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Do I have to use the same company to decommission a security alarm in Canberra?

By bec452 - 12 July 2011 12

I have just cancelled my back to base monitoring alarm service & have been informed by the company that I have to have it decommissioned…..at a cost of course!

The reason for cancelling the service was because I felt the alarm company was ripping me off and therefore would prefer to pay someone else to decommission it (instead of giving the dirty crooks any more of my money).

Who do I call for this? Electrician? Telco company?

Also, roughly how much should it cost?

Any help would be appreciated.

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Do I have to use the same company to decommission a security alarm in Canberra?
wildturkeycanoe 9:24 pm 12 Jul 11

From my experience with fire and alarm systems, the phone line is usually connected in a fashion that if a phone or fax machine is connected elsewhere in the house, the alarm system overrides it [sort of like a photocopy/fax machine taking over the phone you’re talking on]. This means that all the phone lines in the house go through the alarm system before they get to the outside.
To fix it —
1- You must open the alarm system box to get to the connection points – unfortunately for you, for security reasons they make this box quite hard to get in to [key or breaker bar required].
2- depending on how the phone lines are wired, you might need a telecoms technician [mate of a mate?] to do some re-wiring of the phone lines to get it back to normal. The reason for this is that when originally installed, the security system is the first device connected to the house’s phone wiring, in order that it will override any other devices such as internet, phone, etc. in the event of an alarm. So by unplugging the security system, you are actually unplugging everything else in the house.
It’s a pain in the A~$e, especially in a rental where the security system is in the name of the previous tenant or landlord. Last time we had one in a rental, it took 6 months before we worked out what the daily 50c phone calls were about, and another couple of weeks to work out how to stop them. I had to do some re-wiring of the phone system to get the internet connected but it was worth the hassle. Good luck, hope you know a telecoms person to help you out [note – I know how, but not currently registered to do so].
P.S. I think the alarm system belongs to the owner, but couldn’t be sure of that. Maybe the decommission charge is purely for the other work mentioned above.

JC 9:21 pm 12 Jul 11

Cutting the phone line as suggested is not a very good idea. Alarms use what is called a mode 3 socket which means your other outlets go through this socket and hence the alarm system. This is done so that the alarm can still call out even of a thief has taken the phone off hook. Cutting the cable will also cut your normal line too.

The correct thing to do is to unplug the phone cable (the socket should be inside the controller). Whilst there you could also remove the battery and disconnect the AC thus decommissioning the thing yourself.

M0les 9:18 pm 12 Jul 11

Of course: “Depends on the alarm”, but…

Usually when operated stand-alone they are still very effective.

Just “cutting the phone line” may not be such a good idea as often the phone line runs both in and out of the alarm before reaching your handsets (So it can cut-in to live calls for emergency call-outs). Usually you can just disconnect the ye-olde giant 5-pin “telecom” plug inside the main unit (the socket of which is designed to re-route the in/out lines when unplugged). Note also that opening the cabinet door will probably trigger the alarm-delay (“beep beep beep beep!”), so get limber to mash your code into the control-pad and sharpish!

I did this with mine mainly because the sponging mooch was running up an astronomic phone bill calling… well I don’t know WHO it was calling, but I’m sure they weren’t interested (There was no security service when I moved-in to this place). I’ve heard stories people have reprogramming them to call their mobile phones, but I’ve NFI how to go about this (I’m sure Google could help me though).

Good luck!

goanna2010 9:06 pm 12 Jul 11

p1 said :

Cut the phone line where it leaves the box, and it will no longer call out…

Yep, and your phone won’t work either!!! Alarms are connected in what is called a “mode 3” connection. the phone lines runs through the alarm panel so at all times in can take the line and dial out to the monitoring company. Your best bet is to get someone out to reprogram it. They most likely will have to default the alarm and start again as unless CSS do the reprogram, the other security company will not have the tech code. Most security companys in Canberra should be able to help you. Hope you sort it out!

Skidbladnir 8:59 pm 12 Jul 11

LED5508 is the keypad part number.
There’s a panel box somewhere in your house (smaller than a shoebox, deep enough to hold a backup battery), open it and grab the motherboard part number.
These model numbers are thode compatible with 5508a.
Once you get the panel number, you’re only a few steps away from getting an installation manual.
Read it, but avoid making any attempt until you understand what you’re doing.
Depending on your confidence level with reprogramming the system you may be able to do it yourself, but there are plenty of non-CSS and non-S1 companies in Canberra to do the job.
I can recommend a few.

bec452 6:47 pm 12 Jul 11

Thanks for all the replies. I’m trying to find the paperwork but it’s been 7 years since we had the back to base monitoring service connected so unfortunately may not even have it anymore.

nobody said :

“Decommissioned” is the term most service companies use to squeeze the last few dollars from customers. A service call, perhaps some disposal costs, disconnection fee, and everything else.

Just as I thought. I had a really bad experience with Custom Security Services earlier this year which is why I really don’t want to give them one more cent. However, they sent me a letter saying that I need to decommission my alarm or else I will be liable to pay the costs charged by the telco company for all the calls the alarm still makes back to CSS. I did some research online & apparently if a back to base service is cancelled sometimes it triggers a ‘panic’ mode in the alarm so therefore some alarms can make a call every 30 seconds back to the alarm company without you even knowing, adding up to a large unexpected phone bill at the end of the month! I really want to avoid this happening.

Skidbladnir said :

1) Which company was it with?
2) What brand & model number is it?
3) Have they given it an installer code (ie: Administrator-level access) that they call ‘company secrets’ and refuse to give you, or is it just a simple reprogram?

(Note: It has been several years since I had to do this…)

The company was Custom Security Services. The alarm is a DSC LED5508. I am not sure about the installer code so I’m guessing they won’t be giving up that information freely.

I’m not even sure where the phone line plugs into the alarm. I just know when they sent their technicians out (and tried to rip me off) they were playing with a box near the front of my house & also up in the roof cavity.

p1 5:10 pm 12 Jul 11

Cut the phone line where it leaves the box, and it will no longer call out…

eyeLikeCarrots 4:48 pm 12 Jul 11

Skidbladnir said :

3) Have they given it an installer code (ie: Administrator-level access) that they call ‘company secrets’ and refuse to give you

My old Security boss (A real douche) in Tasmania used to do this….

You have 3 options

– meet someone who will trade a carton for the code and instructions
– get your contract out and see what it says
– pull the phone cable out

Mujer 4:09 pm 12 Jul 11

When we decided to stop having back to base monitoring, I just got an alarm dude to come out and reprogram the alarm to call my mobile if the alarm was triggered. So my phone bill slightly increased but it was still cheaper than the back to base and then I could organise for a friend or relative to go check it out if I was away or something.

Skidbladnir 3:04 pm 12 Jul 11

1) Which company was it with?
2) What brand & model number is it?
3) Have they given it an installer code (ie: Administrator-level access) that they call ‘company secrets’ and refuse to give you, or is it just a simple reprogram?

(Note: It has been several years since I had to do this…)

nobody 2:35 pm 12 Jul 11

“Decommissioned” is the term most service companies use to squeeze the last few dollars from customers. A service call, perhaps some disposal costs, disconnection fee, and everything else.

It is your alarm system, so do with it as you please. You could leave it active as it is now so the alarms still go off, but the monitoring company no longer answers the call from your alarm box.

If you get another company to monitor your alarm, they would make changes to your alarm box so it then called them, which would negate the need to have had any previous decommission.

Harriet Vane 2:33 pm 12 Jul 11

I thought you had the option to have the act as standalone alarm as well as a monitored one…that is, you pay for the equipment and installation of the alarm, and pay for the monitoring as a separate and optional service, but ceasing the latter doesn’t affect the former.

I suggest you dig out your paperwork (assuming you were the person to have it installed) and check the fine print.

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