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CPI Security is a regional company offering service in just 3 Southeastern states and Washington DC, but that’s a big enough service area to make them the 15th largest security firm in America – serving over 130,000 clients. CPI was founded in 1991, and a commitment to developing the best possible technology has made them a heavyweight in their service area for 25 years.

Basic service: $29.95 per month

Upfront fees: Free installation, $99.00 activation

Security System Equipment

Unlike most small security firms, CPI designs and manufactures its own equipment – and their network is designed to work with wireless, landline, or broadband connectivity. CPI offers an impressive array of equipment choices, comparable to any of their competitors, and even at the most basic service level.

Basic equipment choices include:

  • Interior HD video camera
  • Exterior wireless HD/IR camera
  • Motion, C02, and glassbreak detectors
  • Touchscreen door lock
  • Garage control
  • Fire alert system
  • Lighting control
  • Door/window sensors
  • Key remote

Home Automation

CPI offers one of the best smartphone apps in the business, the trademarked InTouch app. InTouch is packed with useful information in an easy-to-read format, with a clean, user-friendly interface. The downside of InTouch is that it’s not available at the basic level, but if you upgrade to the InTouch package, you’ll have one of the most powerful and functional automation systems in the business.

Features include:

  • Complete programming and control of all security system features
  • Live monitoring of indoor and outdoor video
  • Monitoring of house temperature
  • Monitor and adjust climate control systems
  • Remote locking and unlocking of all doors, including garage doors
  • Turn off lights and appliances on and off
  • Event alerts by text or e-mail

Company History

CPI Security Systems was founded in Florida in 1976, by Ken Gill. The company has gone through two reorganizations and one relocation, and is now headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rather than build their business by expanding into larger territories, CPI has chosen to focus on a small service area and saturate that market. Their business model has built them a customer base of over 130,000 clients – one of the largest security firms in the United States.

Founder and CEO Ken Gill chose one of the hottest and fastest-growing regions in the country to concentrate on, his company is growing with it. Unlike many regional companies, CPI has no plans to expand beyond their current service area of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Washington DC. Gill feels that his company’s focus on a small geographical area makes it easier to focus on customer service, which he considers one of the top two drivers of CPI’s success.

The Good

  • Impressive set of services at basic level plan
  • Landline, broadband, or wireless connection, with fulltime wireless backup
  • Exceptional smartphone app
  • Five Diamond certified

Like most service businesses, security companies make money by selling you more expensive service packages – the higher level package you buy, the more money they make. So, security firms structure their service packages and price points in ways that they think will give clients the most incentive to upgrade to more expensive packages – and CPI is no different.

Most security firms do that by offering relatively skimpy service packages at the basic level, so that you have to upgrade to the higher packages to get anything worth paying for at all. CPI, however, takes a slightly different approach – they give you a hefty load of services and features right at the front end, in the hope that you’ll pay more for the automation options.

And, if you do elect to climb up to the higher service levels, you’ll have one of the best apps in the industry to play with. The trademarked InTouch app is one of the most robust, functional, and easy to use apps on the market, and can be used to control not just your security system but pretty much your entire house. Monitor video feeds, sensor data, and event logs, turn lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, adjust your thermostat, reprogram your system – you name it, InTouch can do it.

CPI is also unusual in that they offer the option of connecting by landline, broadband, or cellular network. Customers can also use their cellular service as a 24/7 backup for their system in case the landline or broadband go dead – or the phone line is cut by a burglar.

And finally, CPI is certified by as a Five Diamond security provider by the Central Security Alarm Association, the industry’s international trade association.

The Bad

  • Technical issues with equipment
  • Long contracts, high cancellation fees
  • Poor transparency
  • False alarms
  • Inconsistent customer service

Having the confidence to design and manufacture their own equipment is commendable, but there’s a reason most major alarm companies purchase equipment from established manufacturers – because they make reliable equipment. Unfortunately, complaints about CPI’s equipment are common. Door and window sensors not triggering when there’s a break-in, or sending out false alarms when there isn’t one, are frequently reported.

Many clients also report that it’s difficult to get straight answers from the company about pricing or other important details, and that the contract they signed isn’t what they remember discussing with the sales rep. And speaking of the contract, it’s a long one – anywhere from 3 to 5 years, depending on what package you pick. Customers who want an early out pay 75% of the remaining balance at the time of departure.

And, CPI is plagued by the same problem that haunts many other security companies – unreliable customer service. Many clients report that once the contract is signed, CPI seems either unmotivated or unable to fix technical or billing problems, to the point where some prefer to walk away and eat the 75% kill fee rather than deal with the customer service.

The Bottom Line

CPI offers some solid advantages, such as low costs on the front end, reasonably low monthly fees, and a ton of features at the basic level – but customers would be wise to consider some of the downsides. Equipment problems are common, the contract is much longer than many competitors, and it’s an expensive one to buy your way out of. They’re worth taking a look at if you’re in their service area, but many consumers will find that there are better choices.

CPI Security Contact Information​

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