7.17.20 – Burlington Free Press -Alek Fleury.
Police receive multiple complaints about home security system sales representatives.
The Milton Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office received 10 complaints about a pair of home security sales representatives who made multiple Vermont residents across multiple towns uncomfortable on July 9.
When the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office made a post on Facebook warning residents, they realized this was much bigger than those 10 calls.
That post received 108 reactions and almost 4,000 shares. The post also received over a hundred comments with people recounting similar experiences.
“There was definitely a lot of confusion with who they worked for and what they were doing,” Milton police officer Jareco Coulombe said. “Obviously some of the concern with the COVID stuff is a lot of residents were saying, ‘How would a business think its good practice right now to go door-to-door?'”
The two salesmen from Safe Home Security Inc. hadn’t broken any laws, said Franklin County Sheriff’s Lt. John Grismore.
“There was nothing we could do from a criminal perspective however there were some concerns that they were misrepresenting themselves or that they were using the foot in the door technique to try to get in and resell or upsell security systems to folks that already had security systems,” Grismore said.
Safe Home Security failed to respond to Free Press request for comment via telephone, email and social media over several days.
Safe Home Security Inc. is a Connecticut based home security company with over 200,000 households as customers, according to its website.
Both police departments advise Vermont residents to not hesitate to warn others of uncomfortable interactions they have with door-to-door salesmen.
“One of the great things about our Vermont communities is that we look out for each other and this was certainly an example of that,” read the Franklin County Sherriff’s Office Facebook post.Get the News Alerts newsletter in your inbox.
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‘It seemed kind of odd’
Fairfax resident Joshua Stukes was eating dinner with his family July 9 when he noticed the two men standing in his driveway.
Stukes said when he answered the door, the men told him they were there to change the settings on his security box and then proceeded to ask which security box he had.
“It seemed kind of odd that he didn’t know which security box I had and he had a paper with pictures of all the ADT’s control panels,” he said. “That threw a red flag up immediately.”
Stukes was alarmed by the interaction. He reported the it to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and made a post on Facebook with a picture of the men, warning others.
Neither of the men wore a mask when they knocked on Stukes’ door and they did not directly identify themselves as sales representatives, Stukes said.
“Their wording was they wanted to come in and change the cellular settings and update the cellular settings cause there were new settings that needed to be changed,” he said.
Clearing the air
Grismore said the two sales reps saw themselves on a news story covered by WCAX and wanted to resolve the confusion.
“I got a call from gentlemen who represented himself as the vice president of sales and marketing from Safe Home,” Grismore said. “He said that he was in contact with his two reps and that they heard about themselves on the news and were concerned that they were going to get arrested.”
The two sales representatives wanted to clear the air and they met Grismore in person, Grismore said. They showed him their company ID cards and answered questions and concerns.
“One of the complaints we got for example was that they said that they were from ADT,” Grismore said. “I spoke to the two salesmen about that and they said, no we’ve never done that.”
Grismore said the two were very apologetic about the stress they caused.
“They were very apologetic and I think they were embarrassed about the level of public outcry that was stirred up because of their presence,” he said.
History of complaints
Safe Home Securityhas a history of complaints. The company has Better Business Bureau 1,381 complaints, detailing not only interactions with door-to-door sales, representatives, but also trouble with cancelling subscriptions and billing.
Additionally, the company has 354 reviews on the BBB website, 346 of which are one star — six are two stars and two are four stars.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sued the company for ignoring customer’s requests to cancel their services and using ““unfair and deceptive business practices affecting thousands of Massachusetts consumers,” according to the Boston Globe.
Grismore recognizes the mistrust of the company in the public at large and thinks that the community members’ concerns were certainly valid, he said.
“Some people think people have spun this up into a whole lot about nothing, but in reality I don’t view that at all,” he said. “I think this is a great opportunity for folks to look out for each other and recognize that something’s not right and sharing that publicly”