Northstar Security Review
They are based out of Orem, Utah, and were established all the way back in 2000. Now, with over 15 years of experience they are no longer only local providers. They now have locations in over 29 states and are considered to be one of the quickest growing home protection and automation companies in the U.S. They claim to serving about 40 thousand customers nationwide. The company provides a multitude of important features that may even compete with some of the leading agencies. With that being said, they do only have a B rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau), and also a history of poor transparency with their pricing, just like almost all the other local providers trying to turn big time. One quick thing to note is that they are an authorized Honeywell equipment dealer, which is definitely a very popular brand for alarm devices.
Labeling themselves as Atlanta’s new leading home protection company, NorthStar Security aims to offer very low initial rates with a ton of higher level options if you so choose. Starting at just $16.95 per month for their most basic package, you can start protecting your home 24/7 for cheaper than about 90% of the providers out there. Instead of blindly mashing together random monitoring packages, NorthStar Alarm attempts to design a system specifically to fit your home and your specific needs. While this might annoy a few people who would rather know exactly what equipment they’ll be getting, the vast majority of people see this as a benefit because you will not be wasting your money on equipment you don’t need or will never use.
Let’s Talk Equipment
Even though they do their best to avoid general cookie cutter plans, they do a great job of researching and recommending the equipment that you might want to consider for your very own customized system. These plans obviously include some of the common very basic components like: door and window sensors, motion detectors for your rooms and a few different options for your main controller. In an attempt to compete with the national leaders they do give you the ability to add-on things like video surveillance and smart home automation equipment, which can certainly make your home feel more secure and comfortable. Depending on where you live, you may even want to look into their flood or freeze sensor equipment as well. They really do attempt to make sure that you only get what you need to keep your home safe without up-selling you on every single little device they offer. This personalized system really does show you how they are trying hard to meet every single person’s needs.
As well as the basic sensors, they also offer completely wireless mobile access to arm and disarm your protection from any smart enabled device like a phone, tablet or even a computer. This is a common feature among almost all of today’s providers and it can certainly help you control your home from just about anywhere in the world. You can setup your system to send you text and e-mail notifications so you always know what is happening in your home at all times. This is especially true with video surveillance as it provides a live stream to what is going on around or in your home at all times.
NorthStar Security Mobile App
North Star does offer some of the newer devices as well such as glass break sensors, 2-way voice communication and advanced system management through their mobile app or web portal. The video package features remote control capabilities with the very popular Total Connect app. To help compliment the system and this app they have totally wireless installation and communication means, as well as their Rapid Response monitoring.
Another set of features that North Star offers are their Access and Energy features which let you take advantage of their home automation by controlling your locks and thermostat remotely. Let’s not forget about the lighting, you can schedule your lighting for specific times of the day and also turn on/off any appliances hooked up the smart plug, which are all still wireless and still feature their cellular monitoring technology.
Monitoring and Rapid Response
With tons of different monitoring services to meet your needs, they claim to offer the customer service support and technology to help you feel safe 24/7 using their monitoring centers. Customer’s do have the option of going the landline route but I would advise against it as it is some seriously outdated technology. Among all the standard features listed above, you can also secure your house with smoke/heat detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, flood sensors and even temperature monitoring.
Starting at the extremely low cost of $16.95 a month for the basic monitoring plan, NorthStar does indeed offer some of the cheapest introductory rates in the entire industry. This is with a landline connection though, if you prefer the reliability of wireless communication and service, the price will be bumped up to $24.95/month which is still pretty cheap compared to most other companies. Once you add in the Total Connect App this again will raise the price, this time to about $30/month. If you wish to add their video surveillance service it will cost you an additional $9 per month.
If a false alarm takes place while your home is being secured by a Northstar Alarm system, they will provide you with all of the necessary paperwork to dispute the charge and essentially help you get your money back. I really don’t know of any other companies that offer that type of protection against false alerts. They offer new customers the choice between 2 different impressive home video surveillance cameras; one with pan and tilt capabilities, and one without. Both of these cameras will operate on their cellular network which means that even in the unlikely event that your power goes out, your surveillance cameras should still be up and running. You will always have the ability to view live video streams or record and playback certain footage from your mobile phone app or your desktop computer.
The Not So Good
- 60-Month (5-year) Contract Agreement
- Automatic Contract Renewal (may catch some people off guard)
- Basic plan uses a landline
- Poor Pricing Transparency
- B+ BBB Rating
Most of the complaints have to do with their contract. New customers of Northstar will be locked into a long 60 month contract agreement, which is basically twice as long as most other contracts you would see in this industry. If you decide to cancel your service prematurely before your agreement has expired, you will be required to pay 100% of your remaining balance, which can ultimately add up to being several hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Once the initial contract is over, customers will only be given a short 60 day period to file a written request saying that they wish to cancel their service. If you do not do this, they will automatically renew your contract for an additional 18 full months. Another thing to note, unlike most other players in this industry, they will actually charge customers who move to come out and reinstall their system. It has also been reported that potential new customers have been pressured into signing up with them without actually being given full disclosure of their contract terms.
Back to some positives, they do provide a lifetime warranty on most of their equipment. In the rare cases where a service technician needs to come out and fix your equipment that is not covered by their warranty, customers will be charged $80 along with the cost of whatever equipment is being replaced.
Northstar Alarm does offer a large number of very impressive home protection and automation features that are almost identical to the larger, more trusted agencies. At this point it really does come down to customer service and they may fall a little short. Companies like Frontpoint are just so far ahead in this department that it makes it very hard for these up and coming providers to compete. Their false alert protection is a pretty sweet feature and their surveillance cameras are very good. In the end, customers really should be investigating their customer service in their location from this company and comparing it to the other large companies that service their area.