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If you start with a good monitoring vendor this will never be a problem, but we have an issue making it so burdensome for users to switch if their dealer service levels fall or their pricing is no longer competitive. If you don’t buy the equipment outright, Vivint requires either a four or five year contract — a long time to commit, especially given that you only have three days from the date of install to cancel. Afterwards, you’ll have to pay out the remainder of your contract. If you may be moving in the near future, it’ll cost you $99 to take the system with you. You could alternatively renew your contract, but then you’d be locked in for even longer. Vivint will waive any cancellation fees for extenuating circumstances like death, military circumstances, bankruptcy, or a move to assisted living. Still, it’s best to be intentional if you decide on Vivint. ADT doesn’t have the strongest customer service reputation among the companies we considered, racking up more than 3,000 complaints on its Better Business Bureau page. While we chalked most of this up to the fact that ADT has several million more customers than its competitors, our tester began his call with low expectations. He was pleasantly surprised, saying, “My needs drove the conversation. And once I finally had the quote, he explained the purpose behind each device I was receiving and what the installation might entail.

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But don’t dismiss the importance of alarm monitoring. Crime statistics show that burglars aren’t scared away by sirens. They know it will take at least three to five minutes for neighbors to call the police and just as long for police to respond to the call. A home security system monitoring service can contact the authorities much faster. Insurance companies understand the importance of faster police/fire notification, and many offer discounts to offset some of the monitoring costs. So check with your insurer.