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BBB warns of deceptive door to door home security sales

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The Better Business Bureau is sounding the alarm about door to door security system sales. High pressure sales tactics can lock you into something you don't need and can't afford.

Alexis Shivers lives in Helena which is considered a safe city, but she still has a home security system. "Absolutely worth the cost; it's peace of mind," says Shivers. It doesn't come cheap though. "It was over $2,400 for installation which we pay for monthly," adds Shivers.

And this time of year you may notice an uptick in sales calls. "Summertime is big on door to door sales," says David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau of Central Alabama. His agency is warning homeowners to be cautious so you don't get taken by "dishonest and misleading sales pitches." They log thousands of complaints every year. Customers complain they're not getting what they paid for. Some are duped into changing to another company when they're told their current service is out of business.

Smitherman says first be sure you're dealing with a reputable company. Check the BBB website for reviews and ask around. Second, know the actual cost of the security system. "Installation is just the tip of the iceberg. The real cost is in the monitoring. That's what you'll pay for years to come," advises Smitherman.

For something this expensive, he recommends three quotes from different security services. Also read every page of the contract. "I don't care if the salesperson sits in your living room two hours while you read it word for word," says Smitherman.

Some questions to consider: be sure you know what happens if you're not happy with the service, what if you need to cancel, what if the monitoring company is bought by another company?

Don't be pushed into a quick decision. "High pressure sales are a big red flag," warns Smitherman.

And if you change your mind after the sale know there is a cooling off period. You have three days to back out of a contract sold through door to door sales. So be sure you keep all your paperwork with the company's contact information just in case.

If someone comes knocking on your door, you don't have to answer it or hear their sales pitch.

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