With more than 26,000 burglaries reported in Houston in 2012, many homeowners are willing to pay the monthly price of a security alarm just for the peace of mind. But KPRC Local 2 Consumer Expert Amy Davis explains how that alarm may giving you a false sense of security.
Lisa Leeson loves her Chihuahuas, but they're not exactly guard dogs. When it comes to protecting her family and her home, she sets her Comcast security alarm.
"We would set it," explained Leeson. "It would make the little noise that it makes like it was activating."
But one day in February, Leeson and her husband came home to find their back door wide open. The only thing missing was the sound of their security alarm. It turns out a strong wind blew the door open, but their security alarm never went off.
Leeson said when her husband called Comcast, a representative told him their alarm had been off line since 2007, the same year it was supposedly activated. A Comcast technician came to their home and confirmed the alarm was installed improperly.
"It was unable, even if wanted to, to actually call the police and or Comcast once it was activated," explained Leeson.
You may not be able to put a price on your peace of mind, but Leeson calculated she had paid Comcast close to two grand -- up to $30 a month for seven years. She says Comcast offered her a $20 credit for the inconvenience.
"I'm a loyal customer and my thing is I don't mind paying for a service if you're providing the service, but they weren't," said Leeson.
When Davis called Comcast's corporate office, a spokesman apologized, but not before he pointed to a line in Leeson's alarm agreement where she agreed to "test her system" on "a regular basis." Chances are your alarm company requires the same, putting the onus back on you to make sure your system is functioning properly.
In this instance, Comcast did agree to refund Leeson's money -- every penny she paid for her home alarm since 2007.
Her message for consumers now, she says, is, "Check your system. Check your system."
If you have an older alarm system, you should call the alarm company before you test the system to avoid a false alarm. Comcast says customers with its Xfinity alarm can test their systems using the My Account app on their smart phones.