Pinnacle Security / Contract Disaster
One Saturday we were approached by a door-to-door rep from Pinnacle Home Security Systems offering free installation and equipment with a 36 month contract for a home security system. The contract runs about $40.00 per month, which is a lot of money for us, or most people; however we have a seriously ill family member who would benefit by an alert system that can be worn around the house. It will dispatch help at the touch of a button should he fall, etc. The medical alert feature doesn't work from the downstairs where the ill person spends most, if not all of his time. That wasn't something we discovered until after the three days had passed. (There's a three day window when you can turn around and cancel the agreement/contract.) Once the system was installed we learned that it is a 39 month contract, not a 36 month one.
Within the first two weeks the phone line stops working. So, in the mist of working two jobs with a seriously ill family member in and out of the hospital/emergency room we stop to call the phone company. Obviously, it's a problem if we can't get messages or calls from doctors, pharmacists, concerned family...you get the picture. The phone company narrows down that the security system has some how begun dialing out continuously, even if it's disarmed. Between changing clothes to head off to job number two we contact Pinnacle. They dispatch a contracted technician who will call within 72 hrs to set up a time to when they can look at it. In the meantime, we have life threatening medical needs and no phone line, nor one for several days. Who knows when we will have one again?
We didn't know it would cause trouble with the phone line, or that it could take days on end to have it looked at, let alone fixed - that wasn't in the contract... We can’t use our phone. What if we needed to call 9-1-1? The personal alert feature doesn’t work for us. To boot, the alarm system literally freaks out the ill family member, putting them in severe panic, crying spells. This is not a product that will meet our needs. It’s not what we expected and now we can’t get anyone with authority to cancel the contract.
Okay, the contract doesn't tell us that the police department could charge huge fees if the system goes off in a false alarm. (An acquaintance who had previously worked for another company as a rep through out the number of somewhere between $1000.00.) Pinnacle couldn't give us a range of what some counties may charge, but they did verify that you can be billed by your local services if they are dispatched and it turns out it’s a false alarm.
Forty minutes later, long periods on hold neither one has the ability to cancel contracts the Pinnacle phone rep say, yet she is the cancelation department she tells us. Next, we requested to have the auto bill feature disengaged and were told no; more than once. Is that legal? After the third or forth round the representive says, well I can do that for you for a fee of $25.00. Oh, so you can do something you said previously you couldn't. I see. I can conclude that you can cancel a contract but you just won’t. Do they threaten to fire you if you do, I ask myself. You certainly aren’t a customer advocate providing an outstanding experience.
When the person you are speaking with doesn't have authority to respond to your request then you ask to speak to the next level, right. "He is unavailable." Of course, "he's unavailable." May I please be transferred, may I please have his number...voicemail...have him call me... Well, the round and round request to speak to someone else resulted in no, no, no. So, no one in the cancelation department can cancel a contract, even one that has been broken, one that doesn't work as expected, could incur additional local county charges not previously informed about, and most importantly one that causes an ill person to be at risk for serious repercussions. No one can escalate a call? That’s interesting.
What choice is left, an attorney, the Better Business Bureau? Help.