Posted by: ppernick | February 11, 2005


Ari made a valid point this morning about keeping both blogs updated should I ever decide to stop using one that we don’t host.  So…here’s my posting from this morning:

A few weeks ago, the Goldman’s “won” a free home security system from Monitronics through Spot Technologies, the local hardware supplier.  Since the Goldman’s already own a system, they gave them our name.  I received a call from Spot Technologies last week to set up a time for their “consultant” to come to the house and provide us with information.  I was told that we wouldn’t have to make a decision that night so I set a time for a week later.

Last night was the visit and though she called herself a consultant, this was a saleswoman trying to work the hard sell.  Unfortunately, she used all the obvious sales tactics.  First thing out of her mouth when she walked in the door was, “Oh, you have a cat.  I have a cat too – Princess Tiffany.”  And throughout the evening, she focused on relating to us as a friend by mentioning the cat at different times.

Next was the part of the pitch where she tried to make this an emotional issue.  While that worked a bit for me, it wasn’t near enough to help her sell us the system.  And, Ari is such a logical vs emotional thinker, it only annoyed him – though he didn’t let it show.  She tried focusing on their great customer service, high response time, and made sure that we trusted her and the service.  We nodded and said sure, both of us somewhat ambivalent, to get on to the next portion of the sales pitch.

Then we walked through the downstairs, showing her the different windows and doors that would probably need to be protected.  We came back to the kitchen, sat down and she went through the costs.  For us, the hardware package we would get for free would include 2 unit-sensors, 2 remotes, 1 motion sensor (I think) and the installation.  Our costs would include the 2 extra sensors she recommended, a programming fee, and the monthly monitoring service.

Now, I have to admit, at this point I was thinking this system sounded awesome and was close to thinking we should get it while we had the opportunity of this promotion.  BUT…

After listing all the prices, I asked her when we needed to give her a response.  She jokingly said yesterday, but it quickly became apparent that she needed a Yes or No answer before she left.  We repeated what we had told her earlier – since this was a gift of sorts from somebody else, we hadn’t done any research into home security systems and hadn’t really thought about whether we need a system at all or how complex of a system.  So, when we said we’d need to do a bit of research, she said she understood, pulled out her cell phone, hit dial for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and then said, you’ll hear only one complaint.  Neither of us wanted to speak to the BBB, we had no reason to doubt they would contradict anything she had to say.  However, we wanted to do our own research, talk to people we knew and really figure out what we need in a security system for our home.  So, I chatted with her for a bit while Ari went into the office and did some web searching.

I went into the office after a few minutes and Ari mentioned that he could barely find anything about the company, Monitronics.  The only thing he did find was that they aren’t up front with their 3-year committment.  Which, in fact, was the case.  She hadn’t said anything about their being a 3-year committment when we talked pricing.  When we confronted her with this, she pulled out the signing papers, showed us the 3-year committment deal was circled and said she would have mentioned that when we were signing.  This only ticked Ari off more.  The fact that there was a 3-year committment wasn’t a problem – it was that she waited to mention this until we had said yes and were signing the forms.

We tried getting her to agree to give us a day to make a decision and that we would give her an answer by this afternoon.  Unfortunately, the sales model is that if the customer doesn’t say yes right away, they probably won’t.  Neither Ari or I were comfortable making a decision with only 2 hours of security system knowledge, so we pretty much said no right before the home phone rang for Ari.

At that point, she made a point to call her office (from the kitchen) to relay that we weren’t accepting the package. She made sure we overheard her side of the conversation and when Ari was in another room on the phone, told me that I might have overheard this, but she has vouchers in her desk and her boss would be willing to pay for half the programming fee.  Of course, she was packed and ready to go before I could talk to Ari about that to even consider it.  Once she saw I wouldn’t give in alone, it wasn’t worth giving me a chance to actually discuss it with my husband – the more logical thinker. 

As she was packing up, she made a point to take back the sheet of paper with all the pricing information.  I asked if we could keep the paper, but she said she had to turn it in – so I at least managed to make a copy of the page before she left (thank goodness for having a copier in the house).  Though I thought it was extremely stupid when she also made a point to take back her business card.  Another way of saying, “If you don’t get it now, you’ll never get it.”

Basically, the system sounded great, but even if this is the best system on the market, neither Ari or I are sure we want to do business with a company who tries to pressure us into buying their product.

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