ADT refunds homeowner for non-functioning alarm system

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Security system giant ADT markets itself as a way to keep homeowners from being preyed upon by burglars.

But if a homeowner is paying for a security system that isn’t functional, who exactly is being preyed upon? And by whom?

Debbie Kollberg, 63, of Brookfield, emailed SOS on March 13 to say that ADT was expecting her to pay the $676.54 left on her contract for an alarm system she had installed in 2017 on her former home in Verona but which hadn’t worked consistently since 2020.

That would be on top of the $56.69 per month the company had been withdrawing from her checking account in the three years since Kollberg become so frustrated by the system’s glitches and ADT’s inability to fix them that, she said, she turned it off.


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“From April 2017 til October 2020 it worked like a charm and I never had a problem,” she said. “Then in October 2020 the system was acting up; I called several times and was given several different codes to try. Then I was told to replace all the batteries in the system, which I did, and kept calling as it would beep all day and night.

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“Finally I got so frustrated I unplugged it as I was gone almost six months out of the year anyway and didn’t want to get charged for a nonemergency call to my house,” she said.

Kollberg said that in October of last year, her adult children encouraged her to try to resolve the problem one last time. So she called ADT, a tech came to her house and in five minutes diagnosed the problem: ADT’s system had switched to a 5G wireless network, and Kollberg only had access to 4G. The current system would never work at her home.

In his Oct. 11 notes, which Kollberg shared with SOS, the tech wrote “intermittent cell signal, continuous cell failure confirmed” and “no landline available.”


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(ADT offers systems compatible with both wireless and landline connections.)

“At no time was I ever contacted by ADT to see if things were OK,” Kollberg said. “During my at least 10 calls to them for help was this never mentioned or even thought of.”

Kollberg said she contacted her bank and stopped payment on the contract-cancellation fee but that, all told, ADT had withdrawn $2,160.38 in monthly charges for the period she’d had no service, including $119.54 since she’d formally canceled.

“I am simply trying to get money back for months I paid for service (when) there wasn’t any and nothing worked and they knew it and never admitted it to me,” she said.


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SOS exchanged a series of emails over three weeks with ADT senior communications specialist Karyna Malave — the upshot of which was the procurement of the name and phone and extension numbers of one Wes O’Connor, customer relations employee in ADT’s Executive Response & Resolution office.

Kollberg said she spoke with O’Connor on Wednesday, and he offered a refund of about $1,000, arguing that ADT was picking up a signal from her system during at least part of the time she had it disconnected, and as such there was no way to be sure the system couldn’t have been functional. O’Connor also reportedly told her it would waive the cancellation fee.

On Wednesday, Malave confirmed to SOS that ADT would be refunding $1,020.42 to Kollberg’s checking account. On Thursday, she said the $676.54 cancellation charge was waived on March 15, or a day after SOS first contacted the company.

Kollberg said that in the spirit of finally resolving the monthslong hassle, she’d take it.

“I’m just done with them,” she said.


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