When Free isn’t Free

When “Free” isn’t free….
In the consumer world, we live in; we are bombarded with sales pitches every day! Whether it’s on TV, Radio, Instagram or Facebook, businesses are trying to persuade you to buy from them.
There are many great companies with great legitimate offerings. How do you tell the difference between a great offer and a “to good to be true” proposal?
From our experience, there is one word that should set off alarm bells in your head when it comes to consumer advertising offers. That word is “FREE”.
Over the years we have witnessed, many competitors use the word “free” in ads and promotions. Whether it’s a “free” alarm system or “free” camera or “free” doorbell camera, we know it’s at best a play on words, at worst.
We all know that for a Security Company, or any company, to stay in business, it must be profitable. Offering free products is not a path to profitability for any company. So, what does “free” really mean when you are looking for a security provider for your home or business? What should you watch out for? Here are a few tips that can help clarify your next purchase.
1. Many use the “free” give away of a product to entice you to purchase something more significant and more costly. In itself, there is nothing wrong with this approach, but realize the free bobble, is increasing the cost of the other purchase you are making. You are paying for it, just indirectly.
2. Long term service contracts are another way that a “free” product is paid for. With free Alarm System offers, free Hot Water Tank offers, etc. , unless you sign a long-term agreement, you won’t receive any hardware. Make sure you are aware of the terms of the contract. How long are you committed? How long is the warranty? Is the price guaranteed for the length of the contract? Contracts are a necessary way of doing business, but some can be onerous, and the terms may not meet your lifestyle or needs. Read the fine print before signing.
3. In today’s age of WIFI connectivity of so many devices, be careful that you are not signing away your privacy for the sake of a free trinket. If you must allow the provider to have access to your device or internet WIFI, think long and hard before you accept the offer. If you do take a “connected” device, make sure you read the instructions/reviews thoroughly and activate all the manufacturer provided security features.
4. Is the product offered a proprietary product? This question is particularly important when there is a service attached to the product, such as alarm monitoring. If you are unhappy with the service, will that product work with another provider?
5. Last but not least is the adage your parents and grandparents always repeated. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The benefit of today’s technology is the ability to research products and service products. Google sources such as the Better Business Bureau, Facebook, TrustPilot etc.. They provide great review platforms where you can read other customers experiences with a product or provider.
Your time, security and satisfaction is valuable. Consequently, choose carefully when making significant purchases. “Free” can be very expensive…

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