Watch out for this company!!! Learn from my expensive mistake.
Wanted to post this so everyone can learn from my mistake.
Beware of Certified Alarm Technicians (C.A.T.) in Boynton Beach, Florida. They are an alarm company that services South Florida.
When we bought our townhouse in Lake Worth (new construction back in 2005) the builder told us that C.A.T. had done all of the security system install and after we moved in we called them about getting alarm service.
My wife met the tech at our house to complete the install and programming of the control panel. With a 6-month-old baby in one hand and a pen in the other she signed the papers on the tech’s clipboard as he was leaving. See where this is going?
About a year later, we moved to Miami due to my work. When I sent notice to C.A.T. to stop the alarm service they informed me that we had a 5-year contract and if we wanted to cancel the service we would have to buy-out our contract (over a thousand dollars). When I asked about the 5-year contract and why I was never told about that in the numerous phone calls before the install they informed me that it was part of the contract we signed (my wife signed). When I reviewed the paperwork from the day of the install, there it was in tiny little font. They offered us a discount settlement of $700 but we opted to make the monthly payments while the house was on the market. We are honest people, my wife did sign the paperwork, and we continued to pay for alarm even though there was no phone connection and there was nothing for them to monitor.
After two years on the market we finally sold the house in July of 2008. We contacted C.A.T. and told them the house had been sold. They politely informed us that we still were under contract until 2010 and would have to buy-out the remainder of the contract. I informed them that they already were paid for two years of service that they did not/ could not provide and I was not going to pay for alarm service on a home we did not own.
On Monday night we received a summons for a court date yesterday at 9am from the plaintiff, C.A.T. We could have postponed the court date but decided to get it over with.
At the courthouse we met with the judge, a mitigator and counsel for C.A.T. We discussed the fact that for two years they were paid for service they did not provide, that at no point did any employee of C.A.T. including the tech on the day of the install ever mention that C.A.T. has a mandatory 5 year contract that is pre-printed on the company stationary. Too make a long story short…the mitigator asked the attorney to leave the room and “off the record” told us we were screwed. The judge, the mitgator all stated that alarm companies are known in the legal community as crooks but there is nothing that has been done to correct it. Because my wife signed the papers, the letter of the law is against us. We still had the option to fight it in court but it is a black and white issue and my wife did sign the “contract.” Alarm companies know this and take advantage of the customer.
The icing on the cake was when the court’s mitigator and C.A.T’s attorney called the manager at C.A.T. to see if he would lower the amount if we settled right then and there. His own attorney (sympathizing with us) explained that I had proof that they, C.A.T., were paid for two years of no service possible and the house had been sold. His remark was not to give us a dime and he would rather take it to court and drive up the legal fees. His generosity was that he would allow us to pay the amount being sued for plus legal and court fees in 4 payments if we needed to. Then he had the audacity to have the attorney tell us that if we wanted to use C.A.T. in the future that it would be allowed.
I think it is safe to say we would never use C.A.T. in the future and I hope my experience and story help some of you. All I can do at this point is file a complaint with BBB and try to inform as many people as possible about C.A.T’s questionable business practices.
Something else I discovered in their contract was that if the customer does not notify C.A.T. by certified mail 60 days prior to the end of the 5 year contract that they wish to cancel service that they will automatically renew your contract for another 5 years.
My wife and I have learned an expensive lesson.