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National Alarm Monitoring Companies for DIYers

pete_c

Guru
Writing this morning about a few national alarm monitoring companies. 
 
I have used one for the last 4-5 years and decided to look some more at the different pricing. 
 
Not sure if this is the appropiate place to post..
 
The structure / charges / features of the one's I looked at were similiar.  These are all companies that offer "dealer" and "DIY" services.  I am guessing that today many of the DIY folks here are using one of these national companies,  Most folks probably would be intererested in central station monitoring.
 
1 - Alarm Relay - advertise $8.95 per month
 
Actual cost for first year is $107.40 + $35.00 (one time installation fee) = $142.40 or $11.87 per month.
 
http://www.alarmrelay.com/best-alarm-monitoring-service-pricing/
 
Email notifications, monitored openings and closings, cellular monitoring and internet monitoring are al la carte extras. 
 
I did get a quote with the additional a la carte monthly charges and will add it here.
 
2 - Geoarm dot com - advertise $8.00 per month with a $1.00 activation fee
 
Not sure on much of the details and will add to this post. DIY is mentioned a lot on their web site.
 
http://www.geoarm.com/diy-alarm-monitoring.html
 
3 - DIY monitoring dot com - advertise $6.95 a month with the purchase of their internet device called With the Aegis BAT (Broadband Alarm Transmitter) at around $95.00.  Not too much more info on the wiring of the BAT box.
 
http://www.diy-monitoring.com/How-It-Works.html
 
4 - Alarm grid dot com - advertise self monitoring for $10.00 per month and UL listed central station monitoring for $15.00 per month.  They have a chart relating to what they offer for the price.
 
https://www.alarmgrid.com/monitoring
 
5 - PhantomLink dot com - this is just a DIY self monitoring solution and does not do UL listed central station monitoring.  It is a simple USB / ethernet device that plugs into your alarm panel.  Two of them are offered:  a USB connector for a PC at $39 and an ethernet device plugged into your alarm panel for $89.99
 
http://www.phantomlink.com/store.aspx
 
6 - Next alarm dot com - self monitoring $11.95 per month.  UL listed central station monitoring with E-mail notifications at $17.95 per month.  I am most familiar with this one.  Using it today.  Current lock in rate is $14.95 per month.
 
http://info.nextalarm.com/services
 
7 - American Digital - American Monitoring Services
 
http://www.alarmmonitoringservices.com/ourrates.html
 
This one is $5.95 per month.  $35.00 set up fee.  There are a few negative reviews about this one.  They do charge for alarm signs and an Insurance certificate.  Also an up front fee $19.95 for a leased digital diverter.  I decided to try this one service keeping the next alarm service on another home.  Set up was easy.  I did request a refund for the leased digital diverter which was done within a couple of hours of request.  I also forwarded the invoice statement and company info to my homeowners insurance agent and my agent said that would suffice (rather than a paid for "Insurance certificate").  There is a renewal clause stating that if you do not renew they they will auto bill your CC acount with a rate of $19.95 per month unless you prepay a term billing period.   The total charge for one year with set up fee of $35 is $106.40 which is $8.87 per month.  This does include an emailing to text or email setup similiar to next alarm dot com.  The web site info is similiar to next alarm dot com but a bit primitive. 
 
8. ....still checking out other companies....
 

chrisexv6

Active Member
Are you looking at these from a standard POTS point of view?
 
Im using cell as the primary signal for my M1 install and found it pretty hard to find a good number of options for monitoring. 
 
GeoArm was one of them but I was disappointed in the lack of reviews. 
 
Alarm Relay I believe was another but they got expensive quickly if you were using cell (plus Ive read a few negatives about how they monitor via cell)
 

pete_c

Guru
In the midwest it was a POTS line set up.
 
In Florida (Next Alarm) one is the Verizon FIOS telco line and the other is a Comcast provided VOIP line.
 

neillt

Active Member
I've been an Alarm Relay customer for quite a while and have been happy with them.  Of course they are extremely local, about 5 miles away from the house....
 

pete_c

Guru
9th of September, 2013
 
American Digital sent me an email on Saturday 09/07/2013 that they made a mistake in my contract from initially set up in June, 2013.
 
They sent me a new bill up charging my account $10 more a month starting September 1, 2013.
 
The above noted; cancelled American Digital service today 9th of September, 2013 in writing in an email to accounting department with a few sentences regarding their changes to my account after only a few months.
 
I had heard things about this company but didn't really think I would have an issue with them.
 
Switched over to Next Alarm dot com as I was already using them for FL. 
 
Fast and easy; paid a year in advance with same rate that I am paying for in FL today.
 
I have been using their service now in FL for some 5 or so years.  No issues to date.
 

ano

Senior Member
I've been using Next Alarm for 5 years and they have been fine.  I think I pay $11.95 a month.  I'm not sure what you mean e-mail notifications costing more, as all the ones I get are free.
 
The only real "problem" I've had with them occured a few months ago.  My wife hit the panic button on her remote instead of the alarm off button. When it was ringing we realized it and turned it off a few seconds later. We got an automated email from Next Alarm a few minutes later saying that since we cancelled the alarm quickly they considered the alarm a false alarm and would not dispatch police. O.K. good I thought I won't need to call them. But then 35 minutes later the police are knocking on my door.
 
So I asked the police why it took 35 minutes to arrive and they said something about being on other calls. (If this had been an actual emergency I'd probably be dead by now.)  Then 3 days later a get the city letter saying how the false alarm would count against my "free" alarms.
 
Not the end-of-the-world, but definitely some miscommunications somewhere.
 

pete_c

Guru
Thanks Ano.
 
Yup; spoke this morning with a sales person and he said he would match my billing for FL. 
 
That said I'll review it again but thinking its is like $14.95 per month paid yearly.
 
Relating to billing salesperson appeared flexible.  Wonder if they would match yours at $11.95 / month paid yearly?
 
Next alarm has some background issues that I wouldn't like to get into and have to provide everything from soup to nuts....but there's a lot of issues that come around with their service, service model, what they offer vs. what it actually is.
 
Buyer beware is the best I can say.

If you've had good results, then I say good, but knowing the entire industry and who is interconnected and interrelated and certifications, it's not a warm fuzzy place I'd want to go or be involved in.
 

ano

Senior Member
pete_c said:
Thanks Ano.
 
Yup; spoke this morning with a sales person and he said he would match my billing for FL. 
 
That said I'll review it again but thinking its is like $14.95 per month paid yearly.
 
Relating to billing salesperson appeared flexible.  Wonder if they would match yours at $11.95 / month paid yearly?
If I think of it, I think I signed up for three years, which gave me this rate, but if you are not planning to move soon, why not?
 

pete_c

Guru
Yup; did the yearly prepay in FL and same here.
 
I've not had any issues in FL over the last few years.
 
I am though used to dealing with larger enterprise security / alarm contracts over multiple offices checking both QOS and their support folks. 
 
It wouldn't bug me to press on Next Alarm should their the QOS decline or they hiccup.
 

JimS

Active Member
Pete,  I've got to believe there is more to the story than AlarmRelay just raised your rates to $18.95 a month (you said it was $8.95 and they raised it $10).  I've used them and been very happy with them.  Never a problem.  Helpful with testing, etc, etc.  The rate of $8.95 is an introductory rate and it goes to something like $10.95 after the first year (IIRC) and that is hidden in the fine print and makes some folks upset.  But that's the worst thing I know of and didn't consider it that terrible.  Was this for just POTS line monitoring with no extras?  They do charge extra for cell monitoring and some other things. 
I'm not going to claim they are perfect - no one is....
 

Madcodger

Active Member
DELInstallations said:
Next alarm has some background issues that I wouldn't like to get into and have to provide everything from soup to nuts....but there's a lot of issues that come around with their service, service model, what they offer vs. what it actually is.

Buyer beware is the best I can say.
If you've had good results, then I say good, but knowing the entire industry and who is interconnected and interrelated and certifications, it's not a warm fuzzy place I'd want to go or be involved in.
Del,

No offense, but that sorta leaves us hanging... I've no loyalties to any of them, but would like to know the company(ies) that work with DIYers that you do like. Thanks.
 

pete_c

Guru
JimS,
 
My contract with American Digitial was for one year starting in May, 2013 included email notifications of openings and closings (turning on and off the alarm).  I did spend some time researching a few companies before deciding to utilize said company in question. 
 
The price with included features was why I chose them in the first place.
 
It was tested to function just fine in May, 2013.  I have not had any issues to current date of September, 2013. 
 
The bill they sent said that I had changed my service and stated it never included monitored openings and closings.
 
The added $10 per month charge states that the change was implemented by me after the initiation of the contract and overlooked by them.  I never changed nor called the company to change anything since May, 2013.
 
Personally I frown upon unsavory business practices especially after writing about them on this forum with nothing but good things to say.
 
It was of no concern to me today to switch services and I was able to change my service in 30 minutes. 
 
With the above mentioned issues though I do not recommend this service; IE: American Digital - American Monitoring Services
 
BTW I have read good things about AlarmRelay.
 
Yup; typically a reputable company doesn't provide pieces of an unread / unpublished contract "fine print" after establishing a  service or put language in a legal binding contract that in one sentence guarantee's service following by another sentence that literally binds you to their service with no means of said purchaser of said contract to terminate the contract in question.  Funny you would think that there would be mechanisms in place to review said illicit business practices with the public in general. 
 
Off on a tangent....
 
Geez; its been over a year; but DTV shut down our working and owned DTivo boxes stating they just didn't work anymore; when in fact they did.  They then installed their branded DVR's and tried to charge me for them.  I said no.  Then a week later the box went dead and they tried to charge me for a service call on the piece of crap that they left here; after removing the said "truck roll" charges they made it sound like they were doing me a favor removing the charges. Meanwhile the installer was suggesting a cash deal for additional DTV boxes and service that he would "personally" manage. 
 
Verizon in Florida one weekend changed my service and "thanked" me for the upgrade and up charges after the fact.  Hours on the phone to customer service proved fruitless and really it was a waste of my time.  I ended up filing a complaint with the Florida State's Attorneys office using the words "slamming" and "fraud".  That fixed my issue within 2 days of said filing.  It was a PITA though to have to do this and typically folks would not take action; but just accept it. 
 
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