Check out the stats on alarm company complaints here.

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09/17/2009
You know all those jokes about how everyone hates lawyers? Ha, ha, ha. Well, if the BBB can predict popularity, those lawyers may soon be telling funny jokes about how everyone hates alarm companies. And everyone's gonna get the joke. Did you know that more people complained to the BBB about alarm companies than they did about lawyers in 2008? That the alarm industry is the 93rd highest in terms of complaints, and that that number represents a 68 percent increase over 2007? Oooo. That's bad. Here's a link to my newswire story so you can read all about it. Why so many complaints? The door-knocking companies have taken a beating this summer, with complaints (maybe some whining?) that their sales people are using unethical practices and that's bringing the public's opinion of the alarm industry way down. Well, there may be some validity to this complaint. The BBB Here's their national Web site. puts out statistics on the number of complaints file by industry and some info on the nature of those complaints. They also have about 111 offices throughout the country. On this page you can see the number of complaints by industry. About two-thirds of the way down the page, you'll see "Burglar Alarm Systems-dealers, monitoring & service. On that line are columns for Inquiries --that includes people who even checked out a BBB reliability report for a company; and how that number ranks compared to the 3,900 industries that the BBB ranks. Next is the actual number of complaints filed--2,025. Next column--93, means how that number stacks up compared to other industries. The next columns are self-explanatory. Take note of the next line down from alarm companies--lawyers. OK. I wanted to find out how many complaints had been filed against a bunch of national companies in 2009. Not possible, at least not from the online data. What they do have is reliability reports on each company with data about the number of complaints resolved in the past 12 months. (Note: This may not account for all of the outstanding complaints.) They also have the nature of the complaints that were resolved. Now, if you search on Broadview Security for example, you come up with a gazillion reliability reports. For this story, I just looked at the reliability report from the headquarters office. OK Here's the reliability report for Broadview's HQ in Dallas. Go down section called "Customer Complaint HIstory." Click on "Detailed View" to see the numbers we used. Here's the information on how many complaints were resolved in the past 12 months and the nature of those complaints. The total number (upper left corner) is 201. The number of those complaints that had to do with selling practices is 15. According to our math, seven percent of all Broadview complaints (from its current HQ reliability report) had to do with "selling practices." Here's Apx's report Here's Pinnacle's report Here's Platinum Protection And here's Pro One OK, so what's up with the grades? All of these companies seem to resolve most, if not all of their complaints. So why do some get an F and some get an A? Jeannette Kopco, VP of communications at the Dallas BBB told me that the grade is based on 17 different factors, but a poor grade may have something to do with the number of complaints compared to the size of the company. It may also have to do with "government action" or the BBB may have detected a pattern in the complaints, ie, they're resolved, but the company isn't working hard enough to make certain kinds of complaints go away. What do you think of these reports? About the BBB? About your report? Leave a comment, or give me a call 207-846-0600 ext. 261 and let me know what you think.