DPS Warns of Unlicensed Alarm Installers

The Texas Department of Public Safety says they've noticed a recent trend of aggressive sales tactics in the alarm and security system industry. The DPS warns people to look out for unlicensed or intimidating salespeople. Laurie Johnson has more.
When it comes to alarm systems, there are rules about these things. Not just anyone can sell or install them. It's a matter of public safety. Texas DPS Captain RenEarl Bowie says people need to know that the person putting in their alarm system is trustworthy.

"The statute is designed and set up to provide citizens some sense of safety that the individual that's coming to their home to sell them a security device or security service has gone through some basic background checks, like for example a computerized criminal history check."

Texas law requires alarm companies to be state-certified. Employees also must be cleared and registered with the state. But Bowie says this summer, there's been an unusual rise in the number of violations. And some people have reported aggressive sales tactics.

"Some of the information we've received is tactics regarding overzealous sales persons continuing to berate the citizen or the patron in regards to trying to get them to purchase the product, not taking no for an answer, repeatedly trying to get the individual to let them in their home even after they've been told that they're not interested in making the purchase and just continually repeating trying to get the individual to allow them access to the residence."

All licensed alarm companies and installers are listed on the DPS website. But if someone's standing at your door trying to make you let them in, it's not exactly easy to stop everything and surf the web to check their credentials.

"One other thing you can do too, is ask to see the individual's pocket card. This card is a license issued by the Department of Public Safety that signifies that this person meets the minimum requirements to be an alarm salesperson or an alarm installer."

Bowie says if you are in the market for an alarm system, do your research and make sure you select an authorized company.

While some of these reports have come from around the state, he says Houston has had the most complaints about unlicensed or aggressive salespeople.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...