Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Epic Monitronics Battle

I just won an epic battle.  It was long and frustrating, but the important thing is that I won.

This is who the battle was against

For all my normal readers, this is a somewhat long story.  Personally, I think it's a good story, but I think every story about me is good.  Therefore, I'll understand if you don't want to read it.  I'm writing this more for those people who are having similar issues.

Welcome friends from Google (and regular friends who haven't stopped reading after that disclaimer), here is my story:

So let me start at the beginning.  We have 2 accounts with Monitronics.  Monitronics is a security company.  They provide the monitoring for our security system so if anything goes wrong they will automatically contact police for us.  The 2 accounts are for the house we live in and our rental property.

Our tenants don't really care about the security system.  They don't really use it, so we figured that we would cancel that account.  However, the account at our house is the one where the contract has expired.  The rental contract doesn't expire until August of next year.

I called Monitronics to see if we could cancel the account at our Lehi house but move our Orem (rental) account to Lehi.  That way, we continue service where we want it, but we don't have to pay for 2 accounts when the second isn't being used.

When I called Monitronics, they said that the Lehi account (the one we live at) doesn't expire until June 2016.  I pulled out the contract and it clearly said that it was a 60 month contract that ends in March of 2013.  But since that's not what they put in their computer, there was no convincing them.  (We had moved in 2011.  They claimed that moving started the contract over, but there was nothing to that effect in the contract.)

They did say they could combine the 2 contracts but they would tack the remaining months from the Orem house onto the end of the Lehi contract, so it would end in late 2017.  We plan to continue to have a security system, but A)We want the freedom to shop around, B)Most companies offer incentives to sign a new contract, we want those incentives for those extra 3 years and C)We just want to have them honor the contract we signed.

Imagine if you bought a car.  You agreed to pay a certain price over a certain term.  Five years later, you pay your last payment, and they say, "Well, you're going to need to pay another 2000 dollars because that's what we put in our computer."  You show them the contract, with the agreed upon price, and they tell you that doesn't matter because they put something else in their computer.

I had an attorney review the contract to make sure I wasn't missing anything.  She said that I was right, and they were trying to cheat me.

I did some Googling and I found the phone number of a magical guru at Monitronics who would actually work with me.  I told him my story.  He promised he would look into it.

He spent about 4 days looking into it.  Finally, we talked again and he offered a compromise.  He said he would combine the contracts and he would knock 18 months off of the total term (which includes the extra 3 years they fabricated), so it would end in May of 2016.  To go back to the car analogy, after you tell them you're not paying the extra $2000, they say they will compromise and only charge you $1000 more than you agreed on.  That's better than $2000, but it still makes you want to punch them in the face.

I told him I appreciate his help, but if that is the solution I will be going directly to the Better Business Bureau.  I told him my attorney confirmed that the contract clearly says my term is over and I'm not accepting anything else.

He asked me what it would take to make me happy.  I explained that all I wanted was for them to honor the contract I had signed.  I wanted to be paying for one account and I wanted that account to expire in August 2014.

He deliberated for a moment but he finally conceded.  He helped me move the Orem account to our Lehi house and cancel the other account.  There is no additional term.  It expires in August 2014 just like it should.


He told me he is doing this on good faith so that I'll want to stay with Monitronics after the contract period is over.

I really appreciate him helping me out.  In fact, I told him he's a real American Hero.  I feel like he really is an advocate for the customer.  I just wish I could feel like the company as a whole was advocating for the customer.  Maybe next year when my contract expires, my frustration over this will have subsided and I might stay with them.  But they probably shouldn't hold their breath.

So, if you are having trouble with Monitronics, here is my advice.

1. Talk to an attorney.  I had one look at my contract for $40.  It was the best $40 I ever spent, because it gave me the confidence to stand up to the bullying by Monitronics.
2.  Make sure you mention the Better Business Bureau.  I never had to actually contact them, but they are there to protect you from this kind of garbage.
3.  Don't accept their "compromises".  Cheating you a little bit less is still cheating you.  It's like a robber coming into your house and only stealing your TV and expecting you to thank him for not taking your wallet.
4.  Contact the guru that helped me. Here is his contact info:
David Sodiende
8:00am-7:00pm M-Th, 
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m Friday

Good luck with your battle.   I don't know why they seem to train most of their reps to cheat you by default, but David really can help and he will.  So call him.


  1. Jeff, we just had a similar situation regarding getting our deposit back from the property management company that runs the apartment complex. It was SOOO frustrating to have them try to claim things that were simply not true, but we won in the end (I think by persistence, not logic, but I'll take what I can get). Well, I'm still waiting for the check to arrive, but it should be here in the next few days, and then hopefully I can close that book. Congrats on your success, too.

  2. Sometimes companies like that can be so frustrating. Glad you persevered and got it taken care of!

  3. I just had this happen to me, I wanted to cancel since I had agreed to a pricing chg back in 2009 for 41 months, now they say I hadn't completed my prior contract tern so they added them together and I am stuck with them till 2016.
    They are slick but I will call your guru and see how he can help, thank you so much for publishing your story.


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