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Screw You, ADT! I’m Out!

This is a guest post from my friend YFS, owner and author of Your Finances Simplified. He was born and raised in West Philadelphia and is now a financial adviser, IT contractor, landlord, and treasurer of a non-profit. He created his blog partly due to his desire to help people with their finances.

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ADT got me! They got me good.

You see, it was January of 2009, and I had just purchased my home. Everyone knows that when you buy a home with a mortgage, you will need to have home insurance. Home insurance can be quite expensive, depending on several factors, but there are things that you can do to lower your annual home owners insurance (I discuss this in my article, 8 hidden cost of home ownership.)

You can usually get a discount of at least 5% for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or deadbolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20% if you install a sophisticated fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations.

The Quest for a Security System

Knowing that I definitely wanted a discount, I was already looking for a security system for my new home. I normally wouldn’t admit this, but I was being lazy and didn’t do my research. As a result, you won’t be surprised by what happens next.

What happened was a door-to-door salesman came over one day and showed me his shiny ADT security system. The ADT product was much cheaper than the security systems the other door-to-door salesmen were peddling.

“Oh, this person is much cheaper. It must be a good deal,” I thought at the time.

So, I signed us up for 3 years of service at $47.99 per month.

That meant that ADT cost me $575.88 per year! Yes, I got a small discount on my home owners insurance but not enough to justify paying ADT all this money for a sub par security system.

Three years later…

I sent in my cancellation notice. I switched to a DIY system which provides me with triple the coverage and utility of the ADT system for a fraction of the cost.

The new security system cost me 389 dollars to buy and 50 dollars a year to maintain. It’s so much better than ADT it’s not even funny. The payback period for the system is less than 1 year! When I called ADT to cancel, even the representative said, “Wow, that’s a much better setup.”

Details of the New Security System

My old Alarm system included:

1x ADT keypad
1x Motion detector
2x Key fobs
2x door/window sensors

My new alarm system includes:

1 x AAS-V series keypad w.auto-dialler.
1 x AAS wireless GSM module.
1x AAS wireless outdoor siren
1x AAS wireless indoor siren w.strobe
1x AAS wireless smoking detector
1x AAS wireless glass break detector
3 x AAS wireless motion detectos.
10 x AAS wireless door window sensors.
4 x AAS wireless remote controllers.

Big difference, huh?

You can find my alarm system on the website aasalarm.com

What I Learned

What I learned from the ADT experience is that I will never ever, ever sign a multi-year contract for services without a ton of analysis and research. I can’t be too upset at myself about my ADT mishap since I was 25 at the time. You live and you learn.

In summary, I gave ADT $1727.64 of my hard earned income for craptastic service. Now, I pay $50 a year for a better solution.

ADT isn’t the only game in the business either, there are reputable home security companies! Vivint is very well known, and I have several friends who have raved about their services, and prices. I even have one of their friends that indulges in total home automation, another service they offer. Check them out here at Home Security.

Another company that I’ve had a positive experience with is Lorex. If they service your area they actually offer the works…everything from home security to state-of-the-art baby monitors! Check them out here Official LOREX® Website and browse their selection of home security products.

A total home security system doesn’t have to be the only choice either! I was shocked to learn that 85% of all break-ins are through a door. That is actually pretty staggering when you think about it. If you want to save money, but have the same peace of mind, check out Armor Concepts. One-time costs and extremely effective door security, click on the link and save 10%!

Save 10% on all orders at ArmorConcepts.com with coupon code ARMOR10OFF. Shop now!

What are some services you saved money on recently?

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web designer and single mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!

Comments

  1. ADT is awful.  My parents were going to switch over to them, they wanted to double their price and they would have to drop half of their security system to be compatible. 

  2. I've only heard bad things about ADT and your post reinforces this.  When I bought my house several years ago, the previous owner had an ADT alarm system.  I was immediately spammed by ADT to sign up for service.  I did not sign up, but the keypad and system were still powered on in the house.  Every once in a while when the power would go out from a storm or the like, when power was restored, the siren in the attic would go off.  Usually I could get it to shut up by flipping the main breaker, but after one storm that no longer worked.  I had to climb into the attic and cut the wiring for the siren.  Soon after that, I ripped out the rest of the system.

    My wife stays at home, and Smith & Wesson protects us.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       hahah "Smith and Wesson protects us"  Nice.  I was looking into getting the SW Govenor.  I like it because it fires 45's and shot gun rounds.  The alarm system is good to startle the intruder I would rather use the weapon at the last minute possible.

  3. We never really trusted ADT or anything that required door-to-door salespeople. We once had them come to the house and try to sell us their system. They even offered a free trial (which attached you to a 3-year contract if you didnt cancel, plus the cost of uninstalling the systems). We never really needed a security system because we had a dog. A rather loud, hyper dog. I agree with you though. Sometimes we don't look at the aggregate cost or possible alternatives before setting up for things we think may be a necessity, and just because it's a contract, it does not mean it is cheaper. It often means that if you could cancel before the contract ends, you might.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       You hit the nail on the head.  I was duped because I didn't do research.  I was a new homeowner and I was lazy :-(

  4. Hmm…you must have a lot of valuables to make ADT worth it.  I'll keep that in mind when I go pro-burglar. 

    I've been burned by door to door salespeople before.  One of the many who have tried to sell me a magazine subscription offered "free" issues for a trial run.  Yeah…they weren't free – he passed me something to sign with a total sale box left blank by him (not the first!). I'm sure that blank spot would have been filled with some outlandish price as he walked away from my door.

    And of course I've paid the "aww aren't you cute" and "young entrepreneur" tax all to many times.  Those darn kids and their $2 king sized fundraiser candy bars are just too much.  I hate saying no because the last thing we need is entrepreneurial youngsters to get discouraged.  A modest donation for an overpriced candy bar is something I'll tolerate.  

    That said, ADT, long distance/cable people, and charity salespeople over the age of 16 get a no almost immediately.  Add me too the Do Not Knock list!

  5. Good point about the multi years contract. I try to avoid those as well. 

  6. What type of DIY system did you go with?  I recently just replaced an x10-based system that I really liked.  Had door/window sensors everywhere, motion detectors, glassbreak units, extra sirens, and called a monitoring service.  Luckily never had to make use of it nor had it made use of, but nice to know that I have an extra few seconds of warning while sleeping.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       I went with a system from aasalarm.com.  it has the following items:

      1 x AAS-V series keypad w.auto-dialler.
      1 x AAS wireless GSM module.
      1x AAS wireless outdoor siren
      1x AAS wireless indoor siren w.strobe
      1x AAS wireless smoking detector
      1x AAS wireless glass break detector
      3 x AAS wireless motion detectos.
      10 x AAS wireless door window sensors.
      4 x AAS wireless remote controllers.

  7. YourFinancesSimplifi says:

     hahah.. I have learned from my ADT experience and I am now more like you when it comes to people selling things who are over 16. 

  8. I used to use ADT.  They sent a couple of kids over to my new house with hardwood floors to wire in an alarm system and the whole time I was afraid that these kids didn't know what they were doing.  Cut a long story short, they dragged a heavy trashcan all around the house while they worked and left a deep scratch trail as wide as the base of the garbage can in all the hallways and rooms.  The house had just been built and we hadn't moved into it at that time but I just about flipped when I saw the damage.  The kids couldn't have cared less and ADT refused to take responsibility for fixing the damage. Had I been already living in the house, that trash can wouldn't have made it into the house in the first place.  The kids were thoughtless and looked as though they were still in high school and the reseller who provided the system and labor was as shady as #$%.  ADT?  Never ever again.

  9. PS. I recently saved money by cancelling my ATT cell phone plans and using pay as you go phones and service from Tracfone.  So far, I love it.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       Great job on the savings.  I found that I use my phone way too much to give up the monthly plan.  damn iphones!!!

  10. Thanks so much for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  11. YFS- This is awesome!  I'm actually in the market for a system and that price blows the big providers out of the water.  

    I'm curious though (and I can't easily determine from the site), how do emergency monitoring calls work?  I see they make outbound calls, but is there actually a service that receives those calls and reports to the police/fire dept., etc?  Or do you just program it to dial 911 and hope they respond to the recorded message quickly?

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

      You would program the system to dial 911 but,  I wouldn't recommend doing that.  Just have it dial 6 of your closets friends.  They in turn will try to reach you and if they can't will dial 911 very similar to how ADT does it

  12. What is the type of SIM card needed for the cellular system and where can u get them for cheap pay per call plans. Thanks

  13. "So, I signed us up for 3 years of service at $47.99 per month. That meant that ADT cost me $575.88 per year,"

    Let me get this straight, you're claiming that ADT "got you good" because you didn't understand that you needed to multiply $47.99 x 12 to come up with your yearly cost? It's amazing what people are willing to do in order to avoid taking responsibility for their own lack of due diligence, or in this case, application of basic math.

  14. I have a wireless DIY alarm system but i am having trouble setting it up :-(,
    i paid £20.00 UK (Ebay)
    1x code control panel
    1x PIR
    2x door/window detectors
    2x key fob
    Mine telephones your mobile phone when activated, Upto 5 personal numbers and 1 emergancy number IE police.
    Good price but complicated

  15. About the saving money thing…

    I’m a recently divorced mom with two teens. When my ex left, I was in college full time, homeschooling the kids and working part time. Now I’m working full time, college full time and still homeschooling.
    Needless to say, money was a pretty major panic button for me, since child support is only 1/4 of his income in our state.

    I dropped cable and got Netflix. My cable package included phone and internet. By kicking the TV down to the very basic (we get about 10 channels) and keeping the internet (I’m a freelancer, it’s a must-have for my work), the bill went from $140 a month to $50. We got Netflix for $8 a month, and MagicJack (which works great as long as you have decent internet service), and we’re still saving over half the bill.

    I had an iPhone on my husband’s business account, but could not see spending $100+ a month to keep it on my own contract. I loved my iPhone too, and lamented the loss of being able to check my e-mail on the go. (two teens = lots of running around). I got a Samsung tablet from AT&T, and am paying $30 a month for 3gb of wireless, which is WAY more than I actually need to check e-mail. If you watch videos or play Halo or something, you’d need more, but for me, this is plenty. Bonus, I can work away from home because the tab has a keyboard, something I couldn’t do with my phone. It acted as a replacement for my phone, and as a back-up for my computer. I’m saving $70 a month over the price of a iPhone.

    If you absolutely “must have” an iPhone type device, you might want to check into Walmart or Radio Shack’s pay-as-you-go smartphones. I found plans as low as $45 a month, a pretty hefty savings over AT&T’s $100+ a month. For me, the tab plus a tracphone for texts and calls was more practical.

    Ironically, a year after my ex walked out on us, I’ve landed a good contract and am no longer worried about money. In fact, I’m working on a savings plan and taking my kids on a two week camping trip this summer.
    If I can come out of 17 years of being a stay at home Mom and get us back on track, anyone can get their finances in order. It takes dedication and if anyone tells you it’s easy they’re lying through their teeth, but it can be done. Just hang in there.

    -Mary

  16. So the real question is: How hard is it to set up your new system? Do you have to run wires or have to hire an electrician?

  17. I feel like I’ve been totally scammed by ADT! Three years ago I spent $800 on installation and equipment. I paid the $50/month fee for my piece of mind. Now, I’ve purchased a new home and learned the following:

    1. If you purchased your equipment through ADT corporate you do NOT have the option to get the equipment relocated. You have to repurchase all of the equipment again!
    2. If you purchased your equipment through an ADT dealer, you can pay them a small fee ($150) and get the system/equipment moved.

    I had no idea at the time of purchase that there was any difference.

    Talk about a scam!!!

    Liz

  18. I think I will throw in a quick two cents worth. Don’t use ADT. I am a former installer, subcontractor, not employee. I was contracted to install A LOT of their systems several years ago. They sent me into people’s homes, working around all their stuff, programming their systems with my own installers code so I could go back and work on them at any time. My code is still in every system I programmed. I was never background or drug tested by ADT. just thought you might like to know that.
    Also, most of us installers don’t pay for monitoring. We install our own systems, put signs and stickers up, and run it like it’s monitored. We arm and disarm like you guys, same system. We know the signs and stickers are the most valuable part of that system. If someone still tries to get in, the alarm makes all the same noises yours does, then it resets the siren after about 8 minutes. The fire and panic stuff is pretty useless since everyone old enough to push the button has a cellphone anyway.
    The police rarely make alarm calls high priority since about 85% are false alarms.
    And don’t forget the motto of the response teams…
    “When seconds count, we’re minutes away.”
    Not telling you whether or not you need a system, just giving an installers perspective.
    That’s all. Thanks

  19. I got ADT for my daughter who is away at college at Florida State in Tallahassee, FL. I’ve been paying ADT for two years and was looking forward to one more year on my 3 year contract. My daughter, like most college students, moved. Unbeknownst to me, I have to sign a new 3 YEAR CONTRACT in order to transfer my daughter’s service from one apartment to another. What a rip off. ADT wants to hold me hostage for 5 years at $35 per month. No where in the contract did it say I have to sign a new contract if my daughter decides to move. I want to write corporate but of course, there’s no address to file a complaint. If I cancel the service, it’s over $800. ADT SUCKS and they will hold you captive.

  20. I signed on with ADT February of 2009, paid my monthly fee. 2012 I realize I’m not receiving a bill and I never renewed my contract or monitoring service with the police department but this was months and months later when I realized I had missed my payments. I now have lost my job my contract was up February 2012. We are now in February 2014 and I have to move out of my apartment, due to job loss. I’m now sitting here with equipment that I have not used in well over 3 years. I ‘m mortified to call them and say hey it’s me I have not paid a bill in 2 years and I’m moving come get your equipment. I read my contract, but there is nothing in there about moving out and what I need to do with the equipment. Do I just leave the equipment here, call or have them remove the equipment? I’m scared that they will ruin my very good credit but trust me I get it this is my fault. Based on what I read in these post thank GOD I did not renew my contract. I feel stupid writing this but some of your post are scary ~ I want to do the right thing but also the cheapest way possible due to current situation. Any suggestions appreciated ~ Sigh ~

    • That’s certainly a tough call. I would probably go the honest route and just tell them to pick up their equipment if it were me. I have no idea how much it costs, and I am sure it’s probably outdated equipment as this point. At least an anonymous call asking their procedure on this might be warranted.

  21. Jessica Beasley says:

    So I would just like to add a little information out there for you all to think about.. First of all it is wonderful that you all feel comfortable with a dog as a burglar alarm! But, god forbid what if your out at work, working you butt off and there is a fire in our home ? ADT’s fire and smoke detectors are photoelectric and can sense a chemical change in the air before the fire bursts into flames and becomes a true danger! And as far as the smith and wesson goes would you really want to take someone’s life just because they are more desperate for something than you are ? Could you really take the chance of ending someone’s life because they made the mistake of breaking into your home…? I hope this helps you all see the view from a happy and proud ADT customer! God bless you all!

    • While your point on fire and smoke detectors makes me think twice, I have no problem with the smith and wesson solution! Home security is quite a bit different than smoke detectors.

      • I have had ADT for a long time, and have never had any complaints over them. I would like to tell you why I have ADT. I had a friend who had gotten their home broken in to. Now, while it would seem that if he had a gun, he would have been safe, except for the fact that his home got broken into in the middle of the day. AND HE HAD A DOG! The dog didn’t do anything, and it was a larger dog who was let into the back yard during the burglary. So, while I admire you having a gun (I do too, it adds a level when I am at home) I also am afraid of someone finding a way into my gun cabinet and stealing them while I am away (I trust my gun cabinet is safe, but who knows?) I think if you don’t go in thinking that it is going to do more then what you think it’s going to do you’ll be fine.

    • I also have no problem with the smith & wesson, or in my case “Glock” Solution. I have absolutely no problem dispatching an intruder for “being more desperate” for something than I am. What if the things they wanted so desperately were your daughter’s innocence or your husband’s life? They made a conscious to break into your home, robbing you of your peace of mind. You have to make the conscious decision not to let them have it. I am also a happy ADT customer, but believe me, their system is nothing more than a warning system for me. My real defense, is 180 grains of lead leaving the muzzle.

      • Yeah Im not necessarily disagreeing with you on this one…protecting my family comes first, but hurting someone else might carry some guilt regardless of the reasons.

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