Ackerman Security Review
Let’s start this review off with some good news. This company is one of the few that uses monitoring centers that has been certified by the CSAA’s (Central Station Alarm Association) Five Diamond Award. Like most other companies, their monitoring facility watches your system 24/7 ensuring reliable alerts during times of emergency. They aim to provide customized home alarm services to their clients by mainly helping you identify areas of concern in your house. They really strive to provide custom-tailored kits that are aimed towards your specific needs.
Quick Summary Index:
Ackerman Security Systems has been providing safety solutions in areas such as Maryland, Georgia, Washington D.C. and Virginia since the late 1960’s. They are definitely not for everybody thought because of their seemingly very specific and odd geographic area’s to target. Being a local company that is heavily advertised in their specific area’s of coverage, Ackerman is still receiving lots of attention. Their goal is to grab easy attention by marketing below average prices for basic entry level monitoring capabilities. They do not require potential customers to combine packages or plans and they also provide a risk-free consultation to encourage customers with making their purchasing decision. They may provide this consultation because very little useful information about this company can be found anywhere online. Stuff like contract information, renewal and policy changes, contract lengths, equipment and more just seem nowhere to be found. They also do not provide much details on their website about installation terms or their own specifications. This lack of easily obtainable information in regards to pricing might give people a poor impression of the company’s trustworthiness and transparency.
Like I stated earlier, their main goal is to help safe-guard their customer’s homes by protecting key vulnerable area’s on your property. This means that they do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ type of approach which partly explains why they do not provide concrete service plans and prices. While having the unique ability to custom tailor your system is certainly desirable, it really does make it difficult to estimate the costs of their service without going through with the entire consultation process.
Devices and Equipment
This company is centered around the idea of trying to prevent the would-be intruder from ever even entering your house, instead of detecting them once their already inside. Their support staff makes home visits and actually designs customized setups adjusted to every home’s shape and size. They have been a player in this game for a very long time and have made a name for being the most flexible and adaptable provider. They even allow their customers purchase equipment from them and then sign a whole different company to monitor and service your system. The extremely expandable system they offer can be upgraded as you please at any time without the hassle of changing the main control units.
When you sign up with this company you will basically have to build your own setup. Ackerman believes it is best to have a custom plan where you may only need specific devices that they provide. Here’s a short list of most of the features that may be available:
- Keypad – features illuminated keys and an easily readable display
- Glass break sensor – has a unique detection method that can sense when glass is broken
- Motion sensors – comes standard with pet amnesty mode
- Remote control – provides some of their home automation features
- Surveillance cameras – indoor and outdoor cameras avaialble
- Fire/Smoke detector – smoke and heat detectors to ensure safety
- CO detectors – uses electro-chemical technology to detect levels of CO that may be dangerous
There are also extra options available to provide upgraded technology and automation. Home automation equipment includes:
- Smart control panel – ability to control your basic system, lights, locks, and even your thermostat
- Remote door locks – lock/unlock your doors with any smart mobile device
- Smart thermostat – remotely control comfort and receive energy savings
- Remote light controller – schedule specific events and times to control lights remotely
- Video surveillance cameras – watch live feeds from your cameras from anywhere
- Alert notifications – instant alerts will be sent when a sensor is triggered
They also will allow new customers to keep their existing equipment and easily transfer monitoring control over to Ackerman.
They do use quite a wide range of equipment. They actually sell burglar alarms, environmental devices and even medical alert kits. Pretty much all of their products are made by Honeywell, although they do utilize some fire protection equipment from First Alert. Honeywell is a huge well known manufacturer in the home safety industry and this partnership really gives them the ability to compete with the other big players when it comes to equipment quality and standards.
Some people will like this and some people won’t but professional installation is indeed required and it can also get a little expensive. One reason someone might not like this is because a bad installer may lead to many false alarms or other problems and there is no way to really make adjustments on your own. To make matters even worse, if they fail to fix your issue with their visit they will not accept responsibility. A couple customers have came forward and shared testimonials stating that multiple visits were required to fix their issues and each incurred a service fee, with some topping out well over $100.
Pricing and Plans
All Ackerman technology uses wireless equipment which means you do not need an active phone line for their service to be effective. Monthly monitoring starts at $19.95/month, but that can vary wildly based on home automation features and what equipment you had installed in your house. Their professional monitoring will cover break-in’s, fires, and even medical emergencies. All monitoring is professional and watched 24/7.
- $19.95 per Month is for a landline connection and does require a phone service
- They require a 12 month contract which is pretty short by industry standards
- Tech support calls may contain hidden fees
Ackerman Security App
Like almost all other top alarm companies they offer a free mobile app which you may use to arm and disarm your protection.
They use the Alarm.com app just like several of their competitor’s. The good thing about this mobile app is that the reliable software works great with their standard Honeywell equipment. It does lack a few of the newer features that custom apps from some of the bigger names provide with their service.
Home automation packages obviously will cost you more, you can expect to pay around $50+ per month for such features. Ackerman’s mobile app has the ability to control your whole system remotely and also any of your smart-home devices. The Total Connect 2.0 app is available to download from both the Google Play Store and from iTunes. They also have a web portal that you may access to control your device using your personal computer.
This process will allow remote access to automate your lights, door locks, and thermostats that are supported by Honeywell’s main control panel. With this automation upgrade you will be able to receive detailed alerts directly to your smartphone or tablet when an event is triggered and detected. The mobile app and website both support live streams from your connected surveillance cameras.
Ackerman Security Systems provides a very customizable service. This obviously means that customers are going to specifically purchase the alarm equipment they know they need to suit their unique living conditions. Since their customers choose and buy their sensors and automation equipment by themselves, there are no long term agreements tied with their service. Contracts are most often affiliated with alarm providers that will loan the equipment to their newly found customers throughout the entire duration of the contract period. By purchasing and owning the system outright, the customers of this company do not have to worry about getting locked into any sort of agreement.
So, because there are no contracts affiliated with their monitoring service, customers have the ability to cancel at any time without being charged ridiculous additional fees or early termination costs.
Customer Service Review
Since Ackerman is more of a local company, they are able to mold closer connections with their customers. The company is fairly easy to contact and they are usually very quick to respond to support calls. They say it takes them about 3 days on average to get a tech or professional installer to your residence.
It is true that their online transparency issues can definitely throw a major red flag to new customers in many ways. Potential customer’s have no way of actually truly knowing what kind of upfront fees that they may or may not have. Most other companies that provide custom-built systems will usually charge customers for many different things such as the price of the equipment or the potential installation or activation fees. Ackerman provides barely any information on their website about any of their pricing in general. A bunch of other customers have also actually complained about their sneaky automatic renewal clause (obviously not on their site either). Regardless of these customers wanting to extend their contracts with them or not, they will automatically renew their contracts without letting you know. They do state that the new subscribers have 60 days to cancel their subscription plan if they wish, but they will still make you pay the remaining balance of their short 2-month contract.
There has been a recent surge of current customers receiving very misleading or poor experiences with their sales team. The complaints are widespread, they can basically range from generic misrepresentation of overall cost to bogus cancellation policies and improper install jobs done by their professional technicians. Scarily, many customers have even reported that they never received a physical, legible copy of their contract.
With that being said, while digging into real customer ratings online you might find that several customers are not satisfied with the service that was provided by Ackerman’s customer support team. Their service calls are usually scheduled in advance and the policy holder must be present during the time frame provided.
While potential home alarm buyers in Atlanta, Washington, Maryland and Philadelphia may this company to be a decent choice, I still strongly recommend researching other national companies that have outstanding reviews.
From the little information that is actually available, Ackerman Security appears to provide you with everything a comprehensive home safety and automation setup needs. They do provide one of the lowest monthly fees in the entire industry, and new customers are greeted with a custom-built kit to rectify their specific needs. For any and all contract specifics, you will need to schedule yourself a free consultation.