Seniors warned of scam

Platinum Security may be protecting this home on Paine Street, but right now its occupants, who did not want to be photographed, just feel ripped off. - Photo by Kevin Heckman

A local senior on a fixed income is stuck with a home security system she says she does not want, and wouldn’t have purchased if not for the persuasiveness of a slick salesperson.

Elderly Paine Avenue resident Adeline Cervone was visited by a representative of Platinum Security, a Provo, Utah-based company, and sold a security system with a long-term contract.

Cervone said she does not really want the security system, was never shown how to properly use it, and feels that she was fed a sales-pitch too vigorous and overpowering. 

“The sale happened so fast, I didn’t realize what was happening,” Cervone noted, explaining that the salesman discussed an increase in break-ins in the community and other fear-inducing statistics designed to get the senior to sign up for the security. 

“My next-door neighbor John looked at the contract, which I didn’t even have time to read,” she added.  

The contract Cervone signed was for five years, charging $50 a month plus additional charges for the system, which was installed in one day –the same day as the sale — at the home she shares with her sister Lucy.

In order to discontinue the long contract, Cervone would have to pay for 80% of the months during which she will not be using the security system, likely totaling over $2,000.

“The fees to get out of this contract are astronomical,” Cervone said. “I am so disgusted with the whole thing. It is frustrating, and it makes you feel terrible knowing someone can do this to you.”

An as yet unidentified Platinum’s salesman walked up to the Cervone residence, never having met either Cervone or her sister, and proceeded to extol them both in the virtues of the security system.

The contract only allowed a three-day trial period before becoming fully effective for the next five years.  Cervone feels the three-day trial period is unfair and should have been lengthened, believing the short term is actually a way to trap residents into the contract. 

Councilman Jimmy Vacca feels it is a form of elder abuse and is warning other seniors to be on the look out for such scams. 

“Scams are a big part of elder abuse,” said Vacca. “I have a bill pending providing for elder abuse training for all senior citizen center directors. Often, elder abuse centers on financial matters.”

Cervone’s neighbor John Roller reached out to elected officials in the area.

“It is really a shame that the salespeople from Platinum Security come in an unsolicited way and use fear tactics and phrases to stir up worry,” Roller observed. “I looked at the contract and it was totally unscrupulous. Now my neighbors are stuck with a machine which makes noises that are disturbing to them.”

A spokesperson from Platinum Security, Jared Hawkins, promised to send someone to the site to work with Cervone and address her concerns.

“Adeline Cervone is definitely one of our customers,” Hawkins confirmed. “We have contacted her, but have yet to get any specifics, other than that it is too expensive. We definitely want to get the problem fixed, and make them happy customers. One of our executives will visit there next week.”

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