Much like ADT, Monitronics, recently rebranded to “Moni,” uses their legions of dealers to hit the streets selling and installing home security systems across the US. They’ve been around a long-time and though their business model is a bit old school they have over 1,000,000 customers who like it enough to keep paying. But should you sign up?
It’s important to note that Monitronics is monitoring only. Their independent dealers perform the installations and sales process before passing the contracts back to Monitronics for monitoring services.
How Much is It?
Monitronics starts at $34.95 per month for landline monitoring plus the cost of installation which starts at $99. They require customers to sign a 3 year contract but may ask for up to 5 years of commitment. They use five Diamond Certified Alarm Response Centers to monitor for burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, and medical emergencies. Their monitoring centers are also UL listed.
Home Security Packages
|Basic Home Security||HomeTouch Security|
|24/7 Security Monitoring|
|Alarm Email and Text Alerts|
|Full Sensor Email and Text Alerts||Extra Charge|
|Video Surveillance*||Extra Charge|
|Cellular Connection||Landline Required|
|Two-Way Voice Communication||Extra Charge||Extra Charge|
|Severe Weather Alerts|
|Fire & Smoke Monitoring*|
|Carbon Monoxide Monitoring*|
|Lock Automation*||Extra Charge|
|Light Automation*||Extra Charge|
|Thermostat Automation*||Extra Charge|
|Remote Appliance Automation*||Extra Charge|
|Remote Garage Door Automation*||Extra Charge|
|Color Touchscreen Panel|
|Pet-Sensitive Motion Detector|
|3 Door/Window Sensors|
|4 Window Decals|
|Indoor Video Camera|
*Additional equipment purchase required.
In addition to the included equipment, you can buy a medical pendant/watch, keychain remote, light/appliance module, CO detector, moisture sensor, shock sensor, smoke detector, heat detector, image sensor, glass break detector, freeze sensor, door locks, thermostats, and garage door sensors.
A Little More About Smartphone Control
Monitronics partners with Alarm.com. Alarm.com offers an app for iOS, Android, and Blackberry users. They also have an app for Apple Watch, Pebble Watch, and Kindle Fire TV.
Alarm.com’s iTunes app is currently rated 3.5 stars which is lower than it has been in the past as customers do not like the redesigned homescreen. The Android app is rated a solid 4.5 stars.
With the right package and equipment you can use the app to turn off your lights, adjust the temperature in your house, lock and unlock the door, and check-in on your home security cameras.
What Do Others Say About Monitronics?
Others complain of terrible customer service but at the same time Monitronics does have an A- rating with the BBB.
Primarily customers complain that they call or email for help and simply never hear back! We decided to test this ourselves with a quick secret shopping call. We called customer care at 4pm on a Friday. I was able to reach a live English-speaking tech within 3 minutes. Their alarm response center is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Their customer care reps work 6 days per week with limited office hours.
With that said, the A- rating from the BBB gets fishy…There are several complaints where Monitronics was in the wrong and they simply allowed the customer out of the contract.
Why is this bad? It’s not really bad but it’s important to point out. Essentially customers complained that installations were botched, alarms weren’t getting any response when triggered, and of course complaints that sales rep lie. It seems to me that the complaints are legitimate but in order to maintain an A- rating, Monitronics time and time again chose to cancel contracts vs adjust their policy to truly make things better for everyone. To me this is a red flag.
Is there a trial period?
No trial period. I was told that once the system is in … it’s in. You may be protected for 3 days under the Federal Cooling Off rule.
Does the equipment require drilling? “It all depends on the type of equipment installed” according to my sales rep. He says, “drilling makes the equipment more secure”, though anyone who has tried to peel off a 3M strip may disagree. He did reassure me that more than likely it is just the keypad that is drilled.
Do you sell to renters?
No, they require their customers to be property owners.
How long are the contracts?
The minimum contract length is 3 years but they go up to 60 months.
What benefits do I get for signing for 60 months vs 3 years?
My sales rep says this depends on several things like credit but that I would need to talk to one of their local dealers in home to find out.
I also found out Monitronics reserves the right to increase your monthly rate after 12 months. Imagine that! Sign a 60 month contract that can’t be returned and your rate increases after a year = yuck.
So what happens if I move?
My sales rep says that they always try to help out but that their customers are “held up to the contract”. If I move to where I can’t take the service they may give me the option of letting a family member or the new owner take over the contract if they qualify. He says that moving gets easier the longer you are with Monitronics. For example, if I move within a year, I would probably wind up owing them the value of the balance of my contract but if I’ve been a customer for three years he says things may be different.
How do I know if your installers are trustworthy?
My sales rep says that authorized dealers go through background checks but to ask them questions and make my own judgement.
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