Everyone wants to feel safe in their home, no one wants to worry that their house might be broken into in the dead of the night. So it’s no surprise that a lot of families are looking at getting extra home security for their home. Things like CCTV, even getting better doors that will help deter people from forced entry (a lot of people have started researching about windows and doors laminated glass to help with this). But then the one common thing that people are after though is a home monitoring system. But it’s not always so easy getting the right one for your home. Boca Raton, Florida-based ADT, maker of home security systems, misled consumers by misrepresenting that paid endorsements from safety and technology experts were “independent” reviews, said the Federal Trade Commission Thursday in announcing a proposed settlement with ADT.
These reviewers were, in fact, paid spokespeople who were promoting ADT Pulse, a home monitoring system. One endorser was paid $200,000.
These reviewers demonstrated and reviewed the product on NBC’s Today Show, and other television and radio news programs and talk shows across the country, and in blogs and other online material.
In the FTC’s administrative complaint, it is charged that ADT misrepresented that the reviews were independent, and failed to disclose that the experts were being paid by ADT to promote the Pulse system.
“It’s hard for consumers to make good buying decisions when they think they’re getting independent expert advice as part of an impartial news segment and have no way of knowing they are actually watching a sales pitch,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When a paid endorser appears in a news or talk show segment with the host of that program, the relationship with the advertiser must be clearly disclosed.”
ADT paid three spokespersons, including a child safety expert, a home security expert, and a technology expert, more than $300,000 to promote the ADT Pulse, with one spokesperson receiving more than $200,000.
Two of those spokespersons also received a free ADT Pulse security system, valued at approximately $4,000, and free monthly monitoring service, according to the complaint. In exchange, the spokespersons appeared on more than 40 different television and radio programs nationwide and posted blogs and other material online.
The proposed settlement between the FTC and ADT:
- prohibits ADT from misrepresenting that any discussion or demonstration of a security or monitoring product or service is an independent review provided by an impartial expert;
- requires ADT to clearly and prominently disclose, in connection with the advertising of a home security or monitoring product or service, a material connection, if one exists, between an endorser and the company; and
- requires the company to promptly remove reviews and endorsements that have been misrepresented as independently provided by an impartial expert or that fail to disclose a material connection between ADT and an endorser.