Inactive security system account leaves senior on floor for three hours
Son cautions people to be aware of door-to-door sales claims
Yvette Lafortune found herself the victim of bad timing; the 77-year-old signed up for a new security system only to fall and end up lying on the bathroom floor for nearly three hours with her medical alarm ringing and no one responding.
Albert Lafortune, Yvette’s son, said he and his family wanted their mother to have a security system largely for its medical alarms, because she has heart, lungs and knee problems. “It gave me that extra sense of security for her,” he said.
Yvette signed up to use the American security system, First Pinnacle Alarm or Vigilon Security, more than a year ago, he said, but this past month, she had a visit from a door-to-door salesperson from Liberty Security Systems out of Edmonton. According to Albert, she was told that Liberty was taking over Vigilon, and that she had to switch her security system, which she did.
But she was not told by the salesperson that there would be a gap between the time of installation and the time the security system account would be active, he said. On July 19, about a week after the installation, her son came to visit her in the morning. “The alarms were going off like crazy,” he said, adding he shut everything down.
“I heard my mom yelling and I found her on the bathroom floor,” he said. Albert phoned 911 and the monitoring company, Reliance Protectron, but was told that since the security system account was still inactive, the company was not able to respond. Yvette was taken to St. Paul hospital, and later that day transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
“I said my goodbye in the ambulance, not expecting to see her again,” said Albert, who said the outlook for his mother looked grim. After her fall, she experienced kidney failure, and is still in intensive care at the Royal Alex, according to her son.
Shortly after this episode, he received information from First Pinnacle Alarm/Vigilon Security that people from other alarm companies were targeting current Vigilon customers in the area. In the letter, the company stated that the following claims customers may have heard are untrue, including that “First Pinnacle Alarm or Vigilon Security is out of business” and that “Another company is ‘working with’, ‘teamed up’, or ‘taking over’ your account.”
The information clarified that Vigilon is not affiliated with or partnered with any other company.
“I was feeling bad already – I was grieving,” he said. After he saw this letter, he became very upset, and he and his family decided to alert people to be aware of claims from door-to-door salespeople for security companies. “I can’t turn the clock back and help my mom, but I can do this.”
Russell Keddie, managing partner and one of the owners for Liberty Systems, confirmed, “There’s a gap between the time we install the system and all the information is given back to our office and entered with Reliance Protectron. They will go over all the accuracy of the data and then activate the account.” This can take anywhere from a couple of days to 10 business days.
“We should be telling all the customers that the delay can occur,” Keddie said. This information is on the contract as well, he said.
As for any claims that Liberty was taking over Vigilon, he clarified that salespeople should be telling people that Liberty is a separate company. Liberty gives people a “local choice,” he said.
He presumed either the salesperson in question misspoke or the customer misunderstood, saying as an accredited member of the Canadian Security Association, the company adheres to “a pretty strict code of conduct.”
Keddie also noted that it was “unfortunate” Yvette Lafortune’s accident happened shortly after the system was switched over. “It was not great timing.”
On its website, the Canadian Security Association does provide recommendations for people receiving visits from door-to-door salespeople, suggesting, among other things, that people should take the time to research companies offering security systems and to always get a minimum of three quotes.
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