Residential Alarm Systems
When purchasing a residential alarm system, below are some tips for what to look for:
Ease of Use - Ease of Operation
- Purchase a system that is easy to use and to explain to others. Alarms that are complicated to operate can be frustrating and are the leading cause of false alarms.
- An alarm system that is not installed properly or consists of substandard equipment can cost you a lot of money in repair bills and false-alarm service fees.
- Fair Price
- You should get written estimates of material and installation costs from at least three companies before you purchase an alarm system. While price is a factor; you should not necessarily purchase the cheapest alarm. Obtaining estimates will help you determine if one company's alarm system is significantly more expensive than another system. For example, it is possible to pay from $1,200.00 to $5,000.00 for very similar systems.
How to Choose a Quality Alarm System at a Fair Price
- Ask your neighbors and friends what they like and don't like about their alarm systems. Were their systems installed properly, and are they easy to use?
- Ask your alarm company for a list of local references. You should call several of the references and find out what others like and dislike about the company and their equipment.
- Verify that your alarm company and their employees are properly licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. You may also wish to check with the Better Business Bureau in Stockton and the California Department of Consumer Affairs before you purchase an alarm. Links to these organizations are provided under "External Links" below.
- Make sure the alarm company has a local business license.
- You can verify that they are licensed by calling the City of Stockton Business License Division.
- Find out if the alarm company is a member of the National Burglar Alarm Association and the Greater Valley Alarm Association. Members of these associations have pledged to use only the highest installation standards and to employ only state-licensed installers.
Take Time to Study your Sales Contract
- Do not let a salesperson pressure you into signing a contract. You should read your contact carefully and understand its terms before you sign.
- Be suspicious of a salesperson offering you a special price only if you agree to sign the contract immediately. Remember, you have three (3) days to change your mind about buying a wired alarm.
Your alarm salesperson should explain the alarm ordinance before you purchase an alarm system.
Ask these Questions:
- Will I be leasing or purchasing the alarm system?
- Who will repair the alarm?
- Is someone available 24-hours-per-day, 7-days-per-week?
What are the conditions of warranty? (BEWARE of claims of a "lifetime" warranty; a reliable firm will not offer you one without an additional charge).
If your Alarm is Monitored, Ask More Questions:
- Who will monitor the alarm?
- Where is the alarm company's central dispatch station located?
- Is it local, and are their dispatchers knowledgeable of the requirements of Stockton's alarm ordinance?
- Is their station certified by Underwriter's Laboratory?
- Do they use Enhanced Call Verification?
This City of Stockton webpage last reviewed on --- 3/30/2011