shopping around for a home or business security system, you will find
that most security companies will either sell or lease the equipment
(control panel, keypads, sensors, etc) of the security systems they
Some major companies such as ADT ,
Brinks, & Monitronics base profits on the sale and installation of the
equipment and require a 3 to 5 year lease/monitoring contract; their
profit comes from your ongoing monthly payments.
Thatís why the up-front cost of an
installed "sold" system is considerably higher than for an identical
leased or "free" system. To attract customers, some companies will offer
a "free" or very low priced alarm system. But be careful, these ultra
low cost systems are often very basic. By the time you add the items
necessary to provide adequate protection, you may pay substantially more
than if you had chosen a comparable traditional installation package.
When a company sells you the equipment for a security system outright,
you own it forever. Once the warranty expires, youíll have to pay for
any service or maintenance required. However, if the system works just
fine but you become dissatisfied with the monitoring service, you can
easily change companies without replacing the equipment. So if you
decide to purchase your security system, insist on equipment that is
standard, and not "locked out" to other security companies. "Locked out"
simply means that a four or five digit installerís code is required to
access the alarmís programming features. Some companies (especially the
"free" alarm companies) charge ultra high service fees to unlock your
Some of the big companies alarm system
are proprietary in nature (ADT, BRINKS, MONOTRONICS) as they are built
specifically for the alarm service and in order to get new service you
WILL have to contact one of their authorized installers who will
reprogram it so you will be back to where you started.
Leased systems remain the property of
the security company. Your monthly bill usually combines the fees for
lease of the equipment and 24 hour monitoring. If you cancel the
service, the security company can come and remove the system from your
home. Security lease and monitoring contracts vary widely from company
to company. Some allow you to cancel anytime without penalty. Others
obligate you to pay the entire remaining balance of the contract
immediately if you cancel for any reason. This almost always applies to
the "free" alarm system option, as well.
Above all, be sure to read any security contract carefully, and make
sure you understand all the terms before you sign.
At Countywide you ARE the owner of
your security system and in most cases you are covered by our lifetime
warranty on equipment only as long as you are a customer in good