ADT, Monitronics sue rogue summer salespeople

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BOCA RATON, Fla. and DALLAS--Fed up with customer complaints about lying, cheating and stealing by door-to-door salespeople, ADT and Monitronics this month have filed lawsuits against the salespeople themselves.

"We want to deliver a message loud and clear that if you're a door-to-door salesperson who lies about your affiliation [saying you're affiliated with ADT when you're not, or engaging in other unscrupulous behavior], ADT is going to come after you," said David Bleisch, chief legal officer for ADT. ADT has received complaints from 22 different states, he said.

Bleisch called for an "industry code of ethics" that would spell out guidelines for door-to-door salespeople. "We are going to talk to industry players and work with them and industry organizations to propose a code and prepare a draft," Bleisch said. Asked if Monitronics would support the creation of a code of ethics, Mitch Clarke, Monitronics' VP of marketing, called the idea "a positive thing." The challenge will be "working out compliance and enforcement," he said, but having the industry "adopt a code that sets out the right set of things to do across the board is a good idea. Good business brings good business," he said.

ADT this month filed three separate lawsuits against door-to-door salespeople. Employees of Pinnacle Security, a summer-sales model company based in Orem, Utah, are named in two of the suits. Monitronics--which settled a lawsuit with Pinnacle involving charges of deceitful sales practices and use of insider information in 2007, what Monitronics called a "vast scheme"--filed three separate lawsuits this summer. Each of the lawsuits names more than one defendant, and all are Pinnacle Security employees.

Kelly Walker, Pinnacle president, said he was unable to comment on the pending litigation, "particularly where we are not a party to the litigation. Nevertheless, Pinnacle Security is committed to maintaining high levels of professional conduct by our independent contractors and we take any allegation of misconduct seriously."

ADT's Bleisch emphasized that it has not singled out Pinnacle Security, however: "This is not an ADT versus Pinnacle problem, this is a security industry problem involving any door-to-door sales person who acts unlawfully." He said that ADT was preparing to file more lawsuits against other salespeople who were from companies other than Pinnacle Security.

Why sue salespeople and not the company they work for? "We sued the people that committed the fraud," Bleisch said. However, he said, ADT is not discounting the possibility that the company may have been instructing the sales people in deceptive practices.

A Vision Security salesperson was named in one of the ADT lawsuits, as well. Vision Security is a summer-model sales company based in Orem, Utah. SeeClarke, of Monitronics, was unable to comment specifically on the Monitronics lawsuits, saying litigation is ongoing.

ADT's Bleisch noted that ADT does not have a problem with the practice of door-to-door sales or summer-sales model security companies, per se. In fact, many ADT dealers, including some of its largest dealers, derive much of their business from door-to-door sales.

Bleisch said he hopes to have a door-knocking code of ethics in place by the spring of 2010. "It's our belief that the legitimate summer sales dealers will want to sign on to this," he said.



  Hi I am writing to let people know what Vision Security has done to me, also to see if anyone else has encountered this situation. I was approached in my yard by a young man wearing a blue button down shirt. He introduced himself and ask if I was interested in a home security system. He stated there was allot of burglaries recently in my area, he went on to say it was mainly sheds, also it was during the day. I was already talking to a representative from ADT in the previous months up until this day. He was holding a folder with papers one blue page was pulled up above the others at the top of the page in bold print was the letters ADT. We were heading out but I figured since it was a promotion I would take a few minutes to see if it was a better offer than I was previously quoted. ADT was offering $99.00 install with a contract at that time. This salesman said they had free installation also we would get 5 extra points to use for more sensors to put around my home or garage additionally we would get a remote along with the package. All of this for $49.99 a month with a three year contract. So I was very pleased I did not think for a second that this was not an ADT representative.So I was put on the phone with his supervisor who I had to tell I wanted the install.I signed the contract and thats when the salesman handed me the folder that said Vision Security. I figured they were an affiliate of ADT. I ask him while my family was present how much was the equipment he said it was free with the contract. I said with the three year contract he said yes.
We have automatic draft on my checking to pay the bill, recently I found that my account was debited more than the monthly amount. I had changed my account they were billing the old account number. I called to see what the issue was then found out the account problem. I ask what was the contract end date. I was told it was a five year contract. I complained to the manager he introduced himself as Trevor I told him about the way the salesman misrepresented Vision Security, he said if I had my contract I could be let out after three years. He also said that I had three days to cancel the service after signing it. I informed him that this was never disclosed to me. My wife has not found the contract yet she has been trying to locate it. I also had a situation in my home on July 10, 2010 a home invasion listed as breaking in entry. We used the alarm to call the police the person on the other end came over the speaker to see if it was an emergency my wife said yes send the police. I had to go to court in the matter so I called Vision about a record of the alarm. They said we have no record of any incident on July 10, 2010. I was not going to complain about the deceptive sales tactics or the poor service we have recieved from Vision Security.This latest contract dispute put me over the edge. I had one more year left on my agreed contract.