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Does ADT Charge for False Alarms (Reimbursement)?

James Elder
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by James Elder

The police and fire departments work endlessly to keep us safe, so we should always use their time and services wisely.

Unfortunately, in practice, that’s not always the case.

Many house alarm reports are false, costing the police many wasted hours. To combat this issue and minimize its impact, many US local governments have enforced penalties for events where citizens alert emergency services unnecessarily.

These events include false alarms. Nobody benefits from them — not the patrols, security companies, neighborhoods, and certainly not you. So, as an ADT customer, you are probably wondering what will happen in case of a false alarm. Will it affect your bank account or not?

Not unless the police show up at your door. If they do, you’ll pay a fee unless ADT has given you faulty equipment.

In this article, we’ll closely examine this issue. Plus, we’ll discuss ADT’s solution to reduce the number of false alerts!

The Impact of False Alarms

The Impact of False Alarms
The Impact of False Alarms

Data shows that 98% of alarms are false. According to the Seattle Police Department, in 2002, they took action on over 24,000 home security alarms; sadly, only 325, less than 2%, were actual emergencies.

False alarms take precious resources away from security system monitoring centers and public safety patrols. A total of $1.8B was lost due to false alarms in 2002. As for customers, these false alarms can be scary, embarrassing, and costly.

Many municipalities across the country charge a fee for false alarms, so if police are dispatched and respond to them, it can sometimes cost the consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars.

These fees greatly concern the customers of ADT security systems. But does this mean that ADT will charge you as a consumer for a false alarm? Let’s find out.

Does ADT Charge for False Alarms?

ADT doesn’t charge for false alarms unless the county, city, or state directly charges ADT for such an event. If ADT is charged for triggering the patrols to take action for the false alarm, then, in turn, ADT will charge the consumer for the false alarm.

So ADT will charge a customer for a false alarm only if the local patrols are contacted to take action. If such charges arrive at ADT, the customer will be informed by email and receive a bill for the overall cost.

The fee will depend on where you live and the number of false alarms you’ve activated within a year. According to the LAPD, the first false alarm will cost you anywhere from $25 to $100, and for each additional false alarm within a 365-day period, the price will increase by $50.

However, keep in mind that you’ll also have to pay a fine if your security system is built without a permit. Some localities will fine you up to $1,000 if you don’t have a permit for installing your security system.


There are instances where faulty installations result in false alerts. Therefore, if the patrols are dispatched, and it is later determined that the false alarm was due to incorrect installation from the technician team, ADT will be accountable for all fees, and the customer won’t face any charges.

The most common technical problems that result in false alarms include:

  • Inadequate power source
  • Defective wiring
  • Defective sensors
  • Defective batteries

ADT recommends routine system tests to ensure everything operates smoothly and accurately. If there’s something faulty with your security system, you should call ADT at 1-800-ADT-ASAP (1-800-238-2727) to send technicians and resolve any malfunctions.

How is ADT Reducing False Alarms?

ADT has implemented the Smart Monitoring platform that helps reduce many false alarms caused by their home security systems.

They have integrated an alarm messenger into their ADT mobile app, so whenever an alarm happens, ADT will send a text message to customers and their emergency contacts. The message includes a link to a site where they may view all the alert details.

After receiving this notice, clients can decide whether to cancel or ask ADT or the patrols for further security measures. If the chat participants don’t respond, ADT will call the client and its emergency contacts to confirm or deny the alarm.

They’ll dispatch a patrol only if they cannot get in touch with anybody.

What Makes Alarm Messenger Different?

ADT established Alarm Messenger to allow customers to cancel false alarms rapidly, check the nature of the alarm independently, and verify a real danger that requires intervention. The best part is that all of this happens without you needing to make a phone call!

In the past, when an alarm went off, the ADT alarm was typically sent immediately to the monitoring station, where an agent would conduct a routine procedure of dialing the user and its emergency contacts. If the agent couldn’t get a hold of anyone, then a patrol would be dispatched to check whether there was any further required action regarding the alert — 98% of false alarms have been prompted in this way.

What is the Impact of Alarm Messenger?

Although only available for a little over two years, the alarm messenger feature has reached around 4 million users. Since its introduction, ADT claims to have had a 54% decrease in false alerts.

This decrease is a significant gain for ADT in lowering false alerts. Moreover, it’s also good news for customers, who may now participate in reducing false alarms and possible false alarm costs.

Tips & Tricks for Preventing False Alarms

Most false alarms can be prevented. Knowing how to do so will help you save money and give you peace of mind. Here are some tips that ADT gives its clients for avoiding false alerts and integrating the ADT security system into their daily routine.

Preventing False Alarms
Preventing False Alarms

1. Differentiate Between ”Stay Mode” and ”Away Mode”

Most false alarms happen while improperly disarming and arming the ADT system. You can arm your security system in two ways: stay and away.

Arming your system in “stay mode” arms the door, window, and glass break sensors, letting you know if anyone comes in or out of your home. You can use it while at home, as the motion sensors are inactive.

Arming your system in “away mode” activates the motion sensors, the door, window, and glass break sensors. Away mode offers the maximum protection for your home. It’s the preferred setting for when you’re not at home.

2. Always Arm Your System in ”Stay Mode” if You Have Pets Running Around

Pets, especially larger ones who roam freely around your house or climb on furniture, can set off motion detectors. In this situation, you need to adjust your system while away from home. Although ADT’s motion detectors are designed to be pet-friendly and ignore minor movements, it’s best to arm your system in “stay mode” when you leave your house.

3. Avoid Installing Glass Break Sensors in Areas Prone to High-Pitch Noises

Glass break sensors active in both “stay” and “away” modes can also trigger a false alarm. When installing them, inform your technician of any areas in your home where frequent high-pitched barking from pets, noise from TV or speakers, and other loud noises could trigger a false alarm.

4. Check Your Sensors for a Possible Tamper State

Tamper states are another common cause of false alarms. A tamper state refers to a device coming off its base, partially broken, or coming loose from its mounted position. Regularly check your window and door sensors to spot issues like these. In case of a tampered state, you can either call a technician or fix them yourself.

5. Ask for a Technician to Install Your ADT Equipment

Always have a qualified ADT technician install your system because, in the case of a false alarm caused by malfunction, the ADT will bear the responsibility and cover the fees for the false alarm.

If you want to install a security system yourself, carefully consider where you want to put the sensors. For example, airflow from the HVAC system might be enough to trigger a sensor. Hanging items like flower pots or wavy curtains may also trigger a sensor.

Let the manual be your guide. Double-check everything to confirm you haven’t omitted a step or misunderstood a diagram. If you have any questions, the ADT support staff is always there to help you. You can reach them by dialing 1-800-ADT-ASAP (1-800-238-2727).

6. Maintain Fresh Batteries in All Devices

Weak and outdated batteries will cause the alarm to sound every 30 seconds  or, in the worst-case situation, cause a false alert. Because of this, it’s crucial to ensure your system has brand-new, 100% charged batteries. The likelihood of setting off a false alarm will decrease by replacing old batteries with new ones , and you’ll also be protected in the case of a power outage.

7. Ensure Everyone in Your Household Understands How to Use the Security System

Babysitters, near relatives, or cleaning staff unfamiliar with your system might accidentally trigger false alerts. Common errors include entering the password incorrectly and being unaware of where the sensor sites are. Educate every household member on how the system and each sensor function to lessen the likelihood of false triggers.


In conclusion, unless the cops arrive at your door due to a false alarm, you shouldn’t be concerned about ADT charging for false alarms.

If the patrols are triggered, you won’t pay a fee only under one condition: if the equipment installed by ADT is proven to malfunction.

All in all, false alarms are unnecessary stress for all of us. So thanks to ADT’s messenger, controlling the alarms is easier than ever! ADT has also provided excellent advice on how to avoid false triggers of this nature.

So as parting advice, always make sure your family is informed about ADT alarm systems; keep your batteries in good condition; have a professional install the devices; make notes about where you put your sensors; and arm your system in “stay mode” so you can let your pets walk freely.

James Elder
James Elder
James Elder has been fiddling with gadgets and using tools from a young age. His father was an excellent craftsman and James enjoyed spending time with his dad and learning all he could about working with wood, drywall, electronics, and various household projects. James has worked professionally for many years and his passion is to share knowledge that is especially useful to aspiring handy men & women to get more done around their homes.
1 Comment
  1. Major disruptions expected 2024, due to unnecessary police response, from false alarms. Out of control… now overloading the indispensable E911 System. Solution in progress……Assigning the responsibility for false alarm fines/fees to the monitoring company… the lawful perpetrator, paid to audit status of signals from alarm-site. At last, now responsible for their errors and omissions.

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