security alerts would cease to be dispatched. FrontPoint prides themselves on their local customer service center staffed exclusively with FrontPoint employees. You will be on the phone with a customer service representative during the self-installation of your system. You can even get an instructional video if requested. In addition, FrontPoint offers a 30 day trial of their equipment and services.