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Archive for Friday, May 18, 2012

Utah home security company soliciting in Lawrence has an F rating from Better Business Bureau

May 18, 2012

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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.

Comments

JackMcKee 2 years, 7 months ago

Two things really get on my nerves. 1. anything left on my property that I didn't specifically request (including the weekly LJW advertising supplement) and 2. soliciters.

In fact, why isn't the LJW supplement considered littering?

LadyJ 2 years, 7 months ago

I started throwing them into the street, they quit coming after that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

So, the parent company who owns this scam company is owned by former partners of Mitt Romney at Bain-- very interesting.

Golden Gate Capital Partners is a private equity firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm makes investments primarily in mature technology companies, as well as other select industries, through leveraged buyout transactions as well as significant minority purchases and growth capital investments. The firm was founded in 2000, by former investment professionals from private equity firm Bain Capital, as well as business consultants from its affiliate Bain & Company. Golden Gate currently has over $12 billion in assets under management (AUM) and has approximately 30 investment professionals.

Jimo 2 years, 7 months ago

Owned refers to the capital invested. GGC doesn't actively manage the companies. Typically, it provides money for existing management to gain control of their own companies. My guess is that somewhere down the foodchain there are misaligned performance incentives that encourage unethical behavior.

It's important to remember that GGC was formed from equity partners from Bain & Co. as well as Bain Capital. Bain & Co. does much of the same as GGC does - invest in promising companies that just need financing. Bain Capital, where Romney flourished, are "vulture" capitalists, who essentially loot weak companies of their remaining assets if they can't turn them around long enough to find a sucker to sell to. In short, B &Co. creates new value while Bain Capital redistributes existing value. B & Co. is a glittering aspen grove in a mountain meadow while Bain Capital (and Romney) are hungry grizzlies looking for a meal. B & Co. help make success by helping companies serve consumer needs; Bain Capital is seen as "successful" by those who confuse pirate money with success.

I would also note that GGC is one of the new owners of Payless Shoes.

buffalo63 2 years, 7 months ago

All a company has to do to get an A+ rating is to join the BBB by paying a yearly membership fee. When our company received a complaint, which was satisfactorily resolved, we were rated a D. When asked why, we were told we could get the A+ by joining. BBB is a joke, which makes me LOL when the Kansas City law firm advertizes they have an A+ rating and 30 top lawyers.

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