ADT Security Review – Is There A Better Alternative?

ADT Home Security’s

Length in the industry is one key factor in deciding which company we’d go with. The longer a company’s been in the business, the more trustworthy and reliable it seems.

This is one of the most defining qualities of ADT Home Security. But had the time it spent in the business seasoned the company? Let’s find out.

ADT Home Security’s History and Reputation

Established in 1874, ADT Security has over 140 years of experience. This admirable time paid off well as SDM ranked the company as the largest security company in the United States in 2015 and 2016.

It also has a huge coverage area as it services most of the United States as well as Canada. It owns its monitoring systems, allowing it to quickly respond to alarms. With ten monitoring systems, ADT is a formidable force in the security industry.

The company offers its own mobile application, the ADT Pulse. This allows the user to control the house and the devices remotely. The services can be quite pricey though, and if you’re on a tight budget, it may not be a good choice.

The Better Business Bureau has accredited the company since 03/11/2013 and has an A+ rating. Despite this, however, the company received a surprisingly high negative rating at 94%. Most of these complaints are about the products, the services, and billing.

Plan Pricing and Services

ADT offers plans both through landline and wireless. However, unlike other companies, it provides plans and packages through different authorized dealers, so you might encounter varying offers. These retailers also offer next-day installation depending on your location, enticing customers to buy ADT’s plans.

ADT itself lists the following basic packages for you to choose from:

PackagesMonthly ChargeActivation/InstallationFeatures
Traditional$28.99$2524/7 monitoring, cellular connection, and fire, carbon monoxide and flood monitoring
ControlContact ADTContact ADTAll TRADITIONAL features plus remote arm/disarm, email & text alerts, and home automation
Video$57.99$74All CONTROL features plus remote secure video with the option of getting ADT Go

ADT often bundles its packages and offerings such as starter kits and Amazon Echo. You can get a better price quote if you inquire the company directly.

Protect Your Home, one of the company’s authorized dealers, offers the following packages:

PackagesMonthly ChargeFeaturesEquipment
Basic$27.99service monitoring (landline required)wireless control panel, 3 wireless door/window sensors, 1 wireless motion sensor, window decals and yard signs
Basic Wireless$48.99wireless security monitoring, CellGuardAll BASIC equipment, 1 key fob
ADT Pulse$52.99All BASIC WIRELESS features plus Mobile Access and AlertsAll BASIC WIRELESS equipment
ADT Pulse + Video$58.99All ADT PULSE features plus Video SurveillanceAll ADT PULSE equipment plus video cameras

The monthly charge for the equipment largely remains the same all throughout the contract. However, ADT may increase the annual service charge at any time after the first year.

The equipment themselves only have a 90-day limited initial warranty. However, customers can opt for an extended limited-warranty period which the company calls the Quality Service Plan (QSP). The customer pays an additional monthly charge for the QSP, although you need to check with your retailer about how much it’s going to charge.

Whichever case, you only need to pay a $25 trip charge fee for repairs. Without a QSP, replacements can go up as high as $400.

All the plans also require a separate installation fee which begins at $99. There is also an activation fee for the equipment beginning at $25.

ADT also features customization through its equipment and feature add-ons.

You can bring the protective features of ADT wherever you go through its ADT Go add-on. It offers crash detection and SOS Emergency Response at an additional $14.99 charge per month.

With regards to equipment, the company also offers add-ons. Here’s a list of these devices as provided by one of its authorized dealers:

  • Panic pendant – $75
  • Lamp module – $79
  • Recessed door sensor – $85
  • Keychain remote and door or window sensor – from $60 to $89 each
  • Wall arming station – $99
  • Indoor siren – $119
  • Temperature and flood sensors – $120 each
  • Motion sensor and glass break sensor – from $120 to $159 each
  • Smoke detector – $120 to $169
  • Carbon monoxide detector – $150 to $169
  • Hardwired keypad and garage door controller – $179 each
  • Control thermostat – $189
  • Alphanumeric keypad, outdoor siren with strobe, and indoor camera – $199 each
  • Lynx Plus keypad – $250
  • High-performance outdoor camera and automated door locks – $259 each
  • Touchscreen control center – $279
  • Self-contained Lynx Touch touchscreen – $300

Top Tips for Buyers

ADT adds in a few more perks for its prospecting clients. One of these is the Theft Protection Guarantee. If a burglary occurred while the system has been armed, ADT will pay up to $500 from your insurance deductibles.

It also offers a Homeowner’s Insurance Certificate which can help you save on your homeowner’s insurance.

The contract lasts for 36 months and auto-renews for 30-day terms unless the customer calls to cancel. It should be terminated at least 30 days before the end of the current term to keep it from automatically renewing.

However, there are also specific ADT customer complaints you need to watch out for. Some include dishonest retailers who often pressure customers into buying and entering a contract and complaints about billing and cancellation.

Cancellation and Transfer Policies

ADT’s contract runs for 36 months. Should you decide to terminate the contract early on, you will need to pay 75% of the remaining contract.

However, you may terminate the contract without paying any fees. This happens if ADT increases its annual service charge (as mentioned earlier), and you file a letter of objection, and the company doesn’t waive the increase.

You also don’t pay any cancellation fees for the first 30 days after the installation of the equipment. It has a rather lengthy money-back guarantee period at 6 months, although this is subject to restrictions.

If you intend on moving, ADT has a Special Mover’s Offer. To qualify, you need to be a current customer and has been with the company for at least 24 months. You also need a satisfying credit history.

The offer gives you a discount on moving your equipment and you only need to pay a one-time communication connection fee of $25.

With all of the prices mentioned, it’s clear that ADT isn’t for renters or those who change residences frequently. The cancellation fees alone are high enough, including the fact that the equipment has to be installed by a professional.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Pros

  • long experience in the industry
  • affordable entry-level plan
  • home automation is available
  • a wide array of equipment add-ons
  • lower termination fee (at 75%) than other competitors (usually around 80%)

Cons

  • not for renters
  • more costly
  • inconsistent customer experience because of different retailers
  • varying product and service packages because of retailers
  • billing and payment issues
  • bad customer service

As we’ve seen in our ADT Home Security Review, there are things that the company can still improve on. Having a high negative rating is an alarming thought, especially for a company as experienced as ADT.

The main issues lie in the presence of the authorized dealers and retailers themselves. Some customers have reported that dealers give bad customer service and often confusing packages. Others have complained about payment and cancellation which the company addresses slowly.

But still, the services offered by a seasoned and veteran security company is undeniably alluring. If you could look past its shortcomings, ADT proves to be a very formidable choice.

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