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CPI Security Review 2019: What To Know Before Buying Services

CPI Security provides professionally installed, professionally monitored home security systems. They offer cellular monitoring with month-to-month contracts and long-term contracts to customers who finance their equipment. They offer their services to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Atlanta, GA residents.

Monitoring Type: Professional
Install Type: Professional

Pros

  • Wireless Equipment & Cellular Monitoring
  • Month-to-Month Contract Option
  • No False Alarm Guarantee

Cons

  • Limited Service Area Availability
  • No Return Period
  • Long-Term Contracts

The Good

CPI Security provides high quality equipment backed by professional monitoring using cellular communication. They also offer extra services like SmartPay (financing) and Service Plus (warranty).

The Bad

CPI Security's service area is limited, so if you move, you'll need to search for a new alarm provider. They also require a long-term contract if you don't pay for your equipment upfront and there's no return period.

Bottom Line

CPI Security is a solid option for North Carolina, South Carolina, and greater Atlanta area residents, but their lack of certain policies, like return policy, is questionable. Nevertheless, they offer high-quality equipment and their monitoring service seems reliable.

Who's It For?

CPI Security is for homeowners and renters alike. They offer wireless equipment, which is preferred by many homeowners and perfect for renters because there's no need to drill walls or hardwire anything to a security box. They also offer cellular monitoring, which works without landline or internet.

CPI Security is also an ideal option for those looking for a security system that can alert the cops, fire department, and medical responders. Because CPI Security monitors for burglaries, fire, and medical emergencies, they can dispatch the police, fire department, and paramedics.

CPI Security Sales Process

Before you can get started with CPI Security's monitoring services, you'll need to go through their sales process and buy an equipment package. The equipment package you choose will dictate your monthly monitoring rate.

Details about CPI Security's equipment packages are available online, but unfortunately, you can't shop directly from their website. You must either leave your contact details using a form or call CPI Security's sales hotline. Either way, a sales rep will discuss your options and then give you a quote.

What's notable is that you have two payment term options. You can either:

  1. pay the full price of your equipment package upfront and get a month-to-month contract or
  2. Pay for your equipment in installments and receive a long-term contract equivalent to the payment term you've chosen.

With a month-to-month contract, you can cancel your service anytime. Simply give CPI Security an advance notice and you're without any obligation to continue using their service. On the other hand, having your equipment financed will tie you down with a long-term contract. You can still cancel your service anytime, but you'll need to pay a penalty of sorts.

The good news is that unlike most alarm companies, the penalty isn't based on the number of months remaining on your contract which is essentially like paying for service you won't end up using. CPI Security calls their financing scheme Smart Pay, which has an account login where you can monitor your equipment balance. That said, you can convert your long-term contract to a month-to-month contract anytime by simply paying your equipment balance in advance. Once you're on a month-to-month contract, you can cancel your service anytime without any further penalty.

CPI Security Equipment Review

Equipment Packages

CPI Security offers three equipment packages: inTouch Essentials, inTouch Essentials Plus, and inTouch Edge.

inTouch is the name of CPI Security's hardware brand, but the products aren't made by CPI Security but made for CPI Security by Alarm.com, Qolsys, and several other partner manufacturers.

inTouch Essentials is for basic home security. It includes a control panel with a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, a motion sensor, and three door/window sensors.

inTouch Essentials Plus builds on Essentials and includes a tablet-like control panel with a 7-inch touchscreen display (inTouch Smart Hub), a motion sensor, three door/window sensors, a smoke alarm, and an inTouch doorbell camera, which is essentially a SkyBell Slim.

inTouch Edge includes the same components as Essentials Plus but with the addition of a smart lock and an indoor camera.

All three equipment packages include smartphone access via the inTouch App and professional monitoring, although the monthly rate varies depending on your package.

Installation

Once you've chosen your equipment, a CPI Security technician will come to your home to perform the installation and activation of the system. This step is required because CPI Security doesn't allow DIY installation. They believe that proper professional installation is one of the keys to preventing false alarms. On that note, if a false alarm occurs due to improper installation done by them or due to device malfunction, CPI Security will refund any false alarm penalty incurred to you by the local authorities. You'll need to pay the penalty first yourself and then show CPI Security the receipt and they will credit the same amount to your account after a brief investigation.

The good news is professional installation is free. You only need to show proof of ownership, verified permission letter signed by property owner (for renters). Security camera, smart lock, and thermostat installation, however, are not fully covered by the free installation.

Devices That Control

As you may have noticed, CPI Security's equipment packages are built around a control panel. inTouch Essentials includes an older control panel with a touchscreen display (which is essentially the 2GIG Go!Control 2 Panel) while inTouch Essentials Plus and inTouch Edge includes inTouch Smart Hub, a newer full-touchscreen control panel (Qolsys IQ Panel 2).

Both control panels have battery backup, built-in 85dB siren, and cellular connectivity. However, inTouch Smart Hub (or Qolsys IQ Panel 2) is better overall because it has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, a camera, and glass break sensor. It also has a more intuitive touch control that includes finger swipes and one-touch arming. The glass break sensor and the camera are added for security. The built-in glass break sensor means one less glass break sensor to purchase, while the camera lets you monitor who has disarmed your system using the control panel. Everytime the system is disarmed, it snaps a photo and sends it to you via email.

Aside from the control panels, CPI Security offers add-on components: a remote key fob and a medical emergency button. The remote key fob has four buttons that triggers disarming, Arm Home, Arm Away, and panic mode functions. When in panic mode, the monitoring center is alerted and they will send police dispatch right away. The medical alert button, on the other hand, only has a single button that you can use to call for help during a medical emergency situation.

Security Sensors

Each equipment package comes with three door/window sensors and a motion sensor that are used for monitoring entryways and detecting any unexpected movement. In addition, CPI Security sells a glass break sensor and a recessed door sensor.

The recessed door sensor has the same function as the door/window sensor, but instead of being installed on the door, it is flush mounted into the door jamb. It triggers when the door loses contact with the jamb, which causes a small button on the sensor to be released.

We've already talked about the glass break sensor built into the control panel, and the add-on glass break sensor essentially does the same. It's best installed on a wall across the a glass door or window you want monitored.

Life Safety Sensors

inTouch Essentials Plus and inTouch Edge both include a smoke sensor that is linked to the professional monitoring service. If smoke is detected, it sends a fire alarm to the monitoring center so they can dispatch firefighters.

CPI Security also sells a professionally monitored carbon dioxide detector and a self-monitored leak sensor. The carbon monoxide detector alerts you of the toxic carbon monoxide gas and if the level is too high, it can generate a request for medical responder dispatch. The leak sensor, on the other hand, doesn't send alerts to the monitoring center, but it will warn you if water is detected. It's designed to be placed under sinks, in the basement, near tubs, and other places where water leakage or flooding is imminent.

Security Cameras

For further security, CPI Security offers security cameras. In total, they offer six security camera products: two indoor cameras, two outdoor cameras, and two video doorbells. They also offer a recording device.

The first indoor camera is a webcam-like camera with a fix-angled lens. It can stream audio and video and record alarm events. The second indoor camera is a bit more advanced. Although it doesn't pan or tilt, it has a 180-degree lens which allows it to see way more than the other camera. It also has a one-touch call button. If a family member touches the top of the camera, it will call your smartphone. Lastly, it has a built-in Bluetooth speaker. It's more than just a camera, it can also stream music from your phone or computer.

The outdoor cameras share a lot of the same features as the basic indoor camera, but they come in two designs. The first variant is a dome-shaped outdoor camera designed to be mounted upside-down on eaves or porch ceilings. The second variant is a more rugged bullet-type camera that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Finally, CPI Security offers two video doorbells. The first video doorbell is the SkyBell HD. It's a round-shaped doorbell with a 720p resolution, colored night vision, and motion detection. The second video doorbell is SkyBell Slim. It's newer than SkyBell HD and it sports a slimmer design. It also offers a higher resolution.

All six cameras support cloud recording, wherein they send event recordings to the cloud. If they detect motion (they all have motion sensors), they will record a short clip and forward it to a remote cloud server for safekeeping. However, CPI Security only allows up to four security camera products per account. If you want to add more security cameras, they will increase your monthly rate. Also, installation of outdoor cameras isn't included in CPI Security's free professional installation.

CPI Security also offers a network video recorder. It can store up to 30 days of videos and stream to your phone or smart TV. It works with the indoor and outdoor cameras, but not the video doorbells.

Home Automation

Besides security and life safety equipment, CPI Security offers home automation devices. One example is the smart lock included in the inTouch Edge package. It's keyless and instead has a touchscreen keypad.

CPI also offers a smart thermostat made by Alarm.com, a smart light/appliance module, and a garage door controller.

CPI Security Monitoring Review

As mentioned earlier, your monitoring plan is decided by the equipment package you choose. In order, from the cheapest to the most expensive:

  • inTouch Essentials
  • inTouch Essentials Plus
  • inTouch Edge

It's unclear, based on the information available online, what the differences are between the three monitoring plans. However, CPI does provide information on what's included in their monitoring services.

All-Inclusive Monitoring

CPI Security offers intrusion, fire, and medical emergency monitoring with police, fire department, and paramedic dispatch. How does the monitoring center know what kind of help to send? They base the decision on what device sent the alert. If it's a security sensor, the cops will be dispatched. If it's a smoke alarm, the fire department is called. If the medical alert button or carbon monoxide sensor is triggered, medical help is sent. That said, you must have the right equipment to fully enjoy their all-inclusive monitoring service.

Cellular Monitoring

CPI Security uses cellular monitoring on all of their monitoring plans. It's the monitoring method we recommend because it's fast, wireless, and reliable, unlike landline monitoring that can be disabled by cutting your phone lines or broadband monitoring that is dependent on your internet connection. With cellular monitoring, the signal is reliable in most cases and there are no wires to cut. Broadband monitoring is faster in terms of raw speed, but cellular monitoring isn't far behind.

Mobile App Access

Also included in all monitoring plans is mobile app access. Users can use the inTouch App to control, monitor, and customize their security systems. The app also generates push notifications when a component or sensor detects a possible intrusion, fire, or medical emergency.

Long-Term & Month-to-Month Contract

One thing that sets apart CPI Security apart from its competition is the way it offers service contracts.

Optional: Service Plus Program

All equipment sold by CPI Security are covered by a 1-year warranty, but you can extend the warranty and gain additional benefits with the Service Plus Program. The catch is that there's an extra charge added on top of your monthly bill.

With Service Plus, you get free replacement parts and installation on your CPI Security System affected by normal wear and tear. You will also get free quality control inspections upon request with no additional charge whatsoever. The free replacement parts offer excludes battery replacements, damages caused by acts of God, fire, flooding, vandalism, and any instances CPI Security can't prevent, and repairs or installations related to home repairs or renovations. Emergency repairs outside normal service hours are also not free, but you will only be charged $75 instead of the standard rate of $150. CPI Security's normal service hours are Mondays to Thursdays from 8AM to 9PM and Fridays and Saturdays between 8AM and 5PM.

Take note that you can only add Service Plus at the time of purchase of equipment and monitoring services. Once you cancel the service, you can't add it back. Unfortunately, the cost is undisclosed.

Customer Service Review

The quality of customer service has a strong effect on the overall customer experience, so it's only vital that you add it to your considerations. How does being a CPI Security customer feel like? We don't have first-hand experience, but we've read enough customer reviews to give you an idea.

Customer Support

Customer support is available through different channels. You can call their customer support line, contact them through email, or reach them through one of their social media accounts. Their phone line is available 24/7. Basic and commonly asked questions are also addressed to in CPI Security's FAQ page.

We would say that calling them is the most efficient way to speak with a customer support representative, and based on customer reviews, most customer support agents are courteous, professional, and helpful. Their A+ BBB.org rating also seems to agree with the customer reviews, and so does their 4-star customer rating on both BBB.org and ConsumerAffairs.com.

Policies & Guarantees

“No False Alarm” Guarantee

CPI Security requires professional installation, and the reason for that is they believe it will help prevent false alarms. That said, if there's a false alarm where the cop were called and you were charged a false alarm penalty, CPI Security will refund the full amount by crediting it to your monthly bill.

Moving Policy

Other companies will let you move your equipment and transfer your monitoring service, no questions asked. However, with CPI Security, the process is a little more complicated. CPI Security recently restructured their contract and policies. Those who signed a contract prior to July 2014 weren't affected by the restructuring, so they get the old moving policy.

If older customers are relocating to a new address within CPI Security's service area, they can move the service but they can't move the system. This means they need a new system at their new place. If they have completed less than 24 months of their initial contract, there's no penalty. If they haven't been with the company for at least 24 months, there's a one-time transfer fee.

New customers have slightly better options. You can keep the system and have it installed in your new home if you're on a month-to-month contract and has already paid for the equipment in full. You may also leave your current system and build a new one in your new place. Those who are on a long-term contract, on the other hand, need to pay for the equipment in full, but they still might not be able to transfer the equipment. There's a chance that CPI Security will require them to buy a new system, either under Smart Pay (financing) or by paying up-front. This is, by no means, customer-friendly, so we advise against choosing CPI Security if you're anticipating a move in the next 39 to 60 months.

As for those who are relocating outside CPI Security's service area, their service is automatically cancelled but there is a cancellation fee. There's a 70% contract buyout for those who move within the initial contract term. They must also pay the remaining equipment balance. If this happens to you and you're under SmartPay, the smartest move is to pay the equipment balance (so you can switch to a month-to-month contract) and then cancel the service once your initial contract is voided.

Return Policy

CPI Security's return policy, or lack thereof, is not customer friendly. Customers are only given a Right of Rescission, which is only applicable up to three days after the sale. After that, there's no turning back. Although you can cancel the monitoring service anytime if you're on a month-to-month contract, you'll still lose hundreds of dollars on the equipment that is tied to CPI Security's monitoring service.

Warranty

On the brighter side, CPI Security offers a limited one-year warranty on replacement parts and 90 days warranty on labor. For example, if within 90 days after the installation a component starts to malfunction due to improper installation, the technician will come back to fix it free of charge. Service repairs beyond the warranty period, however, will be charged at the standard Time & Material rate.

There's also the Service Plus Warranty, discussed above, that extends the warranty period and inclusion, but it comes with a monthly fee.

Early Termination

Finally, the most dreaded topic regarding alarm company policies: cancellation of service. We've touched on this briefly above, so consider this a refresher course.

If you're a month-to-month contract, either because you've paid the equipment in full or because your initial contract term has ended, you're free to cancel anytime without any penalty. Simply give CPI Security an early notice.

If you're under Smart Pay financing services, you must pay your equipment balance. Once you do that, you'll be switched to a month-to-month contract and you can cancel without any penalty.

Take note, however, that CPI Security disables the system once you cancel the service, rendering it useless. The bottom line? You end up with a non-functional security system you fully paid for.

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