Southern Arizona | Investigating 4 You

N4T Investigators: False alarm

TUCSON –  A local homeowner says a salesman pulled a “false alarm” on her to try to get her business.

Marion Smith told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that the salesman showed up unannounced two weeks at her west side home. The 71-year-old retired nurse said the salesman told her that her home security alarm account has been switched to another company.

“He said it had been switched to Brinks,” Mrs. Smith said, and that she had no choice in the matter.

Mrs. Smith says they spoke through the front door because she did not let him in. She then called the company she uses, Safeguard America, and was told her account had not been switched.  She also called the News 4 Tucson Investigators.  We confirmed with Safeguard and Brinks that her account was not switched.

At our request,  Mrs. Smith told the salesman to return the next day. We were also there, listening from an adjacent room and recording their conversation.

Mrs. Smith asked the salesman, “And you’re saying I’m going with Brinks?” He answered, “I’m saying you’re already with Brinks.”

A minute later, Mrs. Smith says to the salesman. “So you’re saying I’m with Brinks?” He replied, “Currently yes, right now.”

That was all we needed to hear.

We approached the salesman. He identified himself as Jeremy David and said he worked for Utah based Fluent Home. He said the company was trying to expand to Tucson  and denied pulling the “old switcheroo.” “It’s not a scam,” he told us. Davis said most of Mrs. Smith’s neighbors’ accounts had been switched. But he never said that to her earlier.

Davis repeatedly told us, “A good majority of [her neighbors’ accounts] have” been switched.”  We had confirmed with Brinks that not one account of its accounts in our area had been switched to Safeguard America.

We said to the salesman, “I’m not talking about the majority. I only know I’m in this house and she’s the customer, Mrs. Smith has her account been switched to Brinks?” Davis said, “I don’t know, that was my next step. A good majority have been so I have to look at the folder and pull it up. ” We said, “That’s not what you told her, and you were here yesterday and you told her the same thing and we just heard you say it already has been switched. Not a majority, not the next step. Past tense.” Davis replied, “Yeah, I can see how you got that.”

We said, “It sounds like you told her a lie, that you said it already has been switched to Brinks.” Davis said, “Yeah, I mean I could see where that’s coming from.”

Mrs. Smith said, “I think it’s terrible when they lie like that.”

We called Fluent Home twice and spoke with someone who declined to provide his last name but said he would pass our request for comment along to the appropriate person. We also emailed them twice using the address on their website for their marketing department.  After both emails bounced back, we confirmed the email address was correct with the person who answered the phone at Fluent Home.

We asked the salesman at Mrs. Smith’s home, “Are you misleading people here, especially seniors?” He said, “Not at all.” We said, “Then why would you even bring up that her account has been switched to Brinks when that’s not true?” He replied, “Like I said, a majority have been. I call  on every single one to check.” We said, “Well you didn’t check on hers, did you?” He said, “That was my next step.”

Mrs. Smith said, “I just feel that people shouldn’t take advantage of senior citizens. I mean, what right do they have to do this?”

Davis left with, obviously, no sale. But a kind word. He said, “Have a blessed day.”

Providers of home services you have accounts with inform you of buyouts or other major account changes by regular mail, email and sometimes, phone calls. Salesmen for your supposed new company do not just show up at your house unannounced. If that happens, do not let him in, then call your provider.

If you have a story you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

Matthew Schwartz

Matthew Schwartz

Matthew Schwartz has been an investigative reporter since 1993. He specializes in reporting on corruption, fraud and scams.
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