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Door-to-door home alarm sale practices being investigated
PRAIRIEVILLE - When Cornel Blouin had a knock on his door last November, he never suspected a thing. Now weeks later he says he's discouraged and wishes he was more observant.
"They misrepresented themselves," said Blouin.
For the last 15 years, Blouin has lived in his Prairieville home and set his home alarm each day. He's been with ADT for as long as he can remember. That is until a man with Safe Home Security knocked on his door.
"He said, 'we're buying out ADT and we're putting in new systems,'" said Blouin.
He invited the salesman into his home and before he knew it, he signed a new three-year contract with Safe Home Security. He now has two alarm system contracts and two bills to pay for a total of $100 for home security charges. His ADT contract isn't up until May 2020.
There are dozens of negative reviews online for Safe Home Security. Even ADT says it's investigating 13 complaints from consumers in the Baton Rouge area about deceptive sales practices from Safe Home Security.
"It's always good to always do your homework, verify what someone is telling you by simply going online or calling," said ADT Director of Public Relations Bob Tucker. "Trust is an inherent part of the security industry and when somebody or another company in our industry does something that's not good, it violates that sacred trust that we have with customers."
Some of the phrases listed on ADT's consumer alert page include the line Blouin was fed, "Our company just bought ADT."
"I can assure you ADT is alive and well and is not going out of business," said Tucker.
While Blouin did not ask the Safe Home Security salesman for identification and proof of licensure, the State Fire Marshal's Office says companies in the life, safety, and property protection business need to have one. There is no license filed for Safe Home Security in the state of Louisiana.
"The message is, always be suspicious of someone selling something door-to-door," said Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning. "When someone comes door-to-door selling something you should always ask questions."
Browning says the first question you want to ask is if they have a license with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office. It can be checked on lasfm.org. He also says it's illegal to double a contract.
"If you have a contract with a bona fide Louisiana company, another Louisiana company cannot come in and cause you to sign another contract when that contract is enforced," said Browning. "Saying that they're there to change out your system, saying that they're there to upgrade, that's now how this works."
If you don't feel comfortable or are suspicious, don't sign anything.
Blouin has contacted his bank to stop payment on his Safe Home Security account, citing misrepresentation. Thursday, 2 On Your Side spoke with a supervisor at Safe Home Security and was told Blouin's case is being investigated. The company says it's reaching out to the salesman to get their side of the story and possibly looking at terminating Blouin's account.
Blouin has filed a report with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office and the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.
Safe Home Security is listed on the Louisiana Secretary of State's website as a company in Cromwell, CT. The company's website says it's based in Middletown, CT.
Safe Home Security and its owner, David Roman, has been under the microscope for some time. According to the Boston Globe, the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is suing the company, alleging "unfair and deceptive business practices affecting thousands of Massachusetts consumers."