A Utah-based home security and alarm company with door-to-door solicitors in the Lawrence area has an F-rating from the Better Business Bureau and recently reached a $76,000 settlement with the Missouri attorney general partly for misleading customers about its relationship with other security companies.
A Journal-World article Friday detailed how Lawrence police said they had received three calls in the last week from northwest Lawrence residents about solicitors asking several questions about their home security systems. In two instances the solicitors were unable to provide business cards, and in another a woman solicitor did not have any information about her company, said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence police spokesman.
Shayne Kahle, operations manager at Lawrence-based security company Rueschhoff, said about a dozen customers had called about door-to-door solicitors who in some cases were misrepresenting themselves as Rueschhoff employees. The solicitors said they needed to check the person’s home alarm system as a way to try to get inside to pitch them a new system from an out-of-state company.
The Better Business Bureau of Kansas also recently sent out an alert warning of a possible scam in which salespeople will wear logos of well-known security companies and target a house because they see that company’s sign in the yard.
Clint Cushing of Pinnacle Security identified himself as a regional manager in an online comment he posted on Friday’s Journal-World story and said the company was sending representatives door-to-door in Lawrence.
“We have and enforce a code of conduct that requires honesty and ethical behavior,” Cushing wrote in the online comment.
Cushing in an email Friday referred questions to company spokesman Stuart Dean, who did not return a message. In his online comment, Cushing referred to Pinnacle Security as a “preferred partner” of Devcon Security, a Texas-based security company with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Devcon and Pinnacle are both owned by Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm.
But the Better Business Bureau does list an F-rating for Pinnacle Security, LLC, including 1,196 complaints in the last three years and settlements in several states.
According to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office, the settlement there resolved a May 2011 lawsuit in which Koster’s office alleged Pinnacle induced consumers to buy security systems by misrepresenting they were associated with the consumer’s current alarm company and that homeowners would receive free services when they were not.
Pinnacle Security did recently apply for and receive 23 city-issued solicitation licenses, said Deputy City Clerk Diane Trybom. Each employee must carry the photo identification while going door-to-door in the city after passing a background check to make sure no active warrants are out for his or her arrest, McKinley said.
It also appears Pinnacle Security won’t be the only door-to-door security solicitors in Lawrence for long. Trybom said another company, ARM Security Inc., also of Utah, was recently approved for about 40 solicitors licenses. ARM Security has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, although it’s not accredited with the BBB.
McKinley said before letting anyone inside your home, police advise residents to call their utility or home security company to verify they have sent someone to the address.