I brought Gabriel from Engineered Alarm Solutions to take over an existing system that was already in place. Gabriel made a good impression, and his installer was very professional. The existing modem was replaced and we added a panel and additional sensors.
The day after the installation, we opened one of the windows which triggered the alarm. I deactivated the alarm within a few seconds. I missed a call from the alarm monitoring station given that the reception is somewhat poor in my area. Once I called them back, within 20 minutes, I was told they dispatched the police which I asked them to cancel.
I was then told that if the police were dispatched, there would be a fee of roughly $180 that would be incurred. I complained that Gabriel never explained I would get a call when I deactivated my alarm, and asked him to ensure that the monitoring station stop calling if the alarm is deactivated in less than 30 seconds.
For the next several months, I had another 3-4 false alarms caused by winds opening windows, or system tests conducted at about 2AM which woke me up with the high pitch beeps (which I complained to Gabriel about and he changed the timing to 10AM). Even though the alarm was successfully deactivated each time, the monitoring station always called.
In the meantime, I also got a message about the $185 fine from the police, which we thought was cleared given that we hadn't heard anything in about 2 months. I complained about the lack of clear guidance and explanation, and asked for the charge to be reversed. Instead, I was asked to talk directly with the police alarm unit and ask them to drop the fine given my situation.
About 3 months after switching to Engineered Alarm Solutions, one of the sensors malfunctioned. Gabriel came by to diagnose but didn't find the issue. He sent his team over, this cost me $165, the fix took about 5 minutes. The team was professional, the original installer was part of that, and he knew exactly what to do. Gabriel did tell me about a $5/month extra to have his team address any issues such as this.
Once I talked with the police unit, it turned out that the only way to reverse a charge is to file paperwork and show that I had some work done to address the original false alarm. Gabriel didn't know this was the procedure, and I asked him to file the paperwork and add the recent work order as proof.
Gabriel talked with me and explained that my alarm system signal with alarm.com only shows when an alarm is activated, and not when it's deactivated. This is why the monitoring station always calls, regardless of my requests. The $29/month (pre-taxes) doesn't include this, which was frustrating, and Gabriel said we can move up to a more expensive plan or replace the existing modem (which I purchased from him).
I wasn't happy with the system given the nuisance of being called by the monitoring station, and several nights of lost sleep due to sensors going off or a system test failing. I lost faith in the system and the service given the noted issues.
I asked Gabriel to cancel the service, and return my partial payment for monitoring services (which I paid for a year in advance). I was asked to wait for the decision from the police, since Gabriel wasn't willing to take any responsibility for not knowing the alarm system or police procedures as far as alarms go. In about 3 weeks, the police charges were reversed, as the police unit told me.
The system was activated and I got back the credit for the unused time with the alarm monitoring. The one good thing is that there are no long term contracts, it's month to month so it felt good to break free.
My advice is to carefully research alarm companies, the exact system you'll have installed, understand if the the police or alarm guards will arrive, contract duration, included equipment, and equipment maintenance, so you can make the best decision.