- Office of the Attorney General
Media Contact for AG Campbell Announces $6.5 Million Settlement With Home Security Company for Improperly Charging Consumers on Auto Renewal Contracts
BOSTON — Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell today announced that her office has reached a $6.5 million settlement, including $4.7 million in debt relief, with a Connecticut-based home security services company and its CEO to resolve allegations that they violated state consumer protection laws by deceptively trapping Massachusetts consumers in long-term auto renewal contracts and engaging in illegal debt collection practices. The settlement builds on AG Campbell’s commitment to build economic stability for residents by holding accountable those who engage in predatory business practices.
The consent judgment, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that Safe Home Security, its sister companies, and CEO David G. Roman, employed alleged deceptive tactics to prevent consumers from canceling their contracts, charged consumers for services when their systems were not working and engaged in aggressive and illegal debt collection practices, in violation of G.L. c. 93A and the AG’s Debt Collection Regulations.
“My office will always advocate for consumers, especially when they are preyed on by a company that engages in unfair and unlawful business practices,” said AG Campbell. “We were able to hold Safe Home Security and its sister companies accountable for their alleged deceptive tactics, securing millions in debt relief for consumers, and we will continue to hold bad actors accountable.”
The settlement resolves a lawsuit the AG’s Office brought against the company in December 2019. The AG’s Office began investigating the company after receiving more than 100 complaints from Massachusetts consumers. Upon filing the complaint, the AG’s Office immediately sought and obtained a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the company from engaging in misconduct, such as illegally charging consumers, while the lawsuit was pending. The AG’s Office amended the complaint in 2021 to include related companies, Security Systems, Inc., Safe Home Monitoring, Inc. and National Protective Services, Inc., as defendants and include additional allegations.
The amended complaint alleged that the defendants violated state consumer protection laws by employing unfair practices designed to trap consumers in their contracts including: failing to cancel contracts when consumers submitted timely written cancelation requests, misinforming consumers about the requirements needed to cancel and steering consumers into contract renewal rather than cancellation. The AG’s Office additionally alleged that Safe Home Security had also billed and collected from consumers during periods of time in which the company’s services were not being provided due to malfunctioning or inoperable systems. Safe Home’s actions are alleged to have impacted thousands of Massachusetts consumers.
The AG’s Office also alleged that Safe Home Security engaged in aggressive and illegal debt collection practices against consumers that fell behind on payments. This includes excessive debt collection calls, sending letters that did not contain notices of consumers’ rights as is legally required and threats to report damaging information about consumers’ credit.
Under the settlement, Safe Home Security will be required to pay $1.8 million and to waive and forgive $4.7 million of outstanding debt. Safe Home Security has also agreed to make significant changes to its business practices including coming into compliance with the AG’s Debt Collection Regulations, crediting consumers whose non-functioning systems it cannot repair, implementing new complaint procedures for consumers and permitting existing consumers to cancel their contracts by telephone.
Safe Home Security has also committed to revising the terms of its contracts by changing auto-renewal terms from annual to month-to-month, removing a clause in its contracts that caused future charges to become due immediately upon default and disclosing key terms in its contracts in a size 12 bold font – including monitoring charges, contract term, auto-renewal provisions, cancellation policies and procedures, late fees and other costs.
The AG’s Consumer Protection Division enforces laws to protect consumers from fraud, deception and other unfair business practices. Consumers are encouraged to call the AG’s consumer hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint with the office if they think they have been victimized by a business.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Schuyler Daum and Mercy Cover, Paralegal Noah Kopf, and Division Chief Shennan Kavanagh, all of the AG’s Consumer Protection Division, with assistance from Senior Financial Investigator Colleen Frost of the AG’s Civil Investigations Division.