CPI Security Review
Crime Prevention Inc. has been protecting homes and businesses in the southeastern region for over 20 years now. They currently service many states such as Georgia, Virginia, North and South Carolina and actually have a total of over 100 thousand active customers. If you don’t live in any of these states, you should check out these other top rated national home alarm companies.
Surprisingly, CPI Security clocks in at spot #19 on the SDM Top 100 companies in this industry. This company does also currently maintain an A rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) despite quite a few negative online reviews.
Their website looks impressive at first glance but lacks quality content and pricing transparency. With that being said, let’s focus more on the history of the company and the services they provide. CPI’s custom setups have kept families and businesses protected for over 20 years. They will attempt to provide you with a custom design, installation, monitoring, and they will repair their system’s for you if such a problem arises. If you live in any of those southeastern states and are genuinely considering investing in a home alarm system then you’ll at least want to give this company a shot. Obviously they are a regional company that offers most of the common home safety services such as: event alerts/notifications, professional monitoring and customizable packages. They do have some unique features as well like Real Time Response with Audio and Video Verification that lets the monitoring operators see and communicate with their customers in real-time with the control panel after an alarm is triggered. CPI does feature a pretty cool intuitive control panel, minimal upfront fees in most cases and in many cases, same-day installation.
They actually have the luxury of owning their very own monitoring center which provides their customers with UL Listed, CSAA Five-Diamond Certified 24/7 home monitoring. They also have 2-way voice communication and video verification if you want it. CPI offers interactive service capabilities with their very own mobile app called inTouch. This application gives you the ability to watch live surveillance footage, arm and disarm your setup, and basically control all of your alarm equipment and smart home automation devices. The app is available for iOS, Android and even Blackberry in an attempt to allow maximum ease of use for all customers on nearly any smart mobile device.
Pricing and Equipment
CPI requires a 60 month or 5-year contract agreement for their wireless systems, with rates between $39.99 and $64.99. There is also an additional fee for their Service Plus extended warranty service plan. They do use quite a wide variety of equipment manufactured by many companies such as GE, DSC, 2Gig, and even some home automation devices from Yale and Liftmaster.
They claim to offer a whopping $1700 in Free Equipment but that is basically just included in their monthly monitoring prices. Monitoring prices actually change and are increased when you exchange devices or add additional equipment that isn’t included in the basic package which can vary depending on their current promotions and availability. They also require an initial $99.00 Installation/Activation Fee for homeowners and a $299 fee for renters, depending on credit approval. While the customers retains ownership of the equipment at all times, CPI disables the main control panel upon contract termination rendering your setup completely useless.
Just like we previously stated, this company is very tricky and their website does not really give you any important information in regards to pricing and the packages that they offer. They definitely try and make sure that you call in and speak to a sales representative before receiving such information. We do know a little bit of information though..
Basic Setup – 100% wireless with a $99+ installation charge and a minimum starting cost of $29.99 a month. However, this certainly does not mean that every new customer will be offered this rate or even know that this rate exists. Once you finally manage to get off the phone with a company rep they will have tried to up-sell you many times and chances are you will be stuck purchasing the standard or professional plans which start around $45 – $75 per month.
Activation Fee $99 – They actually boast a “free” installation fee but we all know this is just a play on words. Instead of paying for the “installation” you instead pay for the “activation” of your system. This is obviously the exact same thing.
It is nice to see the variety of equipment that they have to offer as lots of smaller companies exclusively use Honeywell and GE equipment. They have their very own mobile app, a Yale key-pad door lock, 2-gig main control panel and even some self-made equipment and devices such as their smoke alarm and other exclusive sensors.
They even have some pretty neat surveillance cameras but this will obviously make your monthly fee go up quite a bit. You may be better off adding a 3rd party Canary or Nest surveillance camera on top of your CPI system.
CPI Intouch App
The app can be accessed via any smart device or their web portal and is meant to control your entire setup. It should be noted that is quite impressive that they actually took the time to develop their own app and didn’t just use Alarm.com’s mobile app like most other companies in this space do. Get notifications when your door is unlocked or locked, setup your triggers, control your remote thermostat and even get updates for your system. They have put a lot of money into their app which is quite impressive for just a regional company.
CPI Customer Service
CPI Security has closed just over 40 complaints with the BBB over the last couple years and has managed to maintain an A+ BBB rating even with their many complaints. Seeing a company resolve complaints like this is usually a good thing as it shows that they actually attempt to keep their customers happy.
Speaking of their negative reviews, the majority of that feedback is related to their failure to disclose the terms of their contract and also some difficulties in terminating their service. Even with the CPI Service Plus plan, moving and renovation costs are not covered which is pretty annoying. Also, none of the components involved with video surveillance or energy management are covered by their service plus plan, they are only covered by the manufacturer for an initial 90-day period. If at any time a customer feels the need to terminate their 5-year contract agreement early, they are held responsible to pay 75% of the remaining contractual balance. This can still end up being quite a substantial amount of money considering the contract length.
In addition, it’s worth noting that CPI requires a notice of termination or discontinuation of their service in writing, with a signature, 60 days before the end of your contract. The contract also contains a sneaky auto-renewal policy which states that the contract will automatically renew on an annual basis, locking in the customer with an additional 1 year of service at your original rates, which probably included some very high equipment costs. Lastly, there are many complaints that customers were never told that CPI would disable the main control panel chip upon termination of their monitoring services.
While CPI does offer an impressive professionally installed setup with limited up-front investments required, it must be noted that the dreaded 5-year contract may deter most people from this company. Based on previous customer reviews and testimonials, the fact that even with their service plus plan you still have to pay for many minor things like relocating can also really turn some people off.
New customers must make sure that they read and understand all the fine print before signing that 60-month contract. Many customers have been quite surprised to find out that when they went to cancel after they knew their 5 year contractual obligation was over, it had already automatically renewed them for another whole year, unless that 60-day notice was sent to them prior to the expiration of the contract.