In Sep. 2004, I contacted Vector Security, Mike Bell, regarding an article in Washington Consumers Checkbook, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Summer/Fall 1999) which indicated that Glass Breakage Listing Device sensors were unreliable. That evaluation was based on a study by The Association of Central Monitoring Stations. Since our residential alarm system is based on the use of these sensors for protecting our home, we were very concerned.
In response a service technician conducted a check of our in home system on 21 Sep 04. The technician's initial attempt to demonstrate the reliability of the sensors was a sham! He demonstrated questionable knowledge of the sensors as he tapped on the sensor and wall attempting to activate them. These sensors only activate to noise with the frequency of breaking glass, not physical vibrations.
I had the technician contact his boss, Mike Bell, and demanded he have someone come out with the proper testing device that duplicates the frequency of breaking glass. After contacting Mr. Bell on his cell phone, the technician had to excuse him self to go outside to complete his conversation. After completing the conversation the technician advised me that he did have the proper testing device for a Glass Breakage Listing sensor. However, as he attempted to set up the test, it was evident he was uncertain of the procedure. Being familiar with the devices, I assisted him.
The key fault with the test is that the sensors have to be placed in a test mode before testing them. If the sensor activates, then only the electrical circuits of the sensor's test mode have been verified as operational. This does not verify that the sensor will activate in its normal active listing mode. Our sample sensors did activate in the test mode.
It is obvious that The Association of Central Monitoring Stations would not test, evaluate and comment on the reliability of a sensor in its test mode. Therefore, the issue of sensor reliability, in a real world situation, remains unanswered! I pointed this out to Mr. Bell, and his supervisor Mr. Tom McLaughlin. Neither was able, or apparently willing to work a satisfactory solution to the problem.
On 28 Sep 04, I contacted Ms. Connie Schultz, VP Vector Security in Virginia, 800-688-0150 x4037. I informed her of my negative experiences and provided her copies of the Washington Consumers Checkbook article. She advised that Vector Security was a member of The Association of Central Monitoring Stations and passed me off to Mr. Chris Adamcik, 800-0150 x4305.
I contacted Mr. Adamcik, again provided him a copy of the article and the web sites for Consumers Checkbook and The Association of Central Monitoring Stations. I then conducted follow-ups checks with him and Schultz through the month of October 2004. Their reaction to date has been evasive/non responsive to the issue of sensor reliability.
Based on my experiences with Vector Security over the last few months, as a customer I can only question their honesty and integrity in responding to a basic question, based on published information. Simply, will the sensors that we have paid for, work when we need them to? Only after getting a honest/believable response to this question, will we know our options.