Screw You, ADT! I’m Out!

This is a guest post from my friend YFS, owner and author of Your Finances Simplified. He was born and raised in West Philadelphia and is now a financial adviser, IT contractor, landlord, and treasurer of a non-profit. He created his blog partly due to his desire to help people with their finances.


ADT got me! They got me good.

You see, it was January of 2009, and I had just purchased my home. Everyone knows that when you buy a home with a mortgage, you will need to have home insurance. Home insurance can be quite expensive, depending on several factors, but there are things that you can do to lower your annual home owners insurance (I discuss this in my article, 8 hidden cost of home ownership.)

You can usually get a discount of at least 5% for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or deadbolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20% if you install a sophisticated fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations.

The Quest for a Security System

Knowing that I definitely wanted a discount, I was already looking for a security system for my new home. I normally wouldn’t admit this, but I was being lazy and didn’t do my research. As a result, you won’t be surprised by what happens next.

What happened was a door-to-door salesman came over one day and showed me his shiny ADT security system. The ADT product was much cheaper than the security systems the other door-to-door salesmen were peddling.

“Oh, this person is much cheaper. It must be a good deal,” I thought at the time.

So, I signed us up for 3 years of service at $47.99 per month.

That meant that ADT cost me $575.88 per year! Yes, I got a small discount on my home owners insurance but not enough to justify paying ADT all this money for a sub par security system.

Three years later…

I sent in my cancellation notice. I switched to a DIY system which provides me with triple the coverage and utility of the ADT system for a fraction of the cost.

The new security system cost me 389 dollars to buy and 50 dollars a year to maintain. It’s so much better than ADT it’s not even funny. The payback period for the system is less than 1 year! When I called ADT to cancel, even the representative said, “Wow, that’s a much better setup.”

Details of the New Security System

My old Alarm system included:

1x ADT keypad
1x Motion detector
2x Key fobs
2x door/window sensors

My new alarm system includes:

1 x AAS-V series keypad w.auto-dialler.
1 x AAS wireless GSM module.
1x AAS wireless outdoor siren
1x AAS wireless indoor siren w.strobe
1x AAS wireless smoking detector
1x AAS wireless glass break detector
3 x AAS wireless motion detectos.
10 x AAS wireless door window sensors.
4 x AAS wireless remote controllers.

Big difference, huh?

You can find my alarm system on the website aasalarm.com

What I Learned

What I learned from the ADT experience is that I will never ever, ever sign a multi-year contract for services without a ton of analysis and research. I can’t be too upset at myself about my ADT mishap since I was 25 at the time. You live and you learn.

In summary, I gave ADT $1727.64 of my hard earned income for craptastic service. Now, I pay $50 a year for a better solution.

What are some services you saved money on recently?

26 Responses to “Screw You, ADT! I’m Out!”

  1. Money Beagle says:

    ADT is awful.  My parents were going to switch over to them, they wanted to double their price and they would have to drop half of their security system to be compatible. 

  2. Squeezer says:

    I've only heard bad things about ADT and your post reinforces this.  When I bought my house several years ago, the previous owner had an ADT alarm system.  I was immediately spammed by ADT to sign up for service.  I did not sign up, but the keypad and system were still powered on in the house.  Every once in a while when the power would go out from a storm or the like, when power was restored, the siren in the attic would go off.  Usually I could get it to shut up by flipping the main breaker, but after one storm that no longer worked.  I had to climb into the attic and cut the wiring for the siren.  Soon after that, I ripped out the rest of the system.

    My wife stays at home, and Smith & Wesson protects us.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       hahah "Smith and Wesson protects us"  Nice.  I was looking into getting the SW Govenor.  I like it because it fires 45's and shot gun rounds.  The alarm system is good to startle the intruder I would rather use the weapon at the last minute possible.

  3. Tanner E says:

    We never really trusted ADT or anything that required door-to-door salespeople. We once had them come to the house and try to sell us their system. They even offered a free trial (which attached you to a 3-year contract if you didnt cancel, plus the cost of uninstalling the systems). We never really needed a security system because we had a dog. A rather loud, hyper dog. I agree with you though. Sometimes we don't look at the aggregate cost or possible alternatives before setting up for things we think may be a necessity, and just because it's a contract, it does not mean it is cheaper. It often means that if you could cancel before the contract ends, you might.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       You hit the nail on the head.  I was duped because I didn't do research.  I was a new homeowner and I was lazy

  4. JT says:

    Hmm…you must have a lot of valuables to make ADT worth it.  I'll keep that in mind when I go pro-burglar. 

    I've been burned by door to door salespeople before.  One of the many who have tried to sell me a magazine subscription offered "free" issues for a trial run.  Yeah…they weren't free - he passed me something to sign with a total sale box left blank by him (not the first!). I'm sure that blank spot would have been filled with some outlandish price as he walked away from my door.

    And of course I've paid the "aww aren't you cute" and "young entrepreneur" tax all to many times.  Those darn kids and their $2 king sized fundraiser candy bars are just too much.  I hate saying no because the last thing we need is entrepreneurial youngsters to get discouraged.  A modest donation for an overpriced candy bar is something I'll tolerate.  

    That said, ADT, long distance/cable people, and charity salespeople over the age of 16 get a no almost immediately.  Add me too the Do Not Knock list!

  5. Joe says:

    Good point about the multi years contract. I try to avoid those as well. 

  6. CultOfMoney.com says:

    What type of DIY system did you go with?  I recently just replaced an x10-based system that I really liked.  Had door/window sensors everywhere, motion detectors, glassbreak units, extra sirens, and called a monitoring service.  Luckily never had to make use of it nor had it made use of, but nice to know that I have an extra few seconds of warning while sleeping.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       I went with a system from aasalarm.com.  it has the following items:

      1 x AAS-V series keypad w.auto-dialler.
      1 x AAS wireless GSM module.
      1x AAS wireless outdoor siren
      1x AAS wireless indoor siren w.strobe
      1x AAS wireless smoking detector
      1x AAS wireless glass break detector
      3 x AAS wireless motion detectos.
      10 x AAS wireless door window sensors.
      4 x AAS wireless remote controllers.

  7. YourFinancesSimplifi says:

     hahah.. I have learned from my ADT experience and I am now more like you when it comes to people selling things who are over 16. 

  8. Quest says:

    I used to use ADT.  They sent a couple of kids over to my new house with hardwood floors to wire in an alarm system and the whole time I was afraid that these kids didn't know what they were doing.  Cut a long story short, they dragged a heavy trashcan all around the house while they worked and left a deep scratch trail as wide as the base of the garbage can in all the hallways and rooms.  The house had just been built and we hadn't moved into it at that time but I just about flipped when I saw the damage.  The kids couldn't have cared less and ADT refused to take responsibility for fixing the damage. Had I been already living in the house, that trash can wouldn't have made it into the house in the first place.  The kids were thoughtless and looked as though they were still in high school and the reseller who provided the system and labor was as shady as #$%.  ADT?  Never ever again.

  9. Quest says:

    PS. I recently saved money by cancelling my ATT cell phone plans and using pay as you go phones and service from Tracfone.  So far, I love it.

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

       Great job on the savings.  I found that I use my phone way too much to give up the monthly plan.  damn iphones!!!

  10. Jonathan Nichol says:

    Thanks so much for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  11. Car Negotiation Coac says:

    YFS- This is awesome!  I'm actually in the market for a system and that price blows the big providers out of the water.  

    I'm curious though (and I can't easily determine from the site), how do emergency monitoring calls work?  I see they make outbound calls, but is there actually a service that receives those calls and reports to the police/fire dept., etc?  Or do you just program it to dial 911 and hope they respond to the recorded message quickly?

    • YourFinancesSimplifi says:

      You would program the system to dial 911 but,  I wouldn't recommend doing that.  Just have it dial 6 of your closets friends.  They in turn will try to reach you and if they can't will dial 911 very similar to how ADT does it


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