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ADT is Historic, but are They Always There?

ADT is the brand name of home security. If you know anything about the industry—and even if you don’t—you’re probably familiar with their blue yard sign and acronym that seem to dominate every neighborhood. ADT is a long standing company whose name gives customers confidence and scares burglars.


They’re the most trusted and popular home security monitoring service in the country, and they even serve Canada. But despite their reputation, they aren’t perfect. They’ve got some flaws. But the question is, do those flaws outweigh the positives? Should you join the ranks of many in your neighborhood and promote the iconic, blue ADT sign in your front yard?

How it all Began

What you might not know about the home security giant is that they are actually 143-years-old. They were founded in 1874 as the American District Telegraph. Between 1910 and 1930 ADT began working in areas like fire alarms and security alarms. They became publicly owned in the 1960’s.


Throughout the years ADT has had different owners and purchased different companies of their own. In 2012, they started trading as an independent public company on the New York Stock Exchange. To date, ADT services 35 different countries.


One of their unique methods to sell their product is that they use local retailers. These retailers are third party salesman. Some are known for aggressive sales tactics and poor customer service. If you’re buying ADT, it’s probable that you’ve purchased from one of these authorized retailers.


ADT systems are installed by their team of professionals, so you don’t waste time installing. This eliminates any fear of doing something wrong. Their phone application allows users to arm and disarm their homes, along with various other commands.


A company of ADT’s size is able to share quite a bit of resources for their customers. They have 24/7 customer support and various monitoring stations to fulfill customer demands. They might install as early as next day, their money back guarantee is six months, and they have a cancellation policy that is better than most competitors.


To be eligible for ADT’s service you have to have a 600+ credit score—so, that might rule out potential customers from the start—and you have to be willing to sign a three year contract (two years if you’re in California).


If You Buy Them, What Do You Get?

ADT is an expensive option, and they’re pricing exceeds many other monitoring services, especially in an age where do-it-yourself (DIY), self monitored systems run rampant. If you’re on a tight budget, ADT isn’t the best option.


Packages for ADT include environmental sensors for flood, fire, and carbon monoxide. Fortunately, for their high prices, you are are getting more than just security. Users also get medical alert pendants for medical monitoring. These devices are for older adults or people with disabilities so they can retain access and safety in their homes if they’re at risk of falling or other accidents.


If you cancel with ADT you’re only required to pay 75% of the remaining charges. This is much friendlier than most companies that require their customers to pay 100% of the remaining balance. You might have installations fees with ADT. Check with the company if you order from corporate or a local retailer.


Here is how their pricing breaks down:


As you can see, the only ADT option that comes with mobile notifications is ADT Pulse. That is a pricey option at $52.99 a month. If you want to add other smart home features like video and cloud video storage, you’re now looking at the $58.99 ADT Pulse + Video option.


Customers can purchase additional items at additional charges: control panel, door and window sensor, motion sensor, glass break sensor, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, panic button, siren, tilt sensor, key fob, medical pendant, recessed door sensor, flood sensor, and indoor camera.

Is it Worth it?  

ADT is a trusted option in home security, but you won’t get them without paying a high price. As you saw above, the lower tier options aren’t too expensive, but once you start getting into the home automation options you want—smart apps, additional cameras and more—you’ll be paying an expensive price for the package and the additional equipment you’ll probably have to buy.


Other problems you’ll run into depend on where you buy ADT. If you buy the service from the corporate retailer you’ll get their standard packages, but a local retailer might charge different prices for the same features and equipment. These prices could be more or less expensive depending on the retailer you’re working with.


Customer service will vary with local retailers, and you won’t have any DIY options. You’ve got to have a professional installer come, but if this is one from a local retailer, it’s likely they want to help you as much as possible since they are part of the same community.


Customers like the high quality equipment of ADT and they respond quick to emergencies. Customers just complain about customer service and contract terms. But their contracts aren’t out of the ordinary. Three years (36 months) is the industry standard.

The Takeaway

They’re a storied company. They are reliable, have stood the test of time, and you know you’ll be in good hands. As such a large company, they have a number of resources to take care of you as a customer. They even have hardwired options, and for $20 a month customers can connect security equipment from other companies to ADT.


Some people aren’t fond of their dealer model for selling security, but it could work out in your favor. Since these dealers are a part of your community, they have more of a reason to give a good deal and take care of you. They aren’t a stranger on the phone that’s far away at a corporate office.


The cancellation policy is friendly with 75% paid to cancel, they’ll offer the smarthome tools you need, and take care of you most steps of the way. If you want a trusted and reliable source with a proven history, go with ADT.