Product Rating: 2.0
Pros24 hour monitoring, fairly quick installation, quick call back on alarms
Cons Poor trouble shooting methods, customer service needs improvement
The Bottom Line Eeeech. I would have been better off buying a gun and a Doberman. They just don't believe in quality customer service.
Full Review When I was closing the deal on my home in 1996, I knew that I was going to need to get a security alarm, as it did not have one. So, when I saw a representative from Brinks Security at a local Fair, I figured that I would ask a few questions and get an estimate. My main issue was that since the house was still in escrow for a few more weeks, that I could time it so that the installation could be performed before I moved in, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it during and after the move. Or, so I thought.
Before taking actual possession of the house, I called Brinks to get an appointment. The home was just days from closing, so I wanted to make the appointment for a week away. “I’m sorry”, the customer service representative said, “you must be IN the home and have possession of it to make an appointment”. Well, this puzzled me a bit, as it wasn’t an issue for the cable and phone companies for installation. So, I went on to ask how long it would be to make an appointment once I was actually living in the home. “Well, we are completely booked up through the month of December, so the earliest we could get you in would be January. It’s too bad that you aren’t living in the home now, or we could set you up for an installation within the next week”. Well, at this point, I should have asked for my deposit back and ran like hell. However, being the idiot I am, I figured that there would still be hope, and I made my appointment for early January, nearly two months away.
So began my five year long relationship, er, struggle with Brinks.
About the company - Brinks started out in 1859 providing various security services for companies. In 1983, they expanded in the home security market, and business has been booming ever since with nearly one million customers in the United States, due in large part for the trusted Brinks name.
Packages - Installation starts at $99.99, and goes up from there based upon options that are all at an additional cost. The price that I paid was $99.99 for installation, plus and additional $149.99 for 2 motion sensors, 3 window/door sensors, and a keypad. I paid an additional $79.99 for an audible outside alarm, that I’m sure my neighbors hate (more about that later). So, my total bill was around $320.00, plus tax. Brinks also options a remote and a glass break sensor.
Monitoring - Brinks offers 24 electronic monitoring, which was a big plus for me, as I work odd shifts. Fire, police and paramedic help can all be dispatched with this monitoring service. If the alarm actually goes off, Brinks calls back and asks for your code, so if it is an intruder and they don’t have the code, help is immediately dispatch. Of course, the call is canceled if the correct password is given, and they always call within 60 seconds of an alarm going off, which is nice. Fees for this service are $26.99, and an additional $4.00 for their additional service plan, which covers any problems that you may have with the alarm. I highly recommend spending the extra four bucks, as it is insurance against wiring, hardware, and installation problems.
Installation - Once the installation day came, I was surprised at how many technicians were involved, as there must have been six to 10 people from Brinks doing the job. Installation took about four hours, and involved drilling, cabling, and wiring my home. As the alarm works primary through the phone lines, phone service was disrupted during the installation.
After the installation was completed, the Brinks technician explained how the system works and using the monitoring pad. There is a large orange box, which is essentially the “brain” of the system. I would highly recommend putting this in some place that is easily accessible for future use. I should also add that the Brinks technicians did a good job of cleaning up debris from the installation and were very friendly and answered all of my questions.
The problems - A few months after the installation, I began to experience false alarms, while I was away from the house. Of course, this caused the police to come out and the neighbors to hate me, as the outside alarm was loud, very loud. I called Brinks, and they sent out a technician right away, who replaced the door sensors and determined they were at fault. Within a few days, more false alarms and more calls to Brinks. Again, they dispatched service, and each time, they replaced another “part” of the alarm.
After experiencing six false alarms over the next few weeks, Brinks had no idea what else to advise the technicians to do, and eventually, they disconnected the “panic” option, which allows the police or fire department to be dispatched immediately, and this appears to have resolved the problem. As for Brinks, they didn’t believe that this is the problem, and that it is the fault of phone equipment on my end.
So, am I happy with Brinks? - Not really. The delay in the initial installation basically told me that this company is not flexible at all and will not “bend” the rules for customers in the least. My other issue with Brinks was the fact that while I was having problems with my system, it was inoperable, until it could be serviced, which could be up to several days away. Plus, since Brinks makes you sign a 36 month contract, the customer is required to pay for the removal of the system, if the contract is terminated during this time.
Overall thoughts - Well, I’ve had my alarm system for nearly five years now, and haven’t had any problems since disconnecting the panic feature from the alarm. Of course, since this option is disconnected, I am basically screwed if an intruder breaks in and puts a knife to my neck. So, besides this “issue”, I am fairly happy with my alarm, but I really cannot recommend Brinks for alarm service for others. They simply don’t make customer service and satisfaction a priority. Needless to say, I now sleep with a baseball bat under my bed for protection, since I can’t count on Brinks to provide that.
As always, thanks for reading!