How to Cancel Your Alarm Contract

How to Cancel Your Alarm Contract

Almost Out of that Sticky Security Contract?

Congratulations, you made it!  You are no longer in contract with your alarm company.  Most likely this has been three (short or long depending on their customer service) years for you to be a free agent again in the home security world.  Hopefully, there were no break-ins and that if there was; your alarm system did what it needed to and got the police and your family called.  

Now that the initial agreement with the company is up, you are faced with a few different:

  • Keep the current system & still pay
  • Upgrade and get free new equipment by switching providers
  • Stop paying your monitoring fees & still use alarm system for deterrent and warnings


Keeping the Current System and Still Pay

Money Flying out of a window

Don't let your money fly out the window!

This is unfortunately, the most common option and the number 1 reason security companies make the kind of money they do!  Did you know that the average customer stays with ADT for 7 years before canceling or upgrading?  The initial 'Free Alarm' you got for signing up doesn't pay for itself in the eyes of the security companies for 2-3 years.  (High overhead with equipment, paying sales rep, technician and monitoring station).

Once those fees are recouped after 2-3 years is when they start rolling in the big bucks.  Nearly 80% of the monitoring fees are then pure profit.  What do we here at Alarm Reviews recommend?  Change it up.  Get the most out of the companies, their promotions etc. and get new equipment and make a change.  Don't be their favorite customer by simply sending them a bill every month while they don't do a thing.

Upgrade your Current System for Current Promotions

new touchscreen panel offered by Protect America

Upgraded panel shown for example

Chances are, the alarm system you got 3-5 years ago has been updated and changed.  With home automation being the new biggest trend, you will want to stay on top of promotions and keep the best of the best in your home.  So what should you do?  Take initiative and get an upgraded alarm system.  Don't settle for a 'working' alarm system.   You can compare different security systems, call around and don't be worried about changing companies.  Unless you are loyal to them because a family member owns the company, don't be.  

A new company will come in and add up to $1600 in free equipment to your previous alarm system.  This could include a free touch screen panel for you; key remotes, or covering some of the entrances or window alarm sensors that you didn't the first time.  Chances are you didn't have security cameras or smart thermostats when you last signed up either so now would be the time to get those for free when signing a contract with a new company. 

How Can I Cancel my Alarm Contract?

 Maybe you have been counting down the days for your contract to end because you are sick of paying the $30-50 monthly fee.  Well go ahead and call and cancel!  Just make sure you do this on the very month your contract ends.  Why?  Several companies have a horrible auto renewal policy in their contract and if you don't cancel before the final month of contract (36th/60th month) it will automatically renew for another 3-5 years. Typically they are auto-renewed for 12 month period. This is of course, something the sales rep didn't tell you about when you signed up but do your best to stay on top of it and cancel right away.  

Beware of early payoff and cancellation fees.  These are usually upwords of 75% of remaining contract.  If you are moving to an area where the company cannot service things may get a little messy.  Depending on the company, they will either admit they can't provide service and end terms.  If they want to get real stingy they will claim you still owe the remainder of what's left on the agreement.  This is where lawsuits come in and neither party is happy; unfortunately this happens quite a bit in the industry.

Your equipment will still function and sound the alarm when a sensor is triggered but the monitoring station will no longer call you.  Some people like this as it still gives them a warning (to grab the gun etc.) at night if there is a home intrusion and you save yourself the monthly monitoring fee.

In closing

There are several options you have as a consumer when the contract runs out of time.  The last thing you want to do it to do nothing, stay quiet and pay your bill.  Whether you cancel altogether or upgrade for a better deal, do something!

Any bad (or good) experiences with changing security providers?  Let us know below

[Total: 12    Average: 2.8/5]
About the Author

45 User Reviews
  1. 08/11/2019 at 14:09

    I signed up with BRINKS Home Security on 07/13/2001. On 05/2019, I called ADT to upgrade my security system. After looking over the contract I decided to cancel, way too expensive. Here is where it gets interesting. I cancel the contract for upgrades within two days, but trying to get my down payment was a nightmare. After many calls to ADT, and placing a complaint BBB, I finally received the down payment. The processed lasted for 3 months. My BRINKS contract states "This service is provided under an initial 24 or 36 month agreement which continues in 12 month extensions." Question: When can I cancel this contract? Will there be fees attached to this cancellation? Can they remove the equipment?

  2. Richard Ziegler
    05/01/2019 at 18:57

    We have been paying into security for 18 years . Started with ADT . Every so many years someone knocks on door to do upgrade,When they leave we have a new company who pays off the old and we carry on .. Now in our 70s wife has had back surgery .Yard work is more difficult . We were able to get a condo in a 55 and up community .( difficult to get into ) The current security co. Brinks says we owe them 3 years . Is there a way we can get out of this ?/ What if we stop payment ?? We have sterling credit and pay cash so them going after our credit score doesnt bother me .

  3. Thomas A Colucci
    04/11/2019 at 12:15

    Called My Alarm Center to inform them that I will no longer be living in this house. The response that I got was that I owed them $400 because I am on contract with them until 2020. What contract???? Don't ever remember signing any extension whatsoever. As of next week I'm no longer here and don't need their services. Then agent I spoke with was super rude basically telling me either the new owners take up the services or I'm stuck. I DON'T THINK SO....

  4. Mike
    03/06/2019 at 08:47

    My parents purchased an alarm system when they moved into an over 55 condo. They were already seniors at the time and they purchased it from Ultraguard in 2006. Ultraguard was then purchased by ASG and then Protection 1 and currently they are billed by ADT. They haven't been able to use the system because of too many false with the motion sensor so they want to cancel the service. ADT wants them to pay off for the remainder of an 5 YEAR that was automatically renewed from the original Ultraguard. Which of course the sales person didn’t point out or have them initial it. They have signed nothing since then. They did not agree to any of the contract transfers so I don't know if that original contract is still valid. the equipment has never been upgraded and they pay 125 every 3 months for service they don’t use. ADT wants them to pay for the remaining 18 months at $750 in order to cancel early. Hasn’t ADT made enough money on 14 year old equipment?

  5. Betty Dunnam
    02/19/2019 at 17:47

    My name is Betty Dunnam I wish to cancel my service my account is 310654867 address 341 Tipton lane Stout Ohio 45684

  6. Lee S Sparks
    08/20/2018 at 20:01

    After looking at my Monotronics contract i noticed they didn't check the box for the 5 year contract. In the first place I was unaware it was for 5 years! Can i bail out of this contract dto to the unchecked box?

    • Jay
      06/09/2019 at 09:49

      Yes you should be able to,

  7. telma liu
    07/31/2018 at 18:17

    After stayed with my current security company for more than 4 years, I called to cancel the services, but they said they want the equipment back. The problem is can I ask them to fix my wall?

  8. Myra
    07/26/2018 at 19:31

    Hi just wondering what I can do. I signed a contract for 5 years with counterforse home security. I wanted to cancel but they said I have 18 months left of the contract. Can they hold me to that? I am in Nova Scotia and I am not sure if they can or not.

    • 07/30/2018 at 09:18

      Hey Myra - yeah they can hold you to that. Typically they will allow an early cancellation if you pay a percentage (often 75%) of the remaining contract value. The longer you have been with the company the less percentage that may be. All the other alternatives will get nasty between you and them. Sadly companies resorted to these long 5 year contracts as they are giving out hefty amounts of equipment upfront and they want a for sure payment for the oncoming years. Sorry you have to put up with it.

  9. F. D. L.
    06/15/2018 at 16:13

    JUST FYI... My 36-month ADT contract expires 9/2018. I live in California. I just read the "TERM OF CONTRACT" on page 1/8 and it says: "contract will automatically renew for successive 30-day term(s) at the expiration fo the initial term or any 30-day renewal term". Thus, it seems I'm not on the hook for another 36 months with them.

    • 06/19/2018 at 13:22

      correct, auto-renewal 30 day terms so nothing bad. Thanks for clarification

  10. Laurie Carson
    04/24/2018 at 15:05

    I cancelled my Alarm Guys I had them for 3 years do I keep the equipment or send it back.

    • 04/25/2018 at 07:30

      Keep it! They give you free up front security system and then tie in that cost into the MMR during the 3 years. Companies typically don't want to come in and get the equipment back out unless you discontinue the service within the 1st year or got a really advanced security system installed.

  11. Henry Seiden
    03/22/2018 at 11:27

    Don't know how you can rate ADT so high on your reviews. They stink. Now that Protection One and ADT merged, they both stink. The services in the Jacksonville Metro and the surroundings is terrible. They never solved numerous problems and one cam up that bit us big time. Low/poor cellular signal. The company couldn't solve that and the resulting speed issues with Z-Wave add-on door lock, thermostat. I was able to negotiate an "early out" 4 months ahead of the end date of my contract because they couldn't or more accurately perform their service. Rather tha continue the agony and deal with a legal action, they opted to forget the $240 fee they wanted to charge. I stayed pro-active with the case until they did what they should have in January.

  12. Theresa Cole
    03/07/2018 at 08:32

    Question...I have ATT Digital life and I am just finding out they are planning to sale the service off to another company. I don't want to work with another company. Is this a violation of their contract with me and am I able to cancel without penalty?

    • 03/07/2018 at 09:16

      Hey great question. There should be a grace period during their sale where you have the right to go with the new provider and carry your contract over or cancel. Give them a call; they should be human and reasonable with you. The billing information should switch as well (not being billed by AT&T anymore) and you can make the argument that you never agreed for 'XXXXXX-security' to bill you.

  13. Brian
    12/28/2017 at 11:18

    I've got one for you I contracted with ADT their sales agent gave me the spiel which of course upon installation was only half true and then the equipment was installed I spoke with someone at the monitoring service to make sure that everything was connected correctly I was told it was the alarm system appeared functional as when I press the button it would give me the countdown and of course if I open the door the alarm would sound 2 years later I was having an issue and ADT had to send out a Workman that Workman told me that on the outside of my home the ADT connection into my cable was not even connected it was just dangling there as I live very far out in the country I had no emergencies or issues but the workmen told me that the little connector or filter that they use was not on there and the only explanation was that the original installer did not connect the service to the internet so I paid 2 years for ADT service that was not even connected when I confronted the company about the mistake their Workman had made and that he had been paying them for service that I could not have received due to it not being connected they told me that all they could do was give me a month free because I should have checked the system monthly to make sure it worked properly run from ADT as fast as you can

    • Manny
      04/11/2018 at 17:51

      I’ve got almost the same problem with ADT, they installed the alarm in correctly and sometimes alarmed without anything goin on.. I called them and they came and repaired and charged me for their service but I told them it’s not my fault but they still charged me cause they showed up... what the heck? I tried to cancel but will charge me b/c of my contract. So I waited until my contract ends, for 3 yrs with them is useless, I’m very comfortable with RING cheap, $99 no monthly and I can monitor 24 hrs with camera in my phone for any movement in my house...

  14. Jennifer
    10/09/2017 at 16:22

    My contract with Moni Security was a 21 month contract and I canceled today after I received the 21 bill, they told me I my contract goes through the 21st of October and that it won't cancel until 30 days after the contract date. That would be 22 months. How can they get away with this.? Is there anything I can do to not have to pay for another month?

  15. Jack
    09/04/2017 at 13:19

    I was in a three year contract with Alarm force and that ended about 5 months ago. I didn't want another contract so talked them into month to month. A few months ago I got a letter stating Alarm force was bought out by some company called Select Security and I would be getting new signs and stickers. I tried to call the # today to pay my bill and now it says they are the new company but I never got my stuff. I waited for over an hour on hold and no one came on the line. I do not want to sign a new contract with this company and doubt they can force me, what are my legal options?

    • 10/03/2017 at 13:31

      We wrote an article about this; home security companies are constantly being bought out by larger companies which take over the contract. This happened with Pinacle, Brinks, AT&T Digital Life and dozens of ma and pa companies like the one you are involved with above. Your best bet is going into their office locally if they have one. Call them, track and record what you are doing. Last of all go to a lawyer. You should have the option of auto renewing if they have sold your contract to a NEW company.

  16. Steven Flannigan
    08/08/2017 at 17:48

    Great write up. I recently tried to cancel my home security system with ADT to switch to FrontPoint. I didn't have any issues, I just called them up and told the customer service representative that I wanted to cancel my service. I told them I was switching to FrontPoint. They did not even try to pass me over to the retention line! After reading your your review on FrontPoint I think I am I knew I was missing enticing features that FrontPoint offers! I was in a 3 year contract with ADT and thankfully my contract was was up and I switched out to Frontpoint. Been 3 months so far and all is well.

  17. Cyndee
    07/18/2017 at 18:11

    I cancelled my Digital Life service. Since when was it cloud-based? I cannot use any of the equipment I originally purchased because I am not "connected" to their service. I am told that there is no difference in a "monitoring" service and the complete Digital Life service. Now I have no door chimes, no alarm pad that I can use, no working glass break detectors, no carbon monoxide detectors, etc. In the past, I would purchase the ADT, AT&T, etc . equipment of the day, pay for an initial contract and then cancel it when it was up. This left me with working equipment but no monitoring service. Not with Digital Life.

    • 07/24/2017 at 13:50

      Hi Cyndee., Yeah - guess Digital Life found a hack around users doing that. You can always purchase a simple DIY system that will sound off if and when someone were to break in. Most equipment (Honeywell & GE) will keep working when not monitored, sorry that your game plan didn't work with this company. Try to find a way to re-sell or return the equipment and then go back to a basic setup and do some DIY security cameras that don't require any monitoring fee.

  18. Paul
    06/21/2017 at 22:39

    I cancelled my AT&T Digital Life contract and monitoring service. I still have all the equipment including the cameras. What are my options or how do I reactivate my equipment without a monitoring company? Is there a way to set my thermostat, open my front door and monitor my house with cameras using my Samsung S6 without using AT&T or ADD? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, [email protected]

    • 06/22/2017 at 15:00

      Yes, if they aren't coming back to get the equipment it should still work as normal. The only difference is if the alarm is set you will not be called from the monitoring station. If you have any cameras they should still live stream via internet but you will be in charge of monitoring. If the equipment is Honeywell or GE then most any security company can use what's called a 'translator' and use the existing motion and door sensors, saving you money. We would recommend NOT getting a DIY system in this case (Frontpoint / Protect America) and going with Vivint or ADT who will send out a tech to assess the equipment and hook it up to the new one.

  19. Wilma
    06/21/2017 at 19:34

    Can a alarm company automatically sign you up for another year without telling you? My 4 year contract was up and I went with another company and sent them a quit notice and they said I would have to pay for the year to break it. How can that be Legal?

    • 06/22/2017 at 15:01

      The sickening fine print of security contracts... A short answer; Yes. It should only auto-renew for 1 year periods after the initial term is over. Cancellation fees should also be less. They usually require a 30-60 day notice before the contract is over that you want to cancel otherwise it auto-renews. This is done by most companies out there so it is up to the consumers to stay vigilant where they are in terms of time with the contract.

  20. KevinR
    04/07/2017 at 22:17

    These are issues that are not often talked about in reviews and I’m glad that you’ve got it covered. Whatever you do, don’t auto-renew. Sales agents usually fail to discuss this (on purpose) and consumers learn the hard way. I would also stay away from long-term contracts if you’re switching to relatively unknown companies. I know nobody reads the contract, but please do and read the fineprint as well.

  21. Tro
    02/25/2017 at 20:11

    After my contract expires and cancel the monthly monitoring fees I was told by ADT that my system will no longer work and I have to hire professional to reprogram my system. Need comments if this make sense.

    • 02/28/2017 at 14:03

      Hey Tro, may be a sales technique. It is true that the alarm system will not be connected to their monitoring headquarters anymore. (that is what the monthly payment is for). The system will still sound off if you set it and you can 'self monitor' or use it as your wake up device at night if someone breaks in the home. While this isn't recommended, it can work just fine if you are home most nights.

      • Arlene
        02/04/2018 at 16:34

        Hi... I have the same question really. We've had ADT for over 8 years. My husband tried to cancel and they said that our system would no longer work... at ALL if we cancelled monitoring. Even the door chimes. I've never heard of a system like that. Should I see if there's anything in the original contract about that? (I may have to ask them for our contract.) I want to know if they are lying to me.

        • 02/06/2018 at 16:19

          As long as the hardware stays plugged in (Panel and batteries are good in sensors) it should all still work. When it gets set off you will just not be called by ADT. Your app and cameras (if any) won't work but the basics should. Possibly if it's on the newer Pulse system they have a way of shutting off everything but if you have a Honeywell or Simon XT panel it will keep alerting you and scaring any intruder away.

  22. Geraldine Allen
    12/06/2016 at 02:16

    This information was very helpful but it didn't say anything about the company wants to pick up the mother broad. I was informed by CPI that they need me to sign out the contract when finished and for them to come and take out the mother broad.

    • 01/09/2017 at 11:44

      We have a review of CPI separately, search CPI and you will find it.

    • Wayne Elliott
      11/17/2017 at 07:48

      What's a mother broad? Is it anything like a motherboard?

      • 12/14/2017 at 16:18

        Is salty the same as salt? ;)... 'KEEP IT CLEAN BOYS' says the ref.

  23. Mark
    11/10/2016 at 01:35

    I wasn't aware about upgrades like I'm sure many people are not. Do they purposely leave this information. Out like the auto renew? I just looked my contact up and read the fine print and yep, I have an auto renew policy. This practice just seems unethical!

  24. Danan Jones
    10/13/2016 at 06:37

    The idea of an upgrade is very attractive.i have been with ADT for well over a decade. My sister uses FrontPoint, its home automation system and all it offers is quite cool. I am considering switching when my contract expires in December. Thanks for the tip.

  25. George
    10/10/2016 at 00:14

    This is some great advice that I wasn't aware of. I really need to look into my contact and make sure I won't be stuck for another few years without knowing it. I want the option to upgrade or go with another company.

  26. BrkrDave
    09/13/2016 at 09:57

    ADT wants a 30 day notice to cancel even after the contract expires. They say that provision of the contract goes on forever.

    • Shamik
      06/15/2017 at 12:07

      Thanks for the heads up. I'll inform security company to stop service on the last day of contract completion. These devices are just to inform the police in our absence and thieves always breaks the panel as soon as they enter. Best option is to spend your money better to reinforce all entry points with steel guards and live monitoring cameras which are cheap these days including hidden cameras, because anything thieves notice alarming they break it.

    • Kumil
      04/18/2018 at 09:54

      I also have ADT and my contract is expiring a few days after my move out date so this information is useful. I suppose I should have read the fine print, but I assumed that the contract would cancel when the contract expires. Thank you for the help.

      • 05/08/2018 at 10:08

        Many companies (Vivint, Monitronics and some ADT Dealers) have autorenewal on the final month of the contract unless cancalled by the customer. So if you did a 36 month agreement, on the 35th it would renew unless you previously called it. It's a dirty tactic in our eyes, luckily the renewal is only 1 year in most cases but make sure to mark ahead in your calendars if you plan on cancelling your monitoring service!

Leave a Comment

Share This