There are some major alarm companies that operate in Canada. Some are national while others do business in certain selected areas. Each company brings different positives and negatives to the table, either through their value propositions or the technology they make available to their customers. Here are a few of the biggest names in the Canadian home security landscape:
ADT is an American home alarm company that does business throughout Canada as well. ADT provides a traditional home alarm system that is installed with an installer. They do business both direct to consumer and also through dealers. ADT provides a standard service, along with cellular backup and two-way voice. ADT is the largest worldwide provider of security, protecting over 4 million customers. Beyond that, they are by far the largest home alarm company in Canada. ADT’s alarm systems range in monthly pricing from $28/month to over $50/month. There is usually an upfront charge as well as a 3-year contract.
AlarmForce is the largest provider of live two-way voice home alarm systems in Canada. Based in Toronto, AlarmForce protects over 140,000 customers throughout Canada and selected areas of the US. AlarmForce offers a $25/month home alarm system, with no upfront fee. The system is installed by AlarmForce and a 3-year contract is required. AlarmForce offers additional services, like their VideoRelay video surveillance system and AlarmCare personal emergency response product, at additional monthly charges. AlarmForce does not have a dealer program and has their own central monitoring station.
– Rogers Smart Home Monitoring
Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is a service provided by Rogers Communications. They currently install home alarm systems throughout Ontario and selected parts of BC. Rogers systems start at around $35/month and require a multi-year contract. They also make you pay some funds upfront for part of the installation and equipment. The Smart Home panel is a touchpad, and for additional costs, you can get two-way voice in your system. Rogers only sells Smart Home Monitoring through their call center and all service issues are dealt with through their call center as well. Rogers Smart Home Monitoring alarm systems are monitored by Northern 911, a central station based out of Sudbury, Ontario.
Protectron was recently purchased by ADT, however, the Protectron brand is still in operation separately from ADT. Protectron was the third largest Canadian home alarm company at the time of their purchase by ADT. Protectron offers a standard home alarm system, priced around $30/month.
Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is the home security/home automation service offered by Rogers Communications. Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is offered in various areas across Canada. While their systems have some bells and whistles, ultimately it’s an expensive security solution that falls into many disadvantages that can be seen in various other home security offerings.
Rogers Communications is a massive company that offers cellular service, TV, and internet as well as smart home/security. Beyond that, they own magazines, radio stations, TV stations and sports franchises. They are an enormous company that employees tens of thousands of people.
Rogers Smart Home Monitoring has been in service for around two years and offers security and for additional costs can provide smart home features (remote arming, remote control over your thermostat, video, etc).
The low-cost security solutions, $0 upfront and $19.99/month is a self-monitored home alarm system. The $0 down is actually only if you pay $459 to purchase the equipment, otherwise, they add another $4.99 rental fee to the package. Rogers requires a three-year contract for service. Remember, with any self-monitored solution, the system does not connect to a central station. In the event of a break-in, the system would send you a notification, where then you need to take care of the event yourself. This is not real protection and cannot adequately protect a home or family. Avoid all self-monitored systems.
For a monitored alarm system, Rogers charges an additional $12.99/month, bringing the package cost up to $32.98/month. There again is a required three-year contract for service.
Two-way voice monitoring is an additional $3.49/month, smoke/fire monitoring is an additional $3.49/month and carbon monoxide monitoring is also $3.49/month. Three-year contracts are required for each of the additional services.
A customer can easily see how Rogers is an expensive solution with all of these added monthly costs. Beyond that, there are costs for the equipment beyond the basic package.
Rogers is notorious for the customer service one would associate with a company of their size. Levels of bureaucracy and lack of showing they value their customers, have constantly left Rogers customers with “bad tastes in their mouth”.
As a Rogers customer (cellphone, internet, home phone) I’ve experienced their subpar customer service. Frustration and anger have become commonplace when dealing with any cable company and Rogers is no different. Their goal is to tangle you in a bundle, where because you have multiple services with the company, you’re unlikely to leave to a competitor since you have so many services with them. It’s as if laziness trumps the want for quality, and unfortunately, this is often the case with Rogers customers.
Beyond that, the price is incredibly high and Rogers has in their contract that they reserve the right to raise their prices at any time. So your already high rates will become higher, and since you signed a contract you have to pay whatever rate they choose.
Rogers does offer some smart home solutions, however, these services just further increase your monthly monitoring rates. All of their services are offered by other companies at a fraction of the cost.
Customers need to distinguish between smart home features and home security. While smart home technology is trendy and some aspects have value, any home alarm system needs to be focused primarily on offering maximum home protection. Think protection when looking at home security systems and let the bells and whistles come second.
Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is an extremely expensive way to protect your home. They force you to sign a three-year contract and will raise your monthly monitoring rates while under contract. There is no shortage of better security solutions offered by other home alarm companies at a fraction of the price that can provide similar or better service than Rogers. And remember that with Rogers you’re dealing with a company that focuses on tons of things beyond security (running a baseball team, TV networks, etc), so they will treat security as an afterthought.
Think protection when choosing a home alarm system. Make the best decision and don’t always go with the bundle. When you do, you just end up getting tangled in a bad decision.
As time goes on more and more people are being subject to break-ins. In society today people are purchasing more and more high-end goods that they wish to protect in all of their homes and or businesses. So criminals are taking advantage of this opportunity and studying their victims for the best opportunity to break and enter.
Have you ever wondered why a criminal will go to your front door first before ever attempting to break in? The answer is, criminals now a day are just getting smarter. What I mean, criminals are starting to study your patterns and by going to the front door peeking in or even knocking could very well tell the criminal that you’re not home. This is becoming more and more common as were seeing many more break-ins with forced front door entry. This also gives criminals the ability to work in groups; if the criminal approaches your front door and notices that you’re not home they can secure the front and have someone force their way in through the back entrance.
So you’re probably thinking right now if you don’t have a security system that you’re not safe and if you do have a system you’re well taken care of. There is some truth to both scenarios, but as a customer you really need to dig deeper and do your homework. Paying a monthly bill for a security system you have or looking for the best security system that you are led to believe is out there doesn’t always give you the security need you are looking for. Remember when the criminal is in your house you want to get them out as fast as possible so having something like two way voice will do just that. Companies like Rogers, Vivint and ADT don’t offer that as a standard package, you would think they do with the amount of money they are charging you month to month.
It’s easy to be swayed by big box companies saying they have the best system out there. The majority of these companies aren’t even alarm companies. There focus is on other products and services, but due to their size and greediness they look to promise poor customers that they are receiving the best security out there for the best price. That couldn’t be any further from the truth as Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is a prime example. How does a company like Rogers provide security to customers when they have spent all their time promoting and revolutionizing TV, Internet and home phone? I don’t know about you but that gives me little to no faith that they are going to be able to truly keep my family and me secure.
Don’t think for one second that criminals don’t think like this either. Criminals are well aware of the security systems out there and will target houses with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, Vivint and ADT signs on their front lawn because they know those companies are not in business to secure homes but rather make money. At the end of the day all the gadgets, shiny fancy equipment and promises that Rogers, Protect America, CPI, Protectron, Vivint and ADT give you to make you feel good about paying those crazy high monthly fees will not protect you from criminals trying to break in through the front door.
So if you have an alarm company or looking for one, be sure to investigate how they do business and where they are located and what you are getting for the price you are paying. So if you ever have a criminal creeping around your neighborhood you want to be confident in knowing that you really do have the best system for your home which will make that criminal think twice before approaching your front door.
Virtually all alarm companies make you sign a contract when you agree to their services. Usually security contracts are for 36 months (ADT, AlarmForce, Reliance Protectron, Monitronics, Safetouch, Bay Alarm, Vivint, Rogers Smarthome Monitoring, CPI, Frontpoint and Protect America are all 36 month contracts). Ackerman will make you sign a one-year contract. Why is it these companies make you sign a contract and what value is it to you to sign it?
The reason why you have to sign an alarm contract to get home security monitoring from the companies above is so they can lock you in to being a customer and make you commit to continuing service for those 36 months. This allows them to more than cover the cost of any equipment you’re leasing and also they can make a good profit off you as a customer.
Alarm companies may have zero money down offers, but over the course of the contract you are will be paying significant amounts of money far beyond that of the upfront costs. Beyond that, by locking yourself into a contract, you are forced to stay with the alarm company, even if the service is bad.
So, what value does the customer get from signing a contract?
Truthfully, it all depends how you look at it. The alarm company will market the value as no money upfront and continued service, but the fact is that with most companies the cost of the monthly will be outrageous and the company will profit tremendously from you over the course of your contract. For example, monthly two-way voice monitoring with ADT is $39.99/month, and you have to sign a 36-month contract, so that guarantees that ADT will receive $1439.64 from you over the course of your contract. Vivint charges $49.99 for their basic monitoring package with a 36-month contract, so that works out to $1800 over the contract.
Large amounts of dollars guaranteed to the company, regardless of the quality of service.
Marketing-wise, the companies will claim the contract promises you no charge service, however there are certain things not included in the contract which will be required for servicing, which will result in money coming out of your pocket to pay for it.
Think protection is free? Not quite.
When a company starts to offer a premium alarm service without a contract, then the industry will change forever. Contracts aren’t necessary for the customers. In fact the customer benefits from not having a contract for their home alarm. The thought in the industry is that if a customer doesn’t sign a contract, then they’ll leave their monitoring service far before the 36 months, once a better offer comes around. Personally, if the alarm company is providing a superior home security service, at a low price, then the customer will stay with the company without a home alarm contract.
In fact, the lack of a home alarm contract could very well be the main reason the customer stays with the home security company.
ADT, Vivint, Frontpoint, Protect America, AlarmForce and the rest could never switch to a no contract model, since they have so many current customers already under contract, the rebound effect would be tremendous. Beyond that, if they did offer a secondary no contract offer, the monthly monitoring and upfront costs would have to be significantly higher, due to them eliminating some of the risk which would arise by not having a contract to tie down their customers.
Prospective customers should weigh all of their options when shopping for a home security system, and ask themselves if a 36-month contract is in their best interest. If it is, then sign the bottom line, but if they think protection can be found at a more reasonable price without a contract, then look elsewhere.