Testing security system is only way to confirm protection

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SUN CITY WEST, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A home security system can give you peace of mind but only if it's actually working properly. Consumers should test their system at least every month. That's the only way you'll know if your security equipment is connected to the central monitoring station. If it isn't, you're paying for protection you're not getting.

Tiny Phillips wanted to move a noisy home security keypad out of her grandson's room. She says the same rep that sold her the ADT system relocated the pad and was supposed to re-established her connection.

"I stood there while he made calls to what I thought were ADT and talked to them on the phone and then everything was fine," Phillips said.

For six months, Phillips says she made her ADT payments and the keypad worked as normal, but when it started to malfunction, she called ADT and discovered her monitoring was disconnected and it had been so since the keypad was moved.

"All that time, you think you're protected, and when you leave your home, you think your home is protected, and you find out that's not true," Phillips said.

Phillips says ADT pointed out that it was her responsibility to test her system to uncover problems like this, but she thinks there's blame on both sides.

"Somewhere there should have been a double check, she's paying money, her system's not connected, but apparently there is not a double check," Phillips said.

She canceled on the spot. Phillips says ADT refused to refund what she paid while she wasn't connected and charged her a $327 termination fee that's now in collections. She knows what she should have done.

"Check your system to make sure it's connected to whatever company you're using the service of," Phillips said.

ADT looked into this matter for CBS 5 News. They apologized for any inconvenience to Phillips, wiped out the early termination fee, removed the account from collections, and gave Phillips one year of free monitoring for restoring her ADT service. Our thanks to ADT for a more than fair resolution to this matter.

Remember, testing your security system is the only real way to make sure you're getting the protection you're paying for.

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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