A nice college age APX salesman knocked on our door in July 2008. Being offered a "special deal," my wife signed a contract for a home security system and service. Although the contract gives both our names at the top (husband and wife), I did not see or sign it. They told her she did not have to bother me with such things.
Within an hour, installers came and put in the equipment. It plainly did not work satisfactorily. The reasons are related to our house configuration, exterior doors, and the ability of people to either hear the alarm and/or respond to an unintended activation.
We decided to cancel and my wife completed the cancellation form provided with the contract, and faxed it to APX, along with a letter also stating she was canceling, within the three business days allowed by law. She used a 3rd party fax service to be sure a record (date and time) was unquestionable.
A few days later, a man named Chris from APX telephoned her in the afternoon, expressing his deep and heartfelt sorrow over her decision to cancel and asking for the chance to bring in some additional equipment to make it work satisfactorily. He was very good. My wife is a nice lady and consented to give APX another chance. As you'll see below, this telephone conversation has horrible ramifications.
Another visit brought additional equipment. Still the system did not work right and there were repeated false alarms we were unable to avoid.
She called APX and said it was not workable. Another visit. Another piece of equipment that did not work as the installer promised. More false alarms we could not reasonably avoid.
We turned it off and disconnected all the equipment at this point - which should supposedly be immediately noticed by their monitoring service. It was not (ever).
So, we contacted APX in writing, confirming we were not using the service, and indeed, wished to cancel and asking them to remove their equipment. We heard nothing from the company. System disconnected. Letter sent. Still, no response.
A month later we wrote another letter, noting our earlier statements and strongly stating we considered the contract canceled. We still heard no response from the company.
Finally, a few weeks later, my wife went to our bank and changed her debit card number, effectively removing APX Alarm's ability to access our money. As soon as their next charge cycle resulted in a notice that the number she had provided them was no longer valid, APX finally telephoned -- but only to ask us for our new card number.
She refused, indicating she had canceled in writing, had disconnected the service (two and half months earlier) and had notified them multiple times in writing about this.
APX then (and continues to) insisted her consent in that telephone conversation to give them a chance to come back and "make it right" nullified her written cancellation and effectively created an unbreakable five year contract. They told her they recorded the conversation and she agreed over the phone to cancel the cancellation. She does not remember the conversation word for word, but she's sure nobody said anything about her oral consent creating an immediate and unbreakable contract for five years, no matter was she thought of any new equipment they'd bring.
At no point did APX present her (or us) with any written document to sign after this. There was only that unexpected telephone call (when it is obvious the consumer is not expecting a call and may be involved in other household activities).
In the back of the original contract, their own fine print states the contract cannot be changed or amended orally by either APX or the consumer and can only be changed in writing.
APX asserts an oral consent over the telephone has the effect of creating an unbreakable contract for equipment that had not even been installed or evaluated by the consumer. Just who in their right mind would knowingly consent to such a thing?
APX used my wife's written cancellation only as an opportunity to pursue her over the telephone. Then used the ploy to "please reconsider" and give them another chance. They never provided her (or us) with anything in writing to consider and sign other than the phone call. In effect, it ignores a valid written cancellation (which says it fully rescinds the contract - and should therefore require a subsequent new written contract).
Of course, the system was disconnected never used.
At one point (being "nice" people) we actually offered to allow APX to keep the $300 they had already taken from us as a kind of "be nice" offer for their efforts. They would have none of it.
We have since carefully removed, packed (with video and pictures) and returned all their equipment to them via UPS (which someone at APX signed and accepted).
We have received many (!) dozens telephone calls and spent hours in fruitless telephone conversations. (we finally changed our landline to an unlisted number).
APX responded to a an inquiry from our state's agency for consumer rights that they would be willing to send one of their technicians to bring some more additional equipment (this many months after all this started). Of course, we want nothing whatsoever to do with this company. By the way, when asked, they said that APX (not us) are the only ones that have to be satisfied with the system's workability in our house.
They have now (over a year into this) turned us over to Andreson, Crenshaw, and Assoc, a collection agency out of Dallas with its own share of complaints and legal issues. Never mind our number being unlisted, they got our cell numbers. They are threatening to ruin our credit or worse (one of them mentioned going after our house).
We believe APX violated our rights by ignoring laws protecting consumers from binding oral contracts.
We believed APX turned the protection provided to consumers to legally cancel a door-to-door sales contract in three business days into nothing more than an opportunity to take predatory advantage of a consumer over the telephone.
As our initial naivete may demonstrate, we have never had a dispute related to a contract or a debt before.
We welcome any help or advice - as long as it does not reward this (at least to us) horrible company for such greedy, unethical, mean-spirited, and maybe illegal behavior.