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Several Canadian provinces require salespeople and installers to hold valid security licenses in order to be able to legally operate in the alarm industry. Before buying an alarm system, the Better Business Bureau advises homeowners to ask both the salesperson and the installer for their security licence (if you reside in one of these provinces.) Only those people who sell over-the-counter-install-it-yourself gadgets do not require a licence.
Get at least 3 estimates and compare the equipment - part for part, sensor for sensor. Determine whether estimates are for purchases, rentals or leases to purchase.
Ask where the monitoring station is and who is doing the monitoring. Many alarm companies will subcontract their alarm monitoring to a third party. If you do not have a contract with this third party, your legal recourse may be limited should a problem occur.
Ask what the duration of the monitoring contract is and if it includes service charges.
Ask for the credentials of the sales representative.
Be wary of “door knockers” and door-to-door alarm system salesmen.
Be wary of salespeople who do not look at your entire home security, but instead concentrate solely on selling you a basic alarm system. Remember, you are buying home security and not just a series of electronic devices.
Find out what the alarm company’s policy is on verification. Does the company phone the residence when it receives an alarm?
Find out what the warranty period is and what it covers.
Find out if the supplier carries liability insurance ($1 million is the minimum, $5 million is better).
There’s much more to security than a set of devices: work with a reputable company. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
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