False Alarms and a Dose of Reality

February 26, 2008 7:43:17 PM PST
The complaints stem from an elaborate operation involving door to door sales people, and promises of a role in a Reality TV Show.These are the alarm systems that many people in the Central Valley bought into. Many Firstline Security customers say they are waiting for answers, more are coming forward.

Others are still being billed even though the company has filed for bankruptcy.

"This is some set up here."

The Tiscareno family of Fresno spent Tuesday dismantling the Firstline Security System they say never worked.

"I don't even know if it was hooked up."

After our story first aired twelve days ago, Tracy Tiscareno sent a letter to Firstline demanding they remove the alarm system, so far no response.

Tracy Tiscareno, Fresno Resident: "I'm still in limbo waiting trying to get them out. I told my husband don't want their stuff in my house anymore. I don't want their alarm I don't want their yard sign in my yard. I want you to take it all up and if I have to take it to the post office and send it back in pieces, then that's what I'll do."

Aileen Spann is fuming after receiving her latest bank statement she was charged $44.95 once again, even though the system isn't being monitored and Firstline has filed for bankruptcy.

Aileen Spann, Fresno Resident: "It just makes me feel all the more angry. To think they're lying to me. They are still taking away from me. It's been proved that they are a fraud. It just isn't my word, it's everybody that's dealt with them."

We tried calling Firstline ourselves, this recording is all we got.

"Please select one of the following six options to identify the reason for your call and leave a short message."

When we called the billing department, the answering service transferred to a line that automatically hangs up.

Last summer college students from around the nation landed in Fresno to sell home security systems to residents throughout the Central Valley.

This video was used at several universities to recruit the students.

"Door to door sales, four grueling months, all going head to head for the grand prize of one million dollars."

The students were told they would be on a reality show called "The Prodigy". That never happened.

During our investigation some students admitted they lied to customers to seal the deals.

Colin Greenbauer, Arizona Student: "We Were Told To Tell People We Were Not Salespeople. We Were Going To Provide Them A Free Home Security System."

Firstline Security has since filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. That hasn't halted complaints coming into the Better Business Bureau.

Manuel Garcia, Better Business Bureau: "In the last two weeks we've received an increase of 16 complaints against the company. We've been sending all of the complaints to the company through email as a formal complaint addressing all the issues, whether they're billing, customer service, whatever the issue is."

Better Business employees are having a hard time getting answers too. The only way they are getting any response from Firstline is through written correspondence.

To date 38 complaints have gone unanswered, and 26 more are unresolved meaning customers did not get results that they felt were satisfactory.

Our calls and messages to Firstline Security have gone unanswered.


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