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Your home or business security is of the utmost importance, but this can lead to long-term security system contracts. What people often don’t know before signing the dotted line is that ending a contract with a security company when it’s time to move on is a lot more complicated, and pricier, than you may think.
The security companies may give you bad credit and demand payment of termination fees if you cancel the contract before the agreed end date. However, this is not to say there’s nothing you can do about it, because there is!!!
What Is a Security System Contract?
The agreement signed by both the homeowner and the security company is a security system contract. The agreed-upon terms are in this contract, including a termination date.
Once you have signed this document, the security company will charge monthly fees, generally costing somewhere between $15 and $35. That’s not all, though; you’ll need to cough up the cost of the surveillance equipment, which can range anywhere from $60 to $1000, depending on your situation. Further, you will need to pay for the installation and activation of this equipment, which adds another $50 – $200 to the bill. On top of all that, optional customized subscription plans could cost you an extra $10 to $20.
If you fall on the higher end of things, you could end up paying over $1,200 before your monthly fees. Plus, you’ll still have to return the surveillance equipment to the alarm company when the contract terminates, despite paying monthly. Most deals do not give you the right to keep the equipment after the contract ends unless you purchased it yourself, in which case you can keep them.
Generally, security companies offering these services do so on a long-term contract. These contracts tend to last from 1-5 years, and most have built-in automatic renewal clauses. These terms mean that if you don’t approach the company to entirely terminate your contract before it has reached its end date, you might get stuck in another long-term commitment that you don’t want.
If you decide to terminate at any time other than the specified end date, you will face hefty termination fees. You may even end up with bad credit as a result. The consequences are why it’s crucial to terminate your contract correctly. You’ll need to think through everything from the timing to the method.
Take the following steps to successfully end your contract without incurring any fees or other consequences.
How to Get out of a Security System Contract
1 – Make Sure You Know the Terms of Your Contract
This first step will determine the rest of the process of canceling your security system contract: read the terms. When doing this, pay extra attention to the sections regarding termination and renewal. These sections will help you understand the company’s terms and give you a better idea of your options.
Generally, most security companies will allow you to leave the contract early without any fees if:
- The surveillance systems provided by the security company malfunction.
- The offers for home surveillance are outdated.
- The security company has failed to provide the services for which you are paying.
- The security company doesn’t offer their services to the new area where you are moving.
- You decide to return the surveillance systems within three days (FTC rules) or within the trial period specified by the security company (usually around 30 to 60 days).
If one of these cases applies to you, then you’re in luck! You should have no issues getting out of your contract without any fees.
If these scenarios do not apply, don’t worry; there are other things you can try.
Either way, you need to figure out whether your contract has an automatic renewal clause. The clause could end up locking you in for even longer if you do not request to terminate your agreement in time. You’ll need to give proper notice to terminate successfully.
2 – Take the System with You
Are you looking to get out of your contract because you’re moving house? If it’s still in the area covered by the security company, why not take it with you? Security will be just as critical in your new property as your current one, and it will give you one less thing to worry about setting up once you get there.
Some companies require a moving fee, typically costing between $25 and $100. Others don’t allow you to take all pieces of your previous set-up, and some ask that you purchase a new system altogether. The varying details are why you need to be fully aware of your contract and what it allows.
If you are moving somewhere that the security company’s services don’t cover, you can leave your contract free of charge.
3 – Transfer Your Contract
If you no longer need your security system contract, why not pass it along to someone you know? If a friend or family member has been looking for a new home security system, this could be a win-win for you both.
Alternatively, if you are moving house, try communicating with the new owners of your current home about whether they’d like to take over the contract once they move. A transfer eliminates the stress and cost of setting up everything, so for the new residents, it should be a no-brainer.
4 – Terminate with Proper Notice
To terminate your contract before any automatic renewal clauses kick in, you need to give the security company proper notice.
This notification can take the form of a cancellation call or a termination letter. The latter is preferable if possible. It ensures everything is in writing, and there is no way for the company to deny or ignore your request. Make sure you send the letter on a date that will give it ample time to arrive before automatic renewal.
This letter should include:
- Your contract’s expiry date
- The date you would like your security contract to end
- The reason for terminating your contract
- The service/contract number
- Your signature
- Any other cancellation materials needed as specified in the termination clauses
After sending the notice, follow-up with a call to the company to confirm they have received your termination letter.
5 – Get on a Month-to-Month Plan
One way to get around your long-term contract is by switching your plan to a month-to-month agreement. This plan gives you much more wiggle room to cancel your services or change to another company.
This option is very dependent on your current contract and the policies of your specific security company. It’s best to call or email your security service provider to find out whether this option applies to your situation.
6 – Switch Providers
If you’re stuck with a provider that doesn’t offer the high-quality services you were hoping for, it’s worth noting that not all security companies will be like this. Just like after a break-up when your friends tell you that not everyone in your potential dating pool is the same, and the right one is out there for you, the same goes for security service providers.
With a security system provider, you will want to be a bit more careful about jumping into something new. It’s essential to take time to consider the following:
- Make sure the new contract provides the exact services you require
- Find out whether you will need a new set of equipment or if they’ll just take over your existing systems.
- Look into the feedback from both the media and customer reviews
- Communicate your needs with the company so they can customize your contract accordingly
- Compare all the prices of your potential new agreements to find the best value for money
Some companies will help you with your termination letter and offer to buy you out of your existing contract. However, this option usually comes with some switch fees.
7 – Confirm Your Cancellation
Sometimes, even after you think you’ve taken all the necessary steps to cancel your contract, the company will continue to deduct payments from your account. To avoid this situation, ask the company to provide you with a cancellation letter, so you have the confirmation in writing.
8 – Take Legal Action
If you see no other options, it may be time to take legal action against your security company. Some companies can be shifty and manage to lock you in despite not having obvious renewal clauses, etc. At times like this, it’s time to put your situation in law’s hands.
9 – Try a Solar-Powered Security Camera System
If you are sick of security companies altogether and prefer to take matters into your own hands, why not try a solar-powered security system? It’s an energy-efficient way to cut all the strings but keep the security of your home or business surveillance needs intact.
10 – Try a Battery-Powered Security Camera System
Solar power doesn’t always work for everyone’s situation, especially areas with low light. Instead of getting a wired system, why not give battery-operated equipment a try? You can invest in rechargeable batteries to cut back on waste and increase energy efficiency.
There’s always something you can do to escape pesky contracts that make you feel trapped. Try the steps above on how to get out of a security system contract that is no longer working for you.
Did you find this article helpful? Share your experience and what worked for you in the comments.