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avoiding being "locked out"

Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by [email protected], Aug 21, 2005.

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  1. Guest

    Greetings I know a commercial alarm system installer who moonlights on
    residential set-ups. Basically I do the unpleasant part (running the
    wiring) and he does the programming and is paid appropriately for that
    task. What he does not do is sell alarm monitoring to avoid a conflict
    with his "real" employer.

    This all sounds very fair to me. He does say "pick an alarm monitoring
    company that won't "lock out" your panel and prevent you from switching

    In short how do you know if a company is engaged in that practice
    (obviously I can ask). This sounds very shady to me especially if I
    own the equipment.

    Thanks for any comments.
  2. R.H.Campbell

    R.H.Campbell Guest

    There does not appear to be any easy way to do this. Generally, installing
    companies in the area get to know those who engage in this shady practice,
    but an individual consumer never knows until he goes to change monitoring
    suppliers. Since I unlock quite a number of boards for local (and not so
    local) companies, I have come to know the companies in our area that do it.
    If I were to generalize (with all it's inherent flaws), I would have to say
    that the smaller the alarm company, the more you should be alert for this.
    For example, in our area, ADT never lock their boards, nor do Protectron.
    But I can think of a half a dozen other small to medium companies that
    always do. But I have heard that some "authorized dealers" of ADT in other
    areas do. So the field is wide open.

    Most equipment has a check for this during a power up and down cycle.
    Unfortunately, some makes destroy a measure of the existing programming if
    you try, thereby effectively disabling the panel for local use.

    Home Security Metal Products
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  3. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    The main reason for locking the panel is to protect proprietary monitoring
    information and protect the owner from having programming changed (possibily
    by a moonlighter that doesn't know enough abt the system), all my panels are
    locked. If a client wants to change monitoring co's all they have to do is
    call for it to be unlocked and I remove our proprietary info.

    Unfortunately, some less than ethical companies may use this feature to hold
    their clients hostage.

    hmmm.... I have to admit that it may be useful if the client hasn't paid for
    monitoring in 9 months.
  4. X. Boschman

    X. Boschman Guest

    Both you gentlemen are using "lock out" for its intended purpose. I have
    always said that there is dubious legal grounds for a monitoring (or
    installing or servicing) company refusing to turn a panel's control back to
    its owner when they terminate relationships. If there are no outstanding
    contractual obligations that can activated an agreed upon seizure of the
    alarm system, claims would need to be pursued in the appropriate legal

    In the old Radionics a locked out panel could be sent in for defaulting for
    a nominal fee, but we always advised reciprocal cooperation when both
    companies were still in business. Customers can flow in both directions,
    after all, and word of mouth on a difficult termination doesn't help the
    resistant company, and generally gains them nothing.

    My line, repeated with great frequency, was "The lockcode is not intended to
    prevent takeovers, but to protect proprietary data." Mr. Gordon explicitly
    speaks in this spirit.

  5. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    hehee... I'm reading your reply and I get to the end and I'm saying...hmmm
    WHO is this Mr. Gordon :)

    X Boschman...does the mean you usta work for Radx?
  6. R.H.Campbell

    R.H.Campbell Guest

    The big difference is you use the lockout feature for it's intended purpose,
    and willingly return the panel to factory when the client chooses to leave.
    Unfortunately, there are a minority of companies that don't operate as
    ethically as you do.

    There is another danger as well with wholesale locking of all boards,
    especially with very small companies that lock their boards and then just
    disappear. These are the guys that get about 10 accounts, then decide this
    "free system" stuff is not all it's cracked up to be, and simply disappear.
    Their customers are then left with a locked board to contend with.

    Home Security Metal Products
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  7. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    I have an exit strategy in place should I ever decide to completely get out
    of business, my attorney holds a packet of information which among other
    things contains all the codes I use t access and/or lock alarm and access
    controls. If something happens to me the company and the packet passes to
    the family if they don't want to continue with the business a long time
    associate who owns another family owned alarmco will buy the accounts - his
    co. is much bigger than mine and has been around for over 50 years. My
    clients will be well taken care of, they may have to pay a little more, but
    they'll be ok.
  8. R.H.Campbell

    R.H.Campbell Guest

    Hey...good stuff ! Damn few companies of our size (mine anyway) actually get
    into business with a formal business plan, even a simple one. And even fewer
    have thought of an exit strategy. You can't get where you're going unless
    you know where that is, and with government tax thieves only a heartbeat
    away, you definately need to plan for the other end............gawd, I sound
    like a funeral director !!!

    My partner is looking to sell his company right now, and has three bidders
    each doing their "due diligence". He offered them to me but frankly, I
    didn't want to get that big that quickly, because it would end up being an
    unplanned expansion that I would have little control over. And I would need
    another employee for sure.

    Glad to see the Borg won't be inheriting your customers; that would REALLY
    be letting your clients down.

  9. There are several reasons why it's in a monitoring company's best interest
    to "lock out" a panel- mostly having to do with keeping installer codes
    secret, (which might be used in more than one customer's panel) and keeping
    account numbers and central station phone line numbers private. With this
    info, someone could disrupt monitoring for one or even many accounts, or
    create a "runaway" phantom alarm panel to keep the police from responding
    after several false alarms.

    Some also do it to make it more difficult and expensive for another company
    to "take over" an account.
  10. X. Boschman

    X. Boschman Guest

    Twelve years technical support (Ex Bosch ManF), and all I got was this louse
    T-shirt. 8^D

  11. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    What period of time? I was heavy Radx from 84 to about 93 (or so).
  12. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    I hit that growth wall a few times...the last time I decided to go for it..
    got way too big and I HATED it...smaller is better.
  13. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    I had a rogue installer situation only I lock the panels after the
    installers are one be me and my son know the code sequence
    which I now base on a formula that pertains to something relating to the
    house - so every system is different yet we could figure out what the code
    was if we lost it by applying the formula.
  14. X. Boschman

    X. Boschman Guest

    May 4, 1992 to October 31, 2003. I became more visible after 1993, so you
    probably don't have any memory of my work. From about 1997 on I was the
    CS/receiver specialist.

  15. Jackcsg

    Jackcsg Guest

    Hey Xman. Do you remember Andy Ayelesworth?
    I know he left and went to DMP...but left there too...
  16. X. Boschman

    X. Boschman Guest

    Andy was the one who told me about the opening back in 1992. I consider
    Andy a pivotal person in my life.

    So, yes, I remember Andy.

    I still use his phrase, "Skippy proof" when discussing connectors that
    cannot be plugged in the wrong way by inexperienced techs.

    He left DMP? Any idea what he is doing now?

  17. Jackcsg

    Jackcsg Guest

    No, I have no idea where Andy got off too. Nor did I have any idea at the
    time he was leaving.
    My relationship with Andy goes back to 88'. He is very good people. I
    remember that phrase of his...
    If you hear anything, let me know. I'll do the same.

  18. X. Boschman

    X. Boschman Guest

    1988 was when I started out in the alarm industry after 13 years in building
    security (ASIS type work). I met Andy around '88 or '89 and got my first
    training on the D6500 from him.

    He is the best people and I am sorry to have lost track of him. But looky
    what I just Googled:

    I called his extension and that was sure his voice. I see Mark Dreksler is
    there too. Interesting. I'll have to give Andy a call one o' these days.

  19. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Did you know Tom Short?

  20. Jackcsg

    Jackcsg Guest

    Thanks man. I met Andy in 88', in Boston, at a week long training session on
    the entire Radionic's product line. Thanks for the connection!

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