Your home or business security is of the utmost importance, but this can lead to long-term security system contracts. What people often don’t know before signing the dotted line is that ending a contract with a security company when it’s time to move on is a lot more complicated and pricier than you may think.
The security companies may give you bad credit and demand termination fees if you cancel the contract before the agreed end date. However, this is not to say there’s nothing you can do about it,
It is way more challenging to get out of a security system contract with alarm companies than signing up for one.
The monitoring companies may charge you expensive early termination fees and even give you bad credit once you demand to cancel a security monitoring contract ahead of its expiry date.
What Is A Home Security Contract?
The agreement signed by both the homeowner and the security company is a security system contract. The agreed-upon terms are in this contract, including a termination date.
Once you have signed this document, the security company will charge monthly fees, generally costing somewhere between $15 and $35. That’s not all, though; you’ll need to cough up the cost of the surveillance equipment, which can range anywhere from $60 to $1000, depending on your situation. Further, you will need to pay for the installation and activation of this equipment, which adds another $50 – $200 to the bill. On top of all that, optional customized subscription plans could cost you an extra $10 to $20.
If you fall on the higher end of things, you could end up paying over $1,200 before your monthly fees. Plus, you’ll still have to return the surveillance equipment to the alarm company when the contract terminates, despite paying monthly. Most deals do not give you the right to keep the equipment after the contract ends unless you purchased it yourself, in which case you can keep them.
Generally, security companies offering these services do so on a long-term contract. These contracts tend to last from 1-5 years, and most have built-in automatic renewal clauses. These terms mean that if you don’t approach the company to entirely terminate your contract before it has reached its end date, you might get stuck in another long-term commitment that you don’t want.
If you decide to terminate at any time other than the specified end date, you will face hefty termination fees. You may even end up with bad credit as a result. The consequences are why it’s crucial to terminate your contract correctly. You’ll need to think through everything from the timing to the method.
What To Do If You’re Stuck In A Home Security Contract
If you’ve tried all of the above steps and still can’t get out of your contract, you can either do nothing or wait it out or try the following methods to get the most out of your system:
- Upgrade the system: If your security system is defective, maybe new equipment or a new monitoring plan would optimize your home’s security.
- Change the plan to monthly: Some companies allow month-to-month contracts, meaning you’re only obligated to pay for the next 30 days. While some companies allow for monthly contracts, others require long-term agreements before allowing users to switch to monthly billing.
- Consider solar or battery power: If a hardwired security system consumes too much electricity, consider switching to a solar-powered or battery-powered wireless security system.
- Move: Many security systems allow you to move the system without incurring any additional fees. If moving is your concern, read your contract to learn about the provider’s driving policy.
What To Look For In A Home Security Contract
Rather than blindly signing a contract, thinking that you '’’ll be able to cancel it easily later, it’s best to read the fine print, as we mentioned earlier. Specifically, here are some things to look out for:
- Early termination fees
- Length of contract
- What happens if a party defaults
- Pricing, including equipment fees
- Who owns the equipment, including conduit and wiring
- What happens if you move
- Auto-renewal terms
It’s much more straightforward to read a contract before you sign it rather than trying to cancel it after the fact, so if it’s not too late, put your reading glasses on and get your highlighter out cause it’s the reading hour.
Cancellation Policies And Termination Fees
The Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off Rule says that customers have three business days to cancel sales over $25 if the deal was made:
At the customer’s home, workplace, or dorm
At a seller’s temporary location, like a restaurant
This law only applies to sales made in person and not online, and after three days, you’ll have to pay termination fees.
Tips For Getting Out Of Home Security Contracts
Make Sure You Know the Terms of Your Contract
This first step will determine the rest of the process of cancelling your security system contract: read the terms. When doing this, pay extra attention to the sections regarding termination and renewal. These sections will help you understand the company’s terms and give you a better idea of your options.
Generally, most security companies will allow you to leave the contract early without any fees if:
- The surveillance systems provided by the security company malfunction.
- The offers for home surveillance are outdated.
- The security company has failed to provide the services for which you are paying.
- The security company doesn’t offer their services to the new area where you are moving.
- You decide to return the surveillance systems within three days (FTC rules) or within the trial period specified by the security company (usually around 30 to 60 days).
If one of these cases applies to you, then you’re in luck! You should have no issues getting out of your contract without any fees.
If these scenarios do not apply, don’t worry; there are other things you can try.
Either way, you need to figure out whether your contract has an automatic renewal clause. The clause could end up locking you in for even longer if you do not request to terminate your agreement in time. You’ll need to give proper notice to remove successfully.
Take the System with You
Are you looking to get out of your contract because you’re moving house? If it’s still in the area covered by the security company, why not take it with you? Security will be just as critical in your new property as your current one, and it will give you one less thing to worry about setting up once you get there.
Some companies require a moving fee, typically costing between $25 and $100. Others don’t allow you to take all pieces of your previous set-up, and some ask that you purchase a new system altogether. The varying details are why you need to be fully aware of your contract and what it allows.
If you are moving somewhere that the security company’s services don’t cover, you can leave your contract free of charge.
Transfer Your Contract
If you no longer need your security system contract, why not pass it along to someone you know? If a friend or family member has been looking for a new home security system, this could be a win-win for you both.
Alternatively, if you are moving house, try communicating with the new owners of your current home about whether they’d like to take over the contract once they move. A transfer eliminates the stress and cost of setting up everything, so for the new residents, it should be a no-brainer.
Terminate with Proper Notice
To terminate your contract before any automatic renewal clauses kick in, you must give the security company proper notice.
This notification can take the form of a cancellation call or a termination letter. The latter is preferable if possible. It ensures everything is in writing, and there is no way for the company to deny or ignore your request. Make sure you send the letter on a date that will give it ample time to arrive before automatic renewal.
This letter should include:
- Your contract’s expiry date
- The date you would like your security contract to end
- The reason for terminating your contract
- The service/contract number
- Your signature
- Any other cancellation materials needed as specified in the termination clauses
After sending the notice, follow up with a call to the company to confirm they have received your termination letter.
Get on a Month-to-Month Plan
One way to get around your long-term contract is by switching your plan to a month-to-month agreement. This plan gives you much more wiggle room to cancel your services or change to another company.
This option is very dependent on your current contract and the policies of your specific security company. It’s best to call or email your security service provider to determine whether this option applies to your situation.
If you’re stuck with a provider that doesn’t offer the high-quality services you were hoping for, it’s worth noting that not all security companies will be like this. Just like after a break-up, when your friends tell you that not everyone in your potential dating pool is the same, and the right one is out there for you, the same goes for security service providers.
With a security system provider, you will want to be more careful about jumping into something new. It’s essential to take time to consider the following:
- Make sure the new contract provides the exact services you require
- Find out whether you will need a new set of equipment or if they’ll take over your existing systems.
- Look into the feedback from both the media and customer reviews
- Communicate your needs with the company so they can customize your contract accordingly
- Compare all the prices of your potential new agreements to find the best value for money
Some companies will help you with your termination letter and offer to buy you from your existing contract. However, this option usually comes with some switch fees.
Confirm Your Cancellation
Sometimes, even after you think you’ve taken all the necessary steps to cancel your contract, the company will continue to deduct payments from your account. To avoid this situation, ask the company to provide you with a cancellation letter so you have the confirmation in writing.
Take Legal Action
If you see no other options, it may be time to take legal action against your security company. Some companies can be shifty and manage to lock you in despite not having obvious renewal clauses, etc. At times like this, it’s time to put your situation in the law’s hands.
Try a Solar-Powered Security Camera System
If you are sick of security companies altogether and prefer to take matters into your own hands, why not try a solar-powered security system? It’s an energy-efficient way to cut all the strings but keep the security of your home or business surveillance needs intact.
Try a Battery-Powered Security Camera System
Solar power doesn’t always work for everyone’s situation, especially in areas with low light. Instead of getting a wired system, why not give battery-operated equipment a try? You can invest in rechargeable batteries to cut back on waste and increase energy efficiency.
Remove & Relocate Monitored Security Systems to Your New Apartment
Don't know how to get out of a security system contract without lousy credit when you move to a new apartment?
You are allowed to keep the monitored security systems when you move in most cases.
However, some alarm companies may charge you moving fees ($25 – $99) and installation costs. Also, they may not allow you to take every piece of surveillance equipment with you, and some even require you to purchase a new security system.
What if the alarm companies refuse to do so since they don't provide service in the area where your new apartment is located?
Under such a condition, you can claim a free cancellation of home security contracts since the alarm companies can't provide the service that you are paying for.
Switch to a New & Better Professional Monitoring Provider
When you get stuck with an alarm company that provides unsatisfying services, it's well worth your time to consider getting free from current home security contracts and find a better security provider.
- Before signing a new contract with a different provider, take the following tips into account:
- Ask the security providers if you need to buy new surveillance equipment or they will take over the existing security systems
- Make sure that services and features included in the new offers meet your security needs
- Read media's and users' reviews of the services provided by the new security providers
- Communicate with security companies and customize your home security contracts
- Compare the price of security monitoring contracts that you are considering
Some alarm companies may also help provide termination letters to your current security companies and offer to buy out the amount remaining on your existing agreements. In return, they may charge you some switch fees to accelerate the cancellation and free you from unsatisfied services.
Terminate Security System Contracts with Proper Notices
If the solutions above won't help and you can't put up with alarm service, sending a termination letter or making a cancellation call is another feasible solution to end a security monitoring contract with alarm companies.
Generally speaking, a termination letter, regarded as a form of proper notices, is more preferable. With such letters, alarm companies cannot deny that you have demanded termination before the expiry of the home security contracts.
A suitable termination letter shall include:
- The contract or service number
- The expiry date of your contracts
- The date that you want to end home security contracts
- The termination reasons (if you're going to get out of a security system "for causes",
you need to specify it to reduce and avoid early termination fees)
- Your signature
- Additional materials demanded by the cancellation clauses
Make Sure That You Get Out of a Security System Contract Successfully
Once the contract is cancelled, it's best to follow up and ensure that you are getting out of security monitoring contracts with alarm companies.
Here is a complaint from a homeowner:
This system has not been monitored and was not used for over two years. But we continued to pay for it because neither the alarm company nor the bank would discontinue the payouts.
So, to avoid paying for the services you have cancelled, contact the alarm companies and ask them to offer you a confirmation letter stating the proper cancellation of home security contracts.
Alternative Systems Without Contracts
If you want to avoid contracts altogether, no worries; there are many excellent home security systems with no monthly fees. SimpliSafe, for example, allows users to use their equipment locally, while the use of the app requires a contract. Ring Alarm and abode, on the other hand, both allow for app use even without a warrant. Do your research to find a reliable system that doesn’t require a commitment of any kind. To learn more, read our pages on Ring Alarm costs and abode costs.
One of the biggest complaints from begrudged home security customers is that they weren’t aware they signed up for a long-term contract. That’s why it’s so imperative to read your entire agreement from start to finish. At the very least, you’ll be aware of their cancellation policy, which will come in handy if you’re unsatisfied with your home security system.