Residential Alarm Systems

Use these tips when purchasing a residential alarm system:

  • Ease of Use and Operation
    • Purchase a system that is easy to use and to explain to others. Complicated alarms can not only be frustrating but are also the leading cause of false alarms.
  • Quality
    • An alarm system that is not installed properly or uses substandard equipment can increase costs with repair bills and false-alarm service fees.
  • Fair Price
    • Get written estimates of material and installation costs from at least three companies before you purchase an alarm system. Obtaining estimates helps determine if one company's alarm system is significantly more expensive than another system.

How to Choose a Quality Alarm System at a Fair Price

  • Ask neighbors and friends what they like and don't like about their alarm systems. Were their systems installed properly and easy to use?
  • Ask your alarm company for a list of local references. Call several references and find out what others like and dislike about the company and their equipment.
  • Verify that your alarm company and employees are:
    • Properly licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
    • In good standing with the Better Business Bureau in Stockton and the California Department of Consumer Affairs. See "External Links" below.
  • Make sure the alarm company has a local business license by calling the City's Business License Division.
  • Find out if the alarm company is a member of the National Burglar Alarm Association and the Greater Valley Alarm Association.
    • Members of these associations pledge to use only the highest installation standards and to employ only state-licensed installers.

Take Time to Study your Sales Contract

  • Do not let a salesperson pressure you into signing a contract. Read your contact carefully and understand its terms before you sign.
  • Be suspicious of a salesperson offering you a special price only if you agree to sign the contract immediately. Remember, you have 3 days to change your mind about buying a wired alarm.
  • Your alarm salesperson should explain the alarm ordinance before you purchase an alarm system.

Ask these Questions

  • Will I be leasing or purchasing the alarm system?
  • Who will repair the alarm?
  • Is someone available 24-hours-per-day, 7-days-per-week?
  • What are the conditions of warranty? (BEWARE claims of a "lifetime" warranty. A reliable firm will not offer you one without an additional charge).

If your Alarm is Monitored, Ask More Questions

  • Who will monitor the alarm?
  • Where is the alarm company's central dispatch station located?
  • Is it local? Are dispatchers knowledgeable of the requirements of Stockton's alarm ordinance?
  • Is their station certified by Underwriter's Laboratory?
  • Use Enhanced Call Verification?

External Links

California Department of Consumer Affairs, License Search for Alarm Company
California Department of Consumer Affairs
Better Business Bureau in Stockton