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PROTECT AMERICA ALARM SYSTEM / COMPANY / MONITORING 'SHOUT OUT'.



This is a 'Shout-Out' for Protect America Alarm Company / System. I was listening to one of the nationally syndicated 'money guys' talk show on the radio recently and he was STRONGLY warning someone NOT to go with any alarm company that requires a contract. While that may be good advice on some levels, I can only speak to my personal experience with my specific alarm company / system...  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The following is an opinion (and you know what they say about 'opinions').... You may be having, or have had a different experience. This is not an endorsement, nor is Oak Tree Enterprises, LLC in any way connected with Protect America other than we purchased our alarm system from them and they monitor it. We do not personally know or are we associated with anybody at Protect America. This is NOT 'paid endorsement' by Oak Tree Enterprises, LLC from Protect America or any person or company. Yes, there are other 'financial gain' reasons for us to invest our time in writing this, but none to do with Protect America nor anyone they are affiliated with to the best of our knowledge. Our past experience is no guarantee off future performance by either the equipment or the company.

     Here at Oak Tree Enterprises, LLC, we have been using an alarm system provided by 'Protect America' for 7-8 years now. The system features 'Wireless Motion' sensors, 'Wireless Door' sensors, 'Wireless Glass Breakage' sensors, and a few other sensors I won't disclose (wireless makes them a snap to install, and yes, with the Velcro. I read complaints about that, but we've had the supplied 'stick-on' Velcro on outdoor sensors for over 7 years, and it still won't come 'un-stuck' from the sensors). The system is based around a GE 'Simon XT' master panel. We also have a wireless 'Remote Panel' that we can use at another door and / or on another building to arm and disarm the system. It can also be armed and disarmed from 'key chain' remotes and now via our 'Smart Phones' with Protect Americas phone app. We also now get audible notice on our phone when someone arms and disarms the system (which by the way is also a great way to keep tabs on when the building is getting opened up and closed each day). Everyone has a separate code so we know who has armed and disarmed (and that is recorded at Protect America if you need to refer back to records). We started with the original GE Simon panel, but have since upgraded to the GE 'Simon XT' (the reason we upgraded was that the batteries had leaked in our remote keypad at some point, and we could no longer repair it so had to get a new one. As the old remote keypad was no longer being produced, and the new 'remote keypad' would not work with the old Simon, we upgraded to the new Simon 'XT' (there were other 'security' reasons we upgraded, that are confidential), and they sent us a new 'remote keypad', FOR FREE!
I can add a 'ton' of sensors and other features to the new Simon XT system such as; Flood / water Sensors, Smoke / Heat Detectors, Freeze Sensors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Panic Pendant, Touch Screen Keypad, Wireless Secret Touchpad & Wireless Keypad. The remotely mounted, 'wireless keypad' is very handy, and for us, a necessity. We use it ALL THE TIME. We share a 'fenced / gated' parking lot (covered with motion detectors), with another business and needed to give them access to disarm our system, so they can punch in their own codes on the outside of our building using the wireless keypad we have installed in a weatherproof box. Works great! (yes, I know the motion detectors are not designed for outdoor use ,and anyone in tech support at Protect America will tell you that, and not to do it, but we've been using them outdoors for about 7 years now, and they work perfectly. We get about a 70 foot range with them, and the batteries seem to last about 5 years in each {not sure what kind of batteries the folks are using that say they don't get any battery life. The same goes for all of our wireless door, window and glass breakage sensors...and we have many. Of course when we do go to the trouble to change the batteries, we use quality batteries, such as Duracell Akaline 'Copper Tops', and we use a Sharpie marker and record the battery change date on each sensor}).

     I understand you can also do 'X10 home automation' to control fans, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, coffee pots, audio systems, etc with the Protect America System as well (we have not opted for any of that yet). You can also connect remote 'light flashers', external sirens / horns and other 'signaling devices'. We're in the process of adding the external light flashers.

     Protect America's system does have video capabilities, as well as fire, and X10 home automation devices, but we did our own video system for some technical reasons specific to our location / needs. The main Simon XT panel also speaks to say what has triggered, what's not ready to trigger, what's open, what's faulty etc. It also has a back-lit, LCD screen to give status as well. The built-in a 100db siren is much better than on the previous model as well, in that it will sound longer without distorting or diminishing in output.

     Depending on which 'main panel' you choose, you can connect via Phone Line Monitoring, Broadband Monitoring, Cellular Monitoring. We utilize two of those, and both have worked great (I won't say which we use for security reasons).

     The system is really no big deal to install. Once you get most of it placed, you can call them, and they are happy to walk you thru the entire installation, then testing. I've had them spend, literally an hour or two on the phone when we've added multiple or more complicated sensor combinations and been patient with me as I come up with 'names' for the sensors to program into the system.
Anytime we have called 'tech support' they have been COMPLETELY helpful in either setting up new sensors, re-naming sensors, trouble-shooting the system or anything. We are never on hold more than a few minutes. The techs are always very patient, and we never get the feeling that they are in a hurry to dispense with our call. In fact, it is usually the opposite in that they want to make sure all the bases have been covered on anything we need help with, bringing up details we didn't even think of. VERY IMPORTANTLY their tech support is located IN THE USA! (Texas I believe).
 
 

The equipment has a 'Lifetime' warranty on it, and on the rare occasions anything has gone wrong,

 
 

they sent out replacement units. The replacements were always the 'newest and most improved' parts / sensors. We once had an issue with some of my outdoor motion sensors not reaching thru the metal on the building and they sent a wireless 'extender / transponder' for free to solve the issue (that transponder would have been an expensive unit for me had they not supplied it free of charge). If any sensor even seems to be at fault, they have sent an upgrade, FOR FREE! With the replacement projects, they have always sent a 'pre-paid' label for me to return the old or defective gear.

     I am generally skeptical of anything that says, "it's free", so was not interested in most of the alarm solicitations that touted a 'free alarm system'. Our alarm system was what we thought was a reasonable price for everything included, including the lifetime warranty on the hardware. We've since upgraded here and there and added to it. The monitoring is 'currently' less than $35 a month (and worth every penny of it). THEY WILL CALL if there's ANYTHING that triggers a sensor / alarm. They will ask for a verbal password. They will dispatch police as well if either no one answers, or the person that takes the call can't answer the verbal password, so REMEMBER YOUR PASSWORD.

     I have read many reviews about Protect America on-line, and I have to say that probably 90% of them are either not really applicable or written by people who have an 'un-realistic' grasp on life.
Most were complaining that they "couldn't get out of the contract". Well, DUH!!! It's a 'Contract'. THAT'S HOW CONTRACTS WORK!!! Once the contract is fulfilled, the monitoring will go to a month to month. I don't think they do an 'automatic roll-over', but you might want to ask them. If they do, then mark in your calendar to call and go to a month to month if that's what you wish to do.
     One person said he was upset that he ordered the system 4 months before he planned to install it, and was upset that the contract started as soon as he signed up. Again, well DUH!!! That's how contracts work. They have a 'start date' and that's generally when billing starts as well. Otherwise, everyone could just claim that they didn't need to start making payments either until a date that suited them, which most folks would probably prefer to be 'never'.

     Many were complaining about a restock fee, even if they hadn't opened the merchandise. Those are most likely folks that have no grasp on business operations, how business work or basic economics (at least not business based on 'long term' models). A business has projections for revenue and for merchandise stock levels. There are also 'costs of sale' involved in a transaction. If every item a business sold came back, their doors would have to close soon after opening. Additionally if everything a business sold was 'junk', they also wouldn't likely be able to stay in business long.
A restocking fee does a lot of things:
     Firstly it keeps a consumer from 'willy-nilly' purchasing / committing to merchandise 'to try out, just in case they might want it' by encouraging a consumer to do a bit of homework / research into which product might work best for their specific needs (which is usually a good idea anyway).

     Secondly, a restocking fee also encourages the consumer to make sure they can afford something before they 'pull the trigger'.

    A consumer would also be more likely to 'read / research' the contract before placing an order.

      I have worked in stores that sold items with a 'utilitarian' aspect to them. Many times people would purchase them specifically for an immediate use, then try to return them the next day or week for a refund. It was usually fairly easy to deduce the unit was 'used' and that they originally bought it with "using it and returning it" in mind. That is just one of the many reasons that a 'return' should be subject to at least, a restocking fee. I am sure that the big box home supply stores have to deal with this issue many times a day (yes, I know you are going to say, "well that is why they are so successful!". NO it isn't. It's simply that so far the revenue lost via returns has not become a big enough issue to warrant a modification of their policy. At least two national chains (one is pretty much the largest retailer in the world) recently modified their return policy on a number of different aspect, after many years, to cut down on returns.
    RECENT ADDITION; Headline - "
Bloomingdales cracks down on worn clothing returns" (I say GOOD FOR THEM and all retailers should do the same. Exactly what I was referring to above! People were purchasing clothes for 'a night out on the town', or for a wedding, reception, meeting or who knows what other event, then returning them to the store, taking advantage of what was likely a fairly liberal return policy. Now the original tags must be attached, utilizing their method to accept an item for 'return for refund'. The same is why most electronic stores have cut back on allowed returns or restricted them, especially in the area of computers, video gear and digital camera gear, as folks were purchasing them, WITH THE INTENTION of simply using them, accomplishing a task such as taking photos on a vacation, then returning them. Essentially 'renting the equipment for free'. Doesn't take 'an Einstein of business' to figure out that that can't go on for long without serious losses.)

     Merchandise that has been opened or used / demo'ed will not be able to easily be re-sold, and likely won't bring as much as 'fresh' / "A-Stock" items will. It is not usually a business's responsibility to 'eat' those losses, especially through no fault of their own, but simply through consumer laziness, ignorance or malice (purchasing with the intent to 'use then return').
Generally defective merchandise will be replaced or repaired or potentially refunded if necessary. I am pretty sure, and my experience has borne this out, that Protect America is not going 'knowingly' send out 'junk' of defective merchandise.

     I would imagine they have thousands of customers, probably ten's of thousands', maybe more. Most businesses should expect a 2.5-5% dissatisfaction rate, which means that 2-5 people out of every hundred are going to have issues. Probably many of those issues are resolved to a satisfactory level for both parties. It is much more in human nature to 'complain' when something is unsatisfactory, than to compliment when things are going well, so you will, by default, read many more 'negative' reviews, than positive. That will likely be the case with most any company, product or service. Given that, you are likely going to see mostly negative comments on a review site. Unfortunately many negative reviews about products or services are directed to some aspect that was either blatantly apparent upfront, or would have been with just a bit of research by the consumer on the front end. In my opinion, those are generally 'worthless' comments.
Comments such as;

 


     "it was too expensive." If that is the persons comment, then why did the purchase it in the first place and not a 'cheaper' system or unit. Now had they stated, "it was too expensive for the benefits realized, relative to a competitive product such as, ____", then that is a more useful comment.

     "I had to sign a contract". That is not something to comment negatively on. You must have known that upfront, or at least you could have chosen NOT to comment to the contract. Once you've 'signed a contract' that is not a 'point of negativity'. Now if they stated, "I signed their contract, but then found 'alarm company x' and they didn't have a contract, so I wish I had gone with them", then that might be a bit more useful. Of course, there's many more aspects to the decision making process, then whether there's a contract or not.

     "I spoke with someone in customer service and they were rude". This one may or may not be 'comment worthy', and is likely too specifically unique to 'that one call' to be of any use. Personalities do not always 'mix well' regardless of which 'side of the sales / service counter' a person is on.

    
"I was on hold for 20 minutes". This one may or may not be 'comment worthy', and is likely too specifically unique to be of any use, ie; time of day, or level of call volume at their time of call. As I stated before, when you call their customer service, you are calling within the states. That in itself is WORTH A LOT! It's also more expensive for them to maintain a call center based in the US. They should be commended for that alone. (PS. I have never been on hold for more than just a few minutes, and I have called many times. No, not necessarily because we were having an issue with something not functioning as it should, but because we were adding sensors, re-naming sensors, moving to a different building / location etc.)

    
"Protect America is a 'Rip-off", "They are a 'Rip-off" or "It was a 'Rip-Off'!" etc... Ok, this is one of the most useless 'complaints', especially with no other content or verbiage. I am a firm believer that unless there is egregious 'withholding' of goods or services, or there was not 'follow through' from the other party as expected or as customary, YOU, yourself are generally the person that is allowing YOU to be "Ripped-Off". If you think 'three, four, five or ten dollar per gallon gas' is a 'rip-off', then DON'T BUY IT. If you think $50, $100, $200, $300 or $3000 per night is too expensive for a hotel room, then don't rent it. If you know the price of something up front, you willingly pay the stated price and goods or services are delivered, then you did not get 'ripped-off'. You may have paid more than you could / should have, but you weren't 'ripped-off'. If there is a 're-stock' fee you had to pay, you didn't get 'ripped-off' if it was posted / stated somewhere up-front, and I'm sure it was. If you 'do your homework' / research prior to an exchange of consideration for goods or services, and you still choose to execute a transaction, then you can't claim you've been 'ripped-off'.

    
"Protect America Sucks!", "That alarm company sucks", or "They suck, it sucks, etc...!". Ok, these are probably THE MOST USELESS if posted with no other content. Even if the writer 'drilled down' to something like, "Their customer service sucks", or, "their system sucks", again, without any detailed content, those types of comments are not only of little use to either the consumer or to the company to know what aspects need focused improvement. Those types of comments are fairly 'sophomoric' as well, and generally lends less credence to whatever else the author may be trying to convey. Sorry, but just my '2-cents'.

    Again, I'm not associated with Protect America, other than they are my alarm company provider, for which I pay full price for, who has done nothing but provide me with excellent service for 7-8 years now, and I hate to see their name 'dragged through the dirt', in what I would guess in most cases were un-warranted. Maybe there are some alarm companies, and / or monitoring services that are less expensive. Maybe there are some equally good, or even better services than what I have. There probably are, but I have too much on the line to "shop around and take a chance that the gear may not work as well, or the monitoring may not be as good, just to potentially save a few bucks". Protect America stands behind their gear, and their monitoring (or whatever company they use for their monitoring) have been completely dependable.

     Bottom line is, they are probably one of the top 2 or 3 alarm companies in the nation, and you don't get to be at the top of your game by being an idiot. Yes there are a few hundred pissed of folks on the blogs, ragging on Protect America, but I would venture to guess if you do the math on the un-happy folks, vs total number of Protect America customers, you find that they are a VERY small percentage.

Sorry for sounding 'preachy' and for being so 'long winded', but some folks need some 'schooling', not only about the preceding topic, but on life in general. Just my opinion...


We will soon be adding more info as time allows...

     So, new update; We recently purchased a property across the back alley from our main warehouse. Just for the 'heck of it' we thought we would install a couple of door sensors and motion sensors on it as well (since they're wireless, it was certainly easy enough to try out). The closest door has to be at least 125' from the Simon XT control panel and the furthest another 30' AND it has to go through 2 walls, AND there's TWO chain link fences in between, the alley, a parking lot and a metal pole barn. It STILL WORKS!!! So now we're covering both properties with the one alarm system. We've been using it that way for a couple months now. CAN'T BEAT IT!!!!

 

     In addition to the 'Protect America / GE Simon' alarm system, we also utilize some simple 'Bunker Hill Security' wireless / RF 'Drive-way' monitors sold by Harbor Freight for both our commercial parking lot, and an adjacent house. Even though they seem 'too cheap' to be any good, they work GREAT! We have three of them. Not only do the motion sensors transmit from a few hundred feet away, they are VERY sensitive, and VERY loud (so loud that I can hear one of them, while in my truck, with the windows up, coming through a concrete block building (with the volume on 'max')). They serve multiple purposes for us, letting us know when someone is approaching the property, or has entered it, and the receivers are loud enough to alert trespassers, on the outside of the building that they have 'been noticed'. Also, very importantly, the transmitter (all are mounted outside in the weather) and receiver will run well when the batteries are VERY low. I just changed the 'transmitters' 9-Volt battery after a few months (a cheap, carbon version) as it had just stopped transmitting, and it's voltage was just over 2 Volts! That's incredible that it still worked all that time from 9 volts, all the way down to below 3. Most things that require '9-volts' would stop at around 7.5, maybe 6 Volts. Again, for less than $20 for each set, they're hard to beat for what we are using them for.

...UPDATED
1/6/14

 

 
             

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Again, the above is an opinion. You may have or have had a different experience. This is not an endorsement, nor is Oak Tree Enterprises, LLC in any way connected with Protect America, other than we purchased our alarm system from them and they monitor it. We do not personally know or are we associated with anybody at Protect America. This is NOT 'paid endorsement' by Oak Tree Enterprises, LLC from Protect America or any person or company. Yes, there are other 'financial gain' reasons for us to invest our time in writing this, but none to do with Protect America nor anyone they are affiliated with to the best of our knowledge. Our past experience is no guarantee off future performance by either the equipment or the company. Oak Tree Enterprises, LLC also has no affiliation with Harbor Freight Tool's, or BunkerHill Security. We only have used the products mentioned in the above text and wanted to express our opinion of the items / products / units.

 


 

 


 

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