ATLANTA -- Having a home alarm and security system is an important safeguard, but assuming that it is doing everything you expect all the time can be misleading.

11Alive News producer Marcita Thomas made that assumption when she activated the alarm system in her home before leaving for work. When she got home she was in for a shock -- her ADT monitoring station never got an alarm signal.

She says ADT acknowledged that the phone hookup didn't work but said it was a wiring issue caused by the telephone carrier. ADT includes a one-line statement at the bottom of its monthly bill telling customers to check their alarm systems.

It's a good idea according to Atlanta attorney Tom Salata, but it doesn't put the responsibility of making sure the system works on the homeowner.

"The owner of the house, unless they have signed some type of contract that says otherwise, is just supposed to set the alarm and leave and have the alarm company monitor the house," Salata said.

ADT told 11Alive News that it places monthly test calls to customers and also provides a toll free number for assistance, but Thomas says she did not get those calls.

Consumers are advised to periodically contact their alarm company - especially if there has been a lightning strike or severe storm in the area. Consumers are also advised to contact them if telephone company technicians have been working in the area, to ensure their service still works properly.

Consumers with signed contracts are advised to read them carefully.

ADT says they are working with Thomas to resolve her issues and to upgrade her security system.

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