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'Net neutrality' necessary for alarm signals

Industry takes action to ensure ISPs do not interfere with alarm data; ESA, AICC petition FCC
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09/10/2014

WASHINGTON—Concerned about fair, reliable and accurate transmission of alarm data, the ESA and the Alarm Industry Communications Committee are urging the FCC to support net neutrality.

Talking panels and keypads with Marshall Marinace

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09/08/2014

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.—Marshall Marinace, owner of Marshal Alarm Systems, based here, was installed at ESX 2014 as the new president of the Electronic Security Association. Here's how he handles security at home.

Idaho AG: Door-knocking company must reform sales tactics

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I’ve written before about how ADT filed not just one, but two lawsuits against Orem, Utah-based Vision Security, accusing the door-knocking company of scamming customers. And I’ve also written about how Vision Security contends it is being unfairly targeted.

Now, a new settlement Vision has reached with the Idaho Office of the Attorney General paints a picture of Vision sales reps engaging in unfair sales practices in that state.

I reached out earlier this week to Vision attorney Sean Brown for that company’s comments on the settlement but I haven’t yet gotten a response.

However, according to the office of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Vision reached a settlement with that state after being accused of violating Idaho's Consumer Protection Act.

The settlement requires Vision “to implement significant changes to the way its sales representatives interact with Idaho consumers,” according to a July 18 news release from the AG’s office. Also, consumers who paid extra fees because they were scammed may be entitled to a refund from Vision if they submit a complaint form to the AG’s office by Sept. 8, the release said.

Here’s more of what the AG had to say in the release:

"The purchase of a home-security system is a significant investment and consumers should feel safe knowing that the people selling them are providing truthful and honest information, without hidden fees or misrepresentation," Attorney General Wasden said.

Consumers reported to the Attorney General that Vision Security's door-to-door sales representatives misrepresented the terms the company's security system contracts, and that representatives failed to fulfill their promises to "buy-out" consumers' current security system contracts.

Consumers often ended up paying monthly monitoring fees to two companies or paid large termination fees to cancel one of their monitoring agreements. Additionally, Vision Security's door-to-door sales contracts failed to provide consumers with accurate information about the time allowed to cancel contracts.

The settlement requires Vision Security to make several changes to how it does business in Idaho. For example, the company's sales representatives:

*Must wear identification that includes the sales person's name and affiliation with Vision Security.
*Must inform the consumer of his or her three-day right to cancel the agreement.*Must not tell consumers that their current alarm monitoring company went out of business or is affiliated with Vision Security.
*Must not misrepresent the number of security systems Vision Security has installed in the consumer's neighborhood or misrepresent that a consumer's home is located in a high-crime area
 *Must not misrepresent the condition or operability of the consumer's current security system.
 *Must not promise to "buy-out" a consumer's current monitoring agreement.
 

Hmmm…this list reads a lot like some new revisions the Electronic Security Association made to its code of ethics this summer in response to some new sales scams that ADT and other companies have complained door-knocking companies are using.

 

 

Poll: Readers view door-to-door scams as major problem

Impassioned responses reveal just how much door-knocking scams rankle those in the industry
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07/30/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Door-to-door scams were given a big stage at ESX 2014, where ADT held a press conference devoted to rooting the problem out, with representatives from law enforcement, CSAA and ESA weighing in.

ESX 2014 draws more than 2,000 security professionals

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07/29/2014

IRVING, Texas—ESX 2014, held in June in the Music City Center of Nashville, drew more than 2,000 professionals and 200-plus exhibitors, according to a news release from the Electronic Security Association.

ESA says school security spending needs to be about equipment

ESA government relations director: ‘Not one dime’ spent on equipment
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07/16/2014

WASHINGTON—The U.S. government has devoted more than $300 million over the past two years to enhancing school security. While that money has gone toward the production of reports, research, assessments and position papers, among other things, it has not gone toward the actual installation of electronic security systems, John Chwat, director of government relations at the Electronic Security Association, told Security Systems News.

ESA taps new president and officers

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Electronic Security Association has installed Marshall Marinace, owner of Yorktown Heights, N.Y.-based Marshall Alarm Systems, as its president for the next two years.

Marinace’s presidency was one of five new officer appointments announced at ESA’s annual membership meeting held during ESX 2014 in Nashville.

Marinace has been involved in the security industry for 38 years, and his alarm company was founded in 1976. He also has a longstanding involvement with ESA, serving in several different capacities with the association, including multiple terms as vice president, chairperson of the Membership Committee and liaison to the Standards and Fire Life Safety Committee, among other roles, according to an ESA news release.

“Having been involved with association boards and committees for the past 30 years and counting, my personal goal is to continue the legacy and ongoing development of strong leadership that has made ESA the foremost industry association,” Marinance said in a prepared statement. “I am therefore honored and humbled to have been given the opportunity to fill the role as ESA president for the next term.”

The following industry practitioners were also elected to ESA roles:

-- Dee Ann Harn, CEO of RFI Enterprises, elected to one-year term as vice president

-- Chris Mosley, president of Complete Security Systems, elected to two-year term as vice president

-- Angela White, executive vice president of Central 1 Security, elected to two-year term as vice president

-- Jon Sargent, industry relations / government affairs for Tyco Integrated Security, elected to two-year term as secretary

New door-knocking scams prompt ethics code revisions

ESA revises its code of standards to specifically prohibit posing as a ‘preferred monitoring company’ for alarm manufacturer
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06/25/2014

NASHVILLE—ADT says unscrupulous door-to-door sales reps have some new scams and the Electronic Security Association has updated its code of ethics to specifically ban them.

ESA supports 'balanced approach'

The association wants fire detection systems to be eligible for same tax depreciation status as suppression systems
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05/12/2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Electronic Security Association is ramping up efforts in support of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, a bill that would give installers of fire detection systems the same access to federal tax incentives currently available only to fire suppression companies.

ESA takes to the Hill

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ESA just wrapped up its annual Day on Capitol Hill, bringing to the attention of lawmakers several topics of consequence for the security industry, including school security.

The ESA has positioned itself as a partner with Security Industry Association in developing a comprehensive guide to help end users and legislators better understand what electronic security technologies they have at their disposal to bolster school security.

“Most school districts don’t know what type of security to install, and many legislators don’t understand all the technology that’s out there and what exists,” said Daniel Gelinas, who attended the event in his capacity as government liaison for Rapid Response Monitoring. ESA’s Electronic Security Guidelines for Schools, he said, were designed as an authoritative resource to address that knowledge gap.  

The timing of the school security guide is especially good, in light of the latest appropriations act cleared by Congress in January, which contains $75 million in funding for assessing methods to improve school security.

But ESA’s activities on the Hill weren’t limited just to school security matters. The association and industry members are also pushing for expanding the industry’s access to the FBI’s background check database, allowing security companies to better vet their employees for prior criminal activity.

Gelinas said the pair of bills addressing this (one in the House, another in the Senate) would not be a mandate. Rather, if enacted, they would allow security companies in the 26 states without the licensing requirement for the database to access it.

The organization was also in the Capitol promoting funding measures that would protect against elderly abuse through expanded use of video surveillance in nursing homes. Gelinas noted that this would not be a mandate for health care facilities, but would instead give concerned families the option to use electronic security systems to ensure that elderly relatives are getting proper medication and care.

The final area of focus for ESA was getting Congress to back a balanced approach for smoke alarms and other early fire detection systems, putting them on “the same footing as sprinklers” when it comes to receiving tax incentives and government grants, Gelinas said. That would involve amending the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act to include life safety, fire and smoke alarms.

I plan to give more space to this final issue, and some of the aforementioned ones, in an upcoming legislative roundup.

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