Why The Monitoring Center Isn’t As Cheap As You ThinkBy - 01/05/2016
The Monitoring Center, like other alarm companies, offers a flashy introductory price. For only $9.99 per month, they can provide 24/7 monitoring to customers in Ontario, BC, California, and Florida. Is there a catch? Kind of, and kind of not.
The Monitoring Center is a legitimate alarm company. They truly offer a $9.99 per month package, and they have a decent online reputation that backs up their A+ rating with the BBB. However, it is difficult to find out what exactly is and is not included in the $9.99 per month price. So what is included?
1. 24/7 Burglary, Fire, CO, and/or Medical Monitoring
2. Monitoring via Compatible Existing Equipment
3. Monitoring is Done Using a Phone Line
The catch is that monitoring is done using your existing phone line. If you don’t already have a phone line, adding one can really up your monthly utility cost. VOIP options are often more economical, but The Monitoring Center has an additional charge for VOIP and they do not guarantee compatibility with all VOIP providers.
Landline Monitoring is Old Technology
While $9.99 per month for landline monitoring is a legitimate offer, landline monitoring is obsolete and not the most secure form of monitoring. First of all, any semi-enterprising burglar can defeat a landline security system by cutting the wires using a $4 pair of wire cutters. Second, you want a signal that will remain strong during natural disasters and power outages.
The most secure and safest form of alarm monitoring is called cellular monitoring. The Monitoring Center does offer cellular monitoring, but they charge a fee for this service, and they can only do it using a Cellular Backup (GSM) unit. Adding cellular monitoring to the Monitoring Center plan not only adds to the monthly fee, but it adds to your upfront equipment fee. It’s also important to note that they can’t provide true cellular monitoring, only cellular backup monitoring.
The Real TCO
I think the best way to show you the TCO is by comparing The Monitoring Center to one of our top recommended companies, Link Interactive.
The Real Cost of The Monitoring Center
|Base Monthly Fee||$9.99||$34.99|
|Cellular Upcharge||$15.00 / mo||$0.00 / mo|
|Smartphone Control Access Upcharge||Included in $15 upcharge.||$0.00 / mo|
|Active Alerts Upcharge||Included in $15 upcharge.||$0.00 / month|
|TOTAL MONTHLY FEE||$24.99||$34.99|
|Equipment Fee as Outlined Below||$639.97||$97.00|
|TOTAL EQUIPMENT AND ACTIVATION OUT OF POCKET||$939.95||$97.00|
|Cellular Chip or Backup|
|# Door/Window Sensors||2||2|
|Other Included Sensors||Motion Sensor||Motion Sensor and
|Text and Email Alerts|
|Technician Install Time||2-5 hours||NA|
|Product Warranty||2 Years||2 Years|
|Return Period||Unknown||30 day
|Contract Length||1 Year||1 or 3 years|
|Get Quote||Get Quote|
The Monitoring Center Upcharges Explained
In addition to cellular backup monitoring, The Monitoring Center has several other upcharges.
Active Alarm Monitoring – $5.00 per month
For $5.00 per month, The Monitoring Center offers a service called Active Alarm Monitoring. This service allows The Monitoring Center to make your sensors more interactive. Any time a sensor monitors activity, like “front door open”, The Monitoring Center will log the activity and email you a report weekly or monthly.
Remote Security Services – $15.00 per month
Remote Security Service makes alerts more interactive. Through this service, you can set up instant email or text alerts. To use this add-on, you must buy an upgraded alarm panel (unless you already own one) and upgraded monitoring. Mirella, a sales manager for The Monitoring Center, contacted us to add that the Remote Security Service includes active alerts and cellular back-up, so if these features are all important to you, Remote Security is the way to go.
Remote Home Automation – $5.00 per month
Through The Monitoring Center, you can add home automation. Again, you must own or buy the upgraded panel and pay the add-on fee. The upgraded panel has a Z-Wave controller, which is a common home automation language. By adding this feature, you can control lights, locks, and your home’s temperature. As a side note, you can purchase a Z-Wave controller separately and this may be a better option. The team at The Monitoring Center can help you decide how to use your equipment in the most efficient manner.
The Monitoring Center has other upcharge options, which you can learn about on their website.
Is The Monitoring Center Good?
The Monitoring Center is a good fit if you live in their limited geographic range, don’t plan to move, have your own equipment that is compatible, and want to use landline monitoring. Otherwise, the price starts to shoot up more than (or at least equal to) the competition.
With Link, you get a dependable nationwide provider and lower upfront fees. Yes, The Monitoring Center has a lower price with their 1-year contract option, but with a 3-year contract Link lets you save around $500 your first year (depending on the type of equipment you buy). Also, Link has been in business for over 60 years, and they cover a greater portion of the country. If you need to move, Link will let you move for free. With other companies, you often face a buyout penalty if you move to an area where they do not provide coverage.