I was helping my 85-year-old mother review her checking statement when she noticed a withdrawal for "Pinnacle Security". She said "Pinnacle - what's that?" Clearly she had no idea who they were. When I told her it appeared to be for home security monitoring she said "Pinnacle doesn't do my security, Monitronics does." Sure enough, there was also a withdrawal for $29.95 for Monitronics on the same statement, in addition to the $50.00 for Pinnacle.
I called them to find out what was going on and they told me my mom signed a contract with them in August. When I asked my mom about that she said, yes, someone came to her door and told her he was with the company that monitors her security. He asked her if she had ever had the batteries replaced and when she said no, he said he would replace them for her. Apparently he never said he worked for Pinnacle and the salesman apparently didn't leave her a copy of the contract she signed (they told me they would send a copy).
They say she is bound by the contract because they have a record of her telling them she understood that Pinnacle was not affiliated with NorthStar (which Monitronics recently took over). To me that's worthless because she obviously didn't understand the implication and that she was being asked to pay an additional 50 dollars a month in addition to what she had already contracted with Monitronics to pay. In fact she distinctly remembers (she doesn't always remember everything clearly but in this case she is pretty adamant) telling the salesman (who she didn't even realise was a salesman) she couldn't afford to pay more than the 29 dollars she was currently paying and she assured her she wouldn't be.
She apparently gave them her checking account and she also distinctly remembers asking the guy why he needed to get that from her when they already had it (more evidence she was led to believe he was with her current company). He gave her some vague answer. She also asked her why he was replacing the sign in her yard and he replied something like they're under us now.
If this company had any integrity they would simply cancel the contract as I have asked them to do and refund the money that was collected from her under false pretenses. The customer service rep I spoke to said she had no authority to do that and when I asked to speak with someone who did she told me there was no one there who could do that! What kind of company is that anyway?
Anyway I've filed complaints with BBB (their rating with them is F, not surprisingly) and WA state AG and at my mom's assistance the local TV news "problem solvers". I'm hoping we don't need to take legal action when the simple solution would be for them to cancel the contract and refund her money but I'm willing to go to whatever length it takes.