I’m alarmed…at the force of their ineptitude

I’m having a go-around with my mom’s alarm company. They offer a $25 referral bonus, and she made such a referral in July. Six months and three calls later, they still somehow haven’t managed to deliver their end of the deal. Since my providing the details to the customer service representative got me no where last time, I wasn’t about to do it again. Rather, I hunted down their last annual report so I could direct my disappointment directly to the CEO. I doubt he’ll even see the letter, but maybe it’ll end up shaking the right tree.

I omitted my mother’s name and one other detail from this on-line reproduction to protect her privacy.

[my address]

December 9, 2014

Anthony Pizzonia
Chief Executive Officer
Alarmforce Industries Inc.
675 Garyray Drive
Toronto, Ontario
M9L 1R2

Mr. Pizzonia,

I’m writing you on behalf of my mother who has been a loyal Alarmforce customer for 26 years. My message is one of concern. Specifically, something is very wrong at your company as the level of customer service has declined for some years now.

The latest incident is a referral my mother made for your Alarmcare service. She recommended it to an acquaintance, who then used my mother’s phone to call Alarmforce and sign up her mother on the spot. I’m not sure of the exact date, but I believe it was in July. I didn’t make a note of it because I hadn’t expected that your company would fail to make good on the referral bonus even six months later.

My mother called in August and the rep told her that the referral credit can take up to three months to work through your system so she would see it reflected in her October charge. It wasn’t. I called in and was very surprised to learn that there was no record of the referral. I had to have my mom contact her friend for her friend’s mother’s name and address. With that information, I called your company a few days later and they took it all down. Despite this, the credit didn’t appear. Again.

Yesterday I called, and I was disappointed to hear that there is no record of the referral or any of our calls about it. The rep was very nice with me, but I had already been through this process once, only to apparently have the entire conversation ignored. I wasn’t about to provide all the information again and hope for the best. It didn’t work the last time so why would I expect a different outcome?

So here I am writing to you, wondering what is going on at Alarmforce. I’m not chasing after your company for something to which we are not entitled. On the contrary, you offered a referral bonus to get business. Now that she’s steered business your way, your organization is enjoying the income, and falling all over themselves to avoid fulfilling your promise. And all the while, Alarmforce makes damned sure the customers pay their bills!

This is all of particular concern because this is a health alarm. If my mother finds herself in distress and presses the button, will she we contacted immediately? Will your representative contact help in a timely manner? The same kind of screw-up in a different department can have dire health consequences, and that’s precisely what we’re paying to avoid.

I have my doubts, given that Alarmforce can’t keep its own promises. Your singular focus seems to be the company books. If your organization is no longer up to the task, please just say so. We’d prefer not to pay for an ultimately false sense of security.

Regards,

[signed]

My brother expressed amazement that I’d go to all this trouble for $25. It stopped being about the $25 a long time ago. It’s a mix of my making sure they aren’t enriched by their own ineptitude, my taking great pleasure in putting the URL of this post at the bottom of the letter I mail them, and my making it clear that it’s not okay to treat my mother so shabbily.

Update

Alarmforce replied.

2 thoughts to “I’m alarmed…at the force of their ineptitude”

  1. Alarmforce’s board terminated Joel Matlin, the founder of the company in the summer of 2013. Since there was no mention of wrongdoing, and the press release only states “The company said at the time it would focus on growing its business.”

    I have a feeling this could mean by growing its business they mean cutting costs/increasing profit so you end up with weaker customer service and avoiding paying the referral bonus.

    I have seen this same thing happen at an other company I was really happy with, where the bankers take over the helm from the passionate founder. The books may look better but the company becomes too corporate and focused on growth and profit and lost me as a customer (I am looking at you Brick Brewing).

    1. You’ll get no argument from me, Brad. That’s exactly how it sounds to me too. They’re trying to grow, forgetting what’s important, and pissing off the customers they already have.

      What I didn’t add is that over the last few years, they’ve been asking to be paid for things that used to be free. Every time something goes wrong, my mom gets upset and asks to talk to “Mr. Matlin,” even though he’s no longer there. They put her on hold, then come back and agree to not charge her. This happens every damn time. It’s ridiculous. I’m pleased that I was able to run interference for her this time, but it shouldn’t happen at all, much less every time.

      Since my folks had an alarm, I’ve grown quite accustomed to it, and if I ever get a house of my own, I’ll seriously consider getting one of my own…but I’d rather not have an alarm than go with Alarmforce. It’s just not worth the ongoing headache.

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