Burglar alarm scam exposed by Trading Standards

SUFFOLK and Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to remain vigilant when speaking to people offering free or cheap burglar alarms.


Following complaints in both counties, Trading Standards’ officers have found that salespeople are targeting residents over the telephone offering to install an alarm. However, they then insist on visiting the property the same day, claiming they only have a limited number of alarms available in the area.


Previous complaints have shown that the salespeople often fail to mention hidden fees for monitoring, upkeep and rapid response facilities. Residents have then found themselves tied into a long contract agreement costing thousands of pounds, with companies using high-pressure tactics to scaremonger vulnerable people.


Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Protection said; "We are urging residents, especially elderly or vulnerable people, to remain on their guard when answering the phone or opening the door to a salesperson. Our advice is not to buy anything based on a cold call. If residents intend to make a purchase, it is important to always research the market and get at least three quotes from reputable companies.


“If people are unsure or worried when speaking to someone selling a product, it is important for them to contact Consumer Direct immediately, who will offer advice and refer the case to Trading Standards’ officers to investigate.”


Anyone concerned about home security should contact their local Police Safer Neighbourhood Team by calling 101 or follow the advice of The British Security Industry Association http://www.bsia.co.uk who always recommend homeowners use a professional alarm installation company.


When contacting prospective installers, it is important to ask to see their trade membership. If they are a member of the National Security Inspectorate (NSI), ICON, or the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB), then they should be a reliable, professional company.


By Becky Whiting on February 11th, 2012