The Unethical Business Practices of ADT

I firmly believe that my wallet should do the talking for me when it comes to abusive companies. I don’t listen to XM or Sirius radio (link 1 and link 2) because of their unethical billing practices. I work too hard for my money to spend it on companies that use subterfuge, fraud our billing shenanigans to make a profit. I’m in business for myself, so I believe in free enterprise and in companies making money. What I can’t stand is the shenanigans to bolster the bottom line.

I just added ADT Security Services to my list of companies I refuse to do business with. For many years I paid about $600 annually to provide monitoring security to my house. For about seven years they made almost $5,000 for two to four calls they made to me because of a fire alert I caused by over cooking a meal that day. Several times, I tried to upgrade my alarm system as they introduced new options, like video monitoring. Although I was willing to pay a fee for the new gadget, they kept demanding that I sign a two or three-year monthly commitment. At the same time, they were offering new clients heavily reduced pricing to entice them on board while demanding I pay full price to upgrade my service and alarm system.

Unable to get what I wanted, I decided to look for options. I considered the Ring doorbell because it’s a gadget and I liked the idea of telling the Jehovah witnesses to move on without having to get off the couch to open the door. (I have some cool video of door shenanigans I’ll post soon, note the FedEx guy walking over our bushes in the graphic I included) I installed the Ring doorbell, and although it is cool, it does not suffice as a full security suite for the house. Although I get alerts on my phone, there is the single-point of failure of the Internet that can be easily thwarted, not too mention the lag time in receiving the alert when the internet to the house is congested or my phone’s provider’s internet is congested as well.

But the Ring doorbell was a starting point for building a new security system for the house that allowed me to both save on the monthly $50, while allowing me to use gadgets like the Ring doorbell and keep the house secure. Rather then depend on ADT, or any other security company to build a system and monitor my house, I decided to implement my own from off the shelf gadgets.

My first order of business was to bolster the single-point of failure that is the Internet that my new installation required. I purchased an LTE WiFi hotspot that I added to my existing AT&T data plan for $10 a month. The HotSpot cost me around $50. Now, in addition to the internet landline, I have a backup internet connection via AT&T Mobile. To keep things simple, I layered my security, one layer is connected to the internet landline and the second to the mobile internet. I installed a second Ring doorbell to the back of the house, it was easier to install, and less expensive to install a doorbell then an outdoor WiFi camera. The field of vision for the Ring doorbells are sufficient to cover the front and the back of the house.

I added two Ring cameras on the other two sides of the house. This is the outside perimeter, and all are connected to the Internet landline. Each time someone approaches the front of the house, like a delivery person, we get an alert on our phones complete with video. At the back of house, when the pool guy arrives, we get to monitor his work via video from our workplaces. (We just fired him because we soon found out he wasn’t doing any work on the pool. We had video prove it.)

I wanted a second layer of protection and wanted to ensure that if the Internet landline went out, we still had video and protection inside the house. For that I added a Samsung Smartthings Hub. This allows me to add indoor cameras, door, window, fire and other sensors to it and it sends me alerts to my phone. By using the mobile HotSpot I still receive alerts and video even if the primary Internet line is out. Since both me and my spouse receive alerts on our phones, we do not have a single point of failure in receipt of the alerts.

But what about monitoring? What happens of the alert doesn’t reach our phones? As I was researching this, I found out that Ring was coming out with an alarm system that includes a keypad, an alarm, a motion sensor and a door sensor for $199. It wasn’t the sensors that I needed, but the monitoring it offers at $10 per month. I’ve been waiting for it to go on sale for about a month now because I believe it will fill me pending needs.

Except that ADT has interfered with my plans.

When I installed the system of Ring doorbells and Smartthings I cancelled ADT, saving me $50 a month.

I spent about $1,000 initially in gadgets to setup my new alarm system. Keep in mind that although it may seem like a lot, it saves me $600 annually for monitoring and I get additional services like live video of events. By using the Smartthings hub, I am also able to provide smart home services to our house, like automatic lights and a smart thermostat, not to mention Amazon’s Alexa to automate our lives. We paid Ring $100 for a year of storing videos from our doorbells and cameras, but keep in mind that it is not necessary to see video of events on your phone as they happen.

More importantly, the $1,000 is paid for and there are no monthly fees, except for the $10 for monitoring I hope to add. I am hoping to use Ring’s monitoring services for $10 a month to complete the system. Over three years, which is what ADT wanted me to commit to, in addition to paying $500 to upgrade my alarm system, I was on the road to paying $2,300 to ADT, including monitoring versus $1,500 that I spent on my new system. For $800 less, I am getting better services and have more control over my security needs.

But I’m missing one component right now, the monitoring because of ADT’s shenanigans.

Ring cannot sell its $199 alarm system because ADT has convinced a Delaware judge to issue a restraining order against Ring prohibiting them from selling their alarm system. Apparently, ADT invested in a company named Zonoff to develop new security system technology. Zonoff went bankrupt and Ring took in all the Zonoff employees. Personally, I don’t care how this case gets settled and who may be at fault because in the end, it involves legal maneuvering and bankruptcy where most everyone who invested in the bankrupt company, worked for the bankrupt company or was owed by the bankrupt company losses.

What I do know is that Ring took in employees from a bankrupt company and it is possible they benefited from the technology they were working on. The courts will parcel out the assets.

What aggravates me is that Ring, under a November 2, 2017 court ruling, is prohibited from selling me its alarm system and its monitoring system for the foreseeable future. Why? Because ADT asked the judge for the injunction because of its ongoing battle against Ring over the intellectual property of bankrupt Zonoff.

To add insult to injury, ADT is now peddling an ADT starter pack that includes Smartthings. It wants $49 a month for 36 months bringing the total to $1,764, including monitoring. Remember, I’ve spent about $1,500 for many more gadgets so far.

Now that I know that ADT is impeding Ring from selling me what I need, I am committed to never doing business with ADT or any affiliate because of its unethical business practices.

Author’s note: all of the items I mention herein were purchased by me with my own money. No consideration by Ring was provided to me, everything was purchased from retail outlets.

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