Saturday, November 14, 2009

Broadview's s(ec)ure scam

We've had Broadview Security as our home security system for several years now, starting back when the company was known as Brink's. When we moved about half a year ago, we had a guy come and hook up our doors and windows to the alarm system and he spent most of the day here. Our last place did not have a sliding door, and our new place does, and that's what this post is about.

You see, we started noticing a few weeks back that it was getting harder to lock the sliding door; the door wasn't getting close enough for the latch to hook onto the stationary frame. That evolved into it being difficult to even shut the sliding door, as the door's locking mechanism's were off-centre a tad.

Then one time as Biscotti struggled to close the door, she reached to the bottom of the door and easily disconnected a small, umm, thing that was narrow and a couple of inches long. "I hope that wasn't an important part of the door," she said. We figured we'd find out soon enough if something bad happened and put the thing in a catch-all drawer. The door now shut perfectly and locking it was a breeze.

Later, when we next attempted to set our alarm, we couldn't. While the system was telling us that our sliding door was open, we knew for a fact that it was closed and locked. A-ha! That thing was Broadview Security's attachment to tell the system that the door was closed. Well, surely they can hook something up that doesn't affect our ability to lock the door, let alone shut the door.

Biscotti called the company, which has its call centre in Texas. (The few times we have had false alarms we've enjoyed listening to the Texas accents on the phone.) She told them the situation and asked for someone to come and not only fix it, but make it better than before (see: not affect our closing/locking abilities). The response was that the earliest someone could come would be a week later and that we would be charged a GST fee. Biscotti balked, but was told that it wasn't the company, it was "your government" that required this (us being in Canada and the representative being in Texas). Until someone came to fix it, we could bypass the sliding door security with an extra step or two when setting the code. That was that.

The next day, we still weren't impressed with having to pay for them to fix what they faultily installed, so Biscotti called them again and was given the same line. "There's nothing we can do, it's your government," with major emphasis on your. After several minutes of Biscotti attempting to get this new rep to say something else, Biscotti told her to cancel the house call and that we would bypass the door until our contract ran out, or get a credit back and switch to a different company. At this, the rep hemmed and hawed and Biscotti then asked to speak to a manager. The rep asked if that was really necessary (seriously? When asked for a manager, get the bloody manager!), Biscotti said yes, and the rep put her on hold.

When the rep returned after just a minute or two, she said she was looking to see if our government still required the fee, and surprise, surprise, they didn't. The rep thought that would make us happy and that that would be the end of it, but Biscotti didn't let her off so easy. "So, if I hadn't protested this fee that is no longer required (I wonder if it ever was), I would've unnecessarily paid to have someone come to our house to fix this? So we would've been getting ripped off?" "Ohhh, no, ma'am." And yet, she had nothing else to say to explain how we would not have been getting ripped off by paying a fee that is not required.

Biscotti made her guarantee that when the person comes to our house that we will not have to pay a cent. That is he/she asks for payment that we will kick them out of our house (or have him/her with us as we call the Texas call centre number and ask to speak to the lady we talked to. We have her name and the pre-connection recording says that all conversations are recorded for quality assurance purposes, so her guarantee should be findable. The house call is in a couple of days - let's hope it goes smoothly.

Not everyone would protest the fee to the degree that we did, or even fight it at all. How many other customers has Broadview Security (formerly Brink's) scammed in this way?

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