When Forbes says you’re one of the country’s most trustworthy companies, you must be doing something right. Protection 1 earned that title in 2008 and has continued to please customers with high-tech equipment and five monitoring stations around the country, which prevent a system failure no matter what weather or other acts of God affect the centers. Best of all, Protection 1 offers both professionally installed and self-installed systems, great for homeowners who sleep better knowing a pro has set up the alarm, and for DIYers who enjoy peeling and sticking sensors around the house.
Protection 1 Standout Features:
- Many Monitoring Stations: Five monitoring stations in California, New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Kansas that backup each other.
- Video Verification: Protection 1 is one of the few security companies to offer video verified response, where the monitoring station use surveillance cameras to verify a break-in and dispatch police.
- Information Hassles: Hard to get reliable information about pricing policies without making several calls. Protection 1 doesn’t want to give all its information before it gets yours.
- Acquisition in the Offing: Apollo Global Management, LLC reportedly is in talks to acquire Protection 1.
- Three-Year Monitoring Agreements: Not too long, not too short – just right.
What Customer Reviews Say About Protection 1
Customers generally seem happy with Protection 1, telling review sites they like the company’s helpful customer care reps, quick service and timely problem solving. Perhaps that’s why Protection 1 made it onto Forbes’ America’s Most Trustworthy Small-Cap Companies in 2008, has a Better Business Bureau A+ grade, and has a 97.3 percent customer satisfaction rating, the company says.
The top complaint is pushy sales people, and our experience mirrored that. During our initial call, the screener wouldn’t answer basic questions about cost. Instead, she was hell bent on getting our information before she would transfer us to a sales rep. When we wouldn’t give it and suggested we might take our business elsewhere, she put us on hold and no one ever picked up.
Well, we never! Other companies are far more accommodating and forthcoming during information-gathering calls.
What Employee Reviews Say
Protection 1 says, “Happy employees create happy customers and life balance is a key factor in happiness.” To that point, the company maintains a welcome team and mentor program, and it encourages like-minded employees to participate in a common hobby or interest. The company takes pride in promoting within and rewarding top producers with monthly prizes and yearly trips. The benefits aren’t bad, either, including tuition reimbursement, 401(k) match and paid bereavement time.
Our pal Sonny, the online chat operator, said, “I love my job!”
What Glassdoor Says About Protection 1
- 3.2 stars (out of 5).
- 65 percent of reviewers would recommend Protection 1 to a friend.
- 69 percent approve of the CEO.
- Top Kudos: Good work/life balance and customer-centric policies.
- Top Complaints: Poor upper management and lack of training.
What Indeed Reviews Say About Protection 1
- 3.1 stars (out of 5).
- Top Kudos: Lots of overtime and good benefits.
- Top Complaints: Micromanagement and short breaks.
What Everyone Else Says
Accolades rain onto Protection 1, which has earned SDM Dealer of the Year, 2012; Better Business Bureau Integrity Award, 2013; Angie’s List Super Service Award, 2012; and Forbes America’s Most Trustworthy Small-Cap Companies, 2008. Protection 1 is UL-listed, IQ-certified, FM-approved, CSAA 5 Diamond certified, and a member of the NBFAA and NICET.
Of course, not everything is marshmallows and roses for Protection 1. In 2014, a homeowner claimed he was defrauded into signing a contract with Protection 1 that included a $750 early termination fee and sued the company alleging fraud, deceit and deceptive business practices under several statutes in California. The lower court dismissed the case, but the Appellate Court reversed it, in part, and sustained the action for the fraud, deceit and deceptive business practices.
Who Is Protection 1 Home Security?
Protection 1 was born in 1988 when PacifiCorp, a Portland, Oregon-based electric utility company, spurred growth by adding home security to its roster of services. In 2007, Protection One merged with Integrated Alarm Services Group, Inc. (IASG), making it of the country’s largest monitored security services companies. Today, the rebranded Protection 1 counts among its residential, commercial and national customers some of the country’s largest retailers, financial institutions and restaurants.
Protection 1 is UL-listed; IQ-certified; FM-approved and CSAA 5 Diamond certified.
What Does Protection 1 Offer?
Protection 1 offers both professionally installed and self-installed, monitored home security systems that connect via cell towers, and landlines with cellular backup. Homes are monitored by Protection 1’s five, UL-approved monitoring stations that employ triple redundancy; if one system goes down, other stations take over automatically. The response time to confirmed alarm events is 8-10 seconds, which is speedy, indeed.
Protection 1 Security Equipment
Home Security System Control Equipment
- Go!Control Touch Screen Remote: Controls system and works with mobile app to alert you to home conditions including extreme weather conditions.
- Additional Wireless Keypad: Lets you access system from anywhere in the house.
- Emergency Button: Wearable panic button that alerts monitoring personnel to a health or security emergency.
- Keychain Fob: Portable control, with panic button, that arms/disarms system.
- Window/Door Sensor: Transmits signals to monitoring station when armed window or door opens.
- Motion Detector: Detects movement and sends alerts; pet friendly up to 40 pounds.
- Garage Door Sensor: Monitors garage door opening.
- Glass Break Detector: Sounds alarm when intruders break glass windows or doors.
- Water Flood Sensor: Alerts you to home flooding from burst pipes.
- Freeze Sensor: Detects furnace failures when temperature drops to about 41 degrees.
- Smoke/Heat/Freeze: Combo unit that detects smoke and sudden temperature changes.
- Indoor Wireless Security Camera: Features adjustable motion detection; viewable through any web-enabled devise.
- Indoor Pan/Tilt Camera: Moves, captures and saves action when it detects motion.
- Indoor Night Vision Camera: Sees 20 feet in the dark while delivering true, daytime colors.
- Video Storage Services: Stores video camera images on secure server.
- Digital Video Recorder: Sends alerts and live video during real-time events.
- Outdoor Camera: Weather and vandal resistant camera that features adjustable motion detector.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector: Alerts monitoring station to rising CO levels.
- Fire Fighter: Heat sensitive alarm that works with hard-wired smoke detectors to alert monitoring station of possible fires.
- Wireless Doorbell: Sends alerts when someone rings your doorbell.
- Geo Services: Automatically arms system and adjusts lights, locks, HVAC or appliances when you leave home.
- Remote Door Locks: Open and lock doors remotely on any web-enable device; can be accessed with via key or code.
- Remote Thermostat Control: Schedule, raise and lower home temperatures remotely.
- Lighting and Appliance Control: Remotely schedule and control lights and small appliances.
What You Get With Protection 1’s “Security Package”
Beats us. Protection 1’s website doesn’t include prices, and we called three times and are still scratching our heads about which package offers what, and how much each costs. One sales rep said he wouldn’t sell us the company’s bottom-rung package – Secure – because it doesn’t offer cellular communication. Best we can figure, the “basic” system costs $56.99/month; but you can knock off seven bucks if you enroll in automatic bill pay; if you install the system yourself, it costs $49.99, minus eight bucks with automatic bill pay. “I wouldn’t worry about the packages,” a nice supervisor said when we complained about the lack of information on the website. “Typically, the customers know what they want, and the sales specialist works with you on what you need.”
Sonny, an online chat operator, gave us the most information. So, if you have questions, chat is the way to go.
- Honeywell or 2GIG control panel
- 3 door/window sensors
- Motion detector
- Keychain remote
- Cellular communication
- Yard signs
- Window stickers
- Users manual
Security Monitoring Levels
- Secure: 24/7 monitoring; intrusion protection (keypad, 3 door contacts, motion detector, yard signs, window stickers); monitored fire and carbon monoxide protection, environmental and life safety (extreme temperatures and flooding).
- Secure+: 24/7 monitoring; intrusion protection; monitored fire and carbon monoxide protection, environmental and life safety, cellular communication, two-way voice (talk to monitoring staff through your control panel).
- Smart Control: 24/7 monitoring; intrusion protection; monitored fire and carbon monoxide protection, environmental and life safety, cellular communication, two-way voice, web and mobile control (access your system from anywhere through an app for web-enabled devices), image motion sensor.
- Video & Automation: 24/7 monitoring; intrusion protection; monitored fire and carbon monoxide protection, environmental and life safety, cellular communication, two-way voice, web and mobile control, image motion sensor, video surveillance, energy and home automation (control door locks, thermostat and appliances.)
- Warranty: Lifetime warranty while you’re a customer with purchase of extended warranty plan.
- Risk-Free Trial: State-mandated three-day cooling off period.
What To Expect When Calling Protection 1
When you call the Protection 1 sales number, a pre-screening operator will answer and gather basic facts about where you live, if you own a home – that kind of thing. Then, he’ll transfer you to a “solution specialist,” aka sales, who will help you select equipment and a monitoring package. Good luck understanding all the fees and discounts: We called back three times and still aren’t clear about costs. But, basically, you’ll spend $99 for install (unless you self-install, then it’s free), then upwards of $40/month on various monitoring and equipment packages.
Before you get too far down the road, sales will run a soft credit check to make sure you’ve got a 625 or higher score, which qualifies you for certain packages and perks. If the soft credit check doesn’t yield a high enough score, you can opt for a hard check, which will affect your credit score.
After you commit to equipment and monitoring, a “Welcome Call” rep gets on the line and confirms what you’ve agreed to and sends a 36-month agreement for your electronic signature. Then, you schedule an installer to set up the system (you must sign the doc before installation day).
All equipment has a lifetime guarantee, although service visits cost $25. If you need a new part or piece, technicians will deliver it the same or next day, or the company will mail it within two days. Early termination costs $750 or whatever is left on your contract, whichever is less.
During our secret shopper call with Protection 1, Bruce, our sales rep, sounded professional, energized and knowledgeable. For instance, he said that the sound of breaking glass doesn’t travel through walls – we didn’t know that – and he’s the only sales rep who told us Virginia, where we live, doesn’t allow remote control locks.
However, Bruce overwhelmed us with different packages and prices – professional install, self-install, free equipment, $100 for equipment upfront but lower monthly monitoring fees. TMI, Bruce; our heads were spinning trying to figure out which was the best deal.
Bruce said Protection 1 was the largest home security company with the longest average retention time of 10 years. He took some shots at ADT saying, “I used to sell ADT. (Seems every sales reps everywhere once worked for ADT.) They raise your price on the contract. We won’t. Our equipment is better than ADT’s.”
- Where Protection 1 is Headed: Rumors are swirling that Protection 1 will be acquired by Apollo Global Management, LLC in a $1.5 billion deal, beating out other suitors including Ares Management LLC and The ADT Corporation.
- Cool Stuff on the Horizon: Look for smart energy automation services in the wake of Protection 1 raising $250 million to finance Brite Energy, its residential solar energy operations.