Friday, February 18, 2011

Major Stupid Tax

Yesterday, I went to the rental house after work and, of course, the garage door is open and this door to door salesman comes by. Usually I hide from salesmen and don't open the door but I was caught out in the open. So he gives me this story about how thieves have been cutting the landlines in the area which shuts off the security system so they can break in. I don't have a landline so this doesn't bother me but I have kind of sort of wanted an alarm system especially at that house because it is near a high crime area. He goes on to say that I can get this deal where the equipment is free and all I have to do is put their sign in my yard as free advertising for them. Ok...what's the catch? After a while he pulls out the contract and I see that it costs $50 a month to monitor the system and I have to sign a 42 month contract. Now, by this time I am really hungry and just want to get away but for some reason I ended up signing it. I got out of paying though because I said I didn't have my checkbook (he wanted to set up direct payments) and I wanted to use my credit card but he didn't have the right form for that.

I was feeling very bad about what I just signed and I went home and searched for Pinnacle Security on the internet and read a lot of bad reviews. There were a few good reviews but when it came down to it, it just isn't an expense that I want to pay right now. Maybe if I was living there but how do I even know a renter will use the system and what if the equipment breaks or there are false alarms. Am I going to be getting calls? I really don't want that.

I also searched for other monitored alarm systems and the going rate seemed to be $30 although that was a landline system and the system that he was selling was wireless. I found a wireless system from ADT for $45 plus the cost of equipment and a 3 year contract. Does everyone have such long contracts?

This morning I called my insurance to see how much of a discount I would get since the salesman kept mentioning it. I was told I would save 10%. That's $40 a year. So the savings of $3.25 a month doesn't help that much with the $50/month fee.

I went to the house today dreading the confrontation. He showed up and tried to talk me out of backing out. Finally I closed the door and he left but then he came back and rang the door bell and knocked and called my phone. I didn't answer. Finally he sent me a text that said they could do $45 a month. Well, that is the same as ADT but by then I had decided that I didn't want to pay for it for my tenants so I was a hopeless case. Plus all the calling and knocking was creeping me out. Scary stalker salesman! I hope he doesn't come back tomorrow.

But still, there was the problem of the signed contract. He left it with me so I had all of the copies but yesterday I did the "welcome call" where they record me saying "yes" to all of their questions. I read online that I had 3 days to cancel and if not then I would have to pay 75% of the total contract price which was $2,100, so that's $1,525. They didn't have my credit card number yet but I was scared that they could come after me anyway so I signed the cancellation slip on the bottom of the contract, went to OfficeMax and faxed it to them. Then, just to be sure, I paid $32 to over-night the cancellation form before the end of the 3 day period. I'm not even sure the contract was in their system yet but I did everything that I could to follow the rules and cancel. Hopefully that is the end of it. I would hate for my credit to get ruined over this. I consider the $32 to be a bargain compared to the $1,525 cancellation charge or the $2,100 for the 42 month period.

Anyway, that is my "stupid tax" story for the day. Too bad I had to spend so much of my day off trying to get out of my own mistake. I'll be glad when this rental house starts making money again. My bank account can't take much more of this.


Lizzie @ her homeworld said...

I cant believe he got you.
If anyone calls or visits to sell me stuff, which they do despite my being registered with the telephone protection service, I tell them i have a policy of never buying from unsolicited sources. Most times they leave me alone before they have really thought of what I have said.

Unknown said...

There's only two words to say to door to door sale people and the second one of those words is 'off'. Good job you got out of it. Froogs xxx

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry you got caught up in this. These are not regular door to door salespeople. They come in my city every year and their tactics are intimidation.

I have read very bad things about them. They are not honest. I don't know that standard laws count with them. said...

It is tough to say no to a really good sales-person.

It will help when you find yourself in an unexpected situation to have a "script" ready.

A script is just an answer that you can resort to in a certain situation that you have thought out in advance.

Mine for the pushy-salesman scenario is " My wife and I have agreed that we will not sign anything without the others agreement and we won't sign any contract until we have thought about it for 48 hours."

Of course, it's even better to learn to say no without being rude unless you are being treated rudely yourself; if that happens I walk away or close the door.

Dave said...

I hope you do get out of this mess with minimal damage other than the time you wasted getting yourself out of it.

I agree with the others who suggested you never buy anything from unsolicited sources. They depend on your not thinking something over to make their sales and their money.

Daizy said...

I'm usually so careful but with all the buying I've been doing lately and all the talking and listening to store clerks, I just thought for a moment that this was something that I needed and wanted. There is a BIG difference between store clerks and door to door salesmen though! Good thing none of them venture out to my desert home. That's one good thing about my long dirt driveway, no salesmen!

judilyn said...

This bunch was in our complex last week. I had run them off our porch, but I could hear the sales pitch they were giving to the next-door neighbor. Like you, I went to the web to check it out. They were operating under a different name, APX, but the premise is as you described.

Since they read from a script, a good ploy is to "read" from your own script, as others have suggested.

Virtual hugs,