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Sheriff says alarm company harrassing residents

From staff and wire reports -   Jul 19, 2012

Residents across the parish have received constant phone calls informing them that both the FBI and local police have reported an increase of burglaries in the area. But St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne says the calls are nothing more than a high-pressure sales pitch for a "free alarm system."

On Champagne’s personal Facebook page, several residents say they are contacted routinely, even as much as once a day, by the alarm company.

"There is a rogue security alarm company making robo calls about crime increasing and encouraging you to get a security alarm system," Champagne responded. "They are doing this all over and upon us confronting them, they hang up. These are disreputable salesmen and I urge you to hang up on them."

The complaints have gotten so bad that Champagne says his office has conducted a preliminary investigation into the company. Though the calls claim to come from a company called Honeywell, Champagne said that is not the case.

"We have contacted Honeywell and made them aware of this marketing strategy. Their legal department is investigating and assures us that Honeywell is not involved nor does it condone such tactics," Champagne said. "They advise us that they will take action against any company who markets their products in such a way."

Champagne said that investigators have learned that one of the companies represented, ISI Alarms of North Carolina, has a D+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. According to Champagne, the company has more than 40 complaints in a three-year period, with over 25 complaints coming in the last 12 months.

"Also, by signing the contract for this service, you agree to give up your rights to cancel the three-year contract," Champagne said.

He urged all residents to check out all suspicious marketing pitches with the Better Business Bureau. He added that residents should never give out personal information over the phone and that they report all suspected scammers to the Sheriff’s Office.

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