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Calgary senior says alarm company won’t cancel dead husband’s contract

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A Calgary senior says she's being threatened by an alarm company over a broken system that is costing her thousands of dollars and keeping her up at night.

Uma Kar says her husband signed up for a Safety Alarm security system for their Douglasdale home before he passed away in 2022.

The company's website says it is "one of the fastest-growing security companies in Alberta" and provides "peace of mind" to its clients – but Kar's experience has been anything but peaceful.

Kar says the security system's alarm started ringing randomly with no apparent trigger about a month ago.

"The first morning, it was 7:30 a.m. that the alarm went off," she said. "After that, it (started) happening every two or three days. It happened at 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m., 6:30 a.m. The latest one was 9:30 a.m.  and I was still sleeping my bed."

The senior says each and every time, she's been terrified, climbing out of bed to grab a phone and call her son, worried someone may be breaking in.

She also says each and every time, Safety Alarm has failed to act.

Kar says there has been no phone call to make sure she is alright, or follow-up after the alarm quiets down.

"I get up and check my living room and my door (to see if) someone broke into my house," Kar told CTV News through tears. "That's all I can do. It's so hard."

After weeks of trying to get through to the company, the widow says they did eventually send a technician.

Kar called the visit "useless."

"He looked at the device and left," she said. "'Nothing wrong, I see,' he said."

So, Kar went to cancel the entire package.

That was one call that was answered.

"When I told him that, he got so mad," Kar said. "He was yelling at me on the phone. He said 'you cannot do that. I have to take you to collection and put a lien on your house.'"

Kar says the company told her that her deceased husband signed a contract that had to be honoured and gave her a vague timeline of when she could cancel the "services."

The argument had her shaken.

"It's not fair. How the hell can he tell me I can't get out of this? We never had any issue with any bad credit in my life."

'F' Rated

While its website advertises efficient, personalized service, Safety Alarm's online reviews suggest something entirely different.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) customers complain of similar situations to Kar's: automatic renewals, credit threats and poor customer service are all mentioned on the BBB's website.

The southern Alberta BBB president says it's not accredited and is "F-rated."

"Businesses need to be responsive, they need to be advertising honestly, they need to be licensed," Mary O'Sullivan-Andersen said. "There's a number of different variables that go into a rating, and right now, they're low in every (category)."

The BBB website lists David Ohad and Lior Leibovich as Safety Alarm's business management.

Kar's son Ramit says he has tried to reach both men.

"I left voicemail after voicemail after voicemail," he said. "No response. I went to their office in Calgary and the receptionist at the business centre said, 'Those guys haven't been here for two years.'"

CTV News called and emailed the company asking for a response to Kar's allegations.

This article will be updated if and when we hear back.

Next steps

Kar says she's called her bank to cut off automatic payments to Safety Alarm.

She doesn't know what the company's next move will be.

"It has to be stopped," Kar said.

"I'm shocked that in 2024 there's some company that still continues to exist and is taking advantage of seniors and widows," her son added.

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