KPRC 2 Investigates: Man makes payments for 8 years for alarm system he says wasn’t even hooked up

HOUSTON – Recurring monthly charges and auto drafts can easily slip your mind if you’re not checking your bank and credit card statements. One man called KPRC 2 Investigates when he realized ADT was deducting money from his bank account for eight years for alarm service he says he no longer had.

Kenneth Thornton has been paying $64.24 every month since 2013. It comes out to just under $6,000. And that whole time he says his ADT service wasn’t even connected but the company won’t refund his money.

Alarm system was pre-wired in home

When the Thornton family moved to Mission Bend more than 20 years ago his new home was pre-wired for a security alarm, So he and his wife signed up for ADT. Fast forward to 2013:

“The alarm system started shorting out. It started shorting out and causing false alarms,” explains Thornton.

He says the false alarms had Sheriff’s Deputies showing up at his home and even stuck him with big bills for those false alarms. He called ADT to figure out what was wrong.

“They sent a guy promptly, he came out and he checked in the room and he went up in the attic. He says, ‘I can’t find the problem. So I’m gonna have to disable it.’”

“I told him right there, I said, ‘Hey, I don’t want it. If it’s not working, I don’t want it. It’s not going to do me any good.’”

Alarm service was disconnected in 2013

Thornton said at that point he didn’t think he needed to make any extra phone calls. He says these clipped wires are proof the tech disabled his entire system. But when we reached out to ADT they say their records show when the tech came out in 2013 he only disabled two window sensors.

From that day forward there were no more false alarms, no communication with ADT until April 2021. Talk about alarming!

“Well, my money was going out of my account faster than I could put it in there,” explains Thornton.

While trying to work on his budget, Thornton noticed ADT had been withdrawing monthly payments from his bank account all along, even though he had signed up with Vivint for wireless alarm service in 2019.

“I trusted the company,” said Thornton. “So I didn’t check my account for that, like that. I did, and I should have that’s on me.”

But Thornton didn’t think it should all be on him, nearly $6,000 for service he didn’t receive.

ADT says its network last communicated with Thornton’s system in June 2019. Adding they were never notified he wanted to cancel his service.

“Man, I’m not some kind of crook. I’m telling you guys the truth,” said Thornton.

Complaints to the BBB about ADT service

After months of calls and a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, ADT deposited $748 Thornton’s account.

So we asked ADT how it came up with that number and where’s the rest of his money?

A spokesperson told us that amount is half of what ADT owes Thornton since the company says the system was still sending signals until June 2019. Thornton is responsible for the prior payments.

No word on why ADT stopped at refunding him just half of the money they say he was due but after we reached out ADT said it is sending him the remainder for a total refund of $1,496.78.

“They take your money in it, you just deal with it? You know, I don’t think it is right.”

In this case, ADT said its technician wasn’t authorized to cancel Thornton’s account. He needed to call or write a letter to cancel the service.

Lesson learned: check your auto-payments often

Thornton’s cause is a tough way to learn you have to check your bank and credit card statements for errors each month. There are apps that can help manage your spending to help catch auto-payments you may not be aware of. You can easily track your spending and enter payments so you know exactly where your money is going.


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About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.