Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Guardian Frustrations

I feel like I have a little bit of built up resentment towards Guardian right now, although it may not be fair of me to be upset with them for these things, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

We spent a decent chunk of money with the options we selected from Guardian and with that amount of money, I expected a certain level of service/assistance to come with it. The selections we made were:

* Outdoor speakers
* 5.1 surround sound speakers mounted in the ceilings in one room
* Pre-wired surround sound in second room
* Pre-wire run to a component closet
* Pre-wire for two wall mounted televisions
* Security system

Outdoor Speakers

I wish I could tell you how these work ... except all we have right now are two pieces of wire hanging down the exterior of our house where I assume speakers should be installed. Maybe it is my own fault, but for the first few days after moving into the house, I didn't call anyone about this because I just assumed Guardian would be out to install the speakers within a day or two. Nope. I finally called yesterday to set up the activation of our security system and mentioned that we still had no outdoor speakers. The gentleman I spoke to seemed shocked.

Him: "You have two blue wires, correct?"
Me: "No - two grey ones"
Him: "Grey ones? Just hanging there?"
Me: "Yes ..."
Him: "Hrm. I'm sorry about that. We'll take care of that."

It'll be another week until that is taken care of.

5.1 surround sound speakers mounted in the ceilings in one room / Pre-wire run to a component closet
I am not the most technical person, but I work in IT and have always been the one in our household in the past to set up any electronic components, etc with no problems. I expected to look in our coat closet (using the shelf to house our components), I expected to see raw speaker wire coming out of the wall, labeled for each speaker, but with a male and female end for each. What I see are what look to be component jacks - one male and one female for each labeled speaker.

After much confusion a few weeks ago, before moving in, and a call to our Guardian rep, I learned that I simply needed to unscrew each 'jack', push my speaker wire through it (which is connected to my receiver at the other end), and tighten the jack. Voila, should be as simple as that. However it wasn't. No matter how tighly we would screw those puppies shut, our wire would slip right back out. We were using the 16-guage wire that was recommended as well.

Finally, after a night of finally screaming out my frustration, my husband drove to Best Buy to purchase Banana Plugs for each piece of speaker wire - we needed 12 total. He spent some time connecting a plug to the end of each raw wire, then was able to plug the banana plug into the jack and finally, we had working surround sound speakers in the ceilings. This only took us over a week to figure out (sarcasm?).

I really feel that one of two things should be done, if not both. Guardian should have a rep come meet with you right as you move in - if not on the same day as your pre-settlement meeting - so they can show you exactly how what you have purchased will work. Additionally, at the time of purchase from them, they should provide you with literature explaining exactly what it is that you purchased, and what else you may need to purchase on your own, or ensure that you already own, to make sure that everything works smoothly for you. I don't know, just something I would expect.

So my advice is this. If you plan to even do the surround sound speakers - and if you have the means - I'd just go ahead and buy the whole kit and kaboodle from Guardian (i.e. Receiver, etc) and let them set the entire thing up for you. Doing this would have saved me hours of frustration, many trips to Best Buy / Radio Shack and about another $200 in materials to properly connect.

Security System
I can't provide feedback on this as Guardian cannot come and set up the security system until your home phone is installed - and that has been a nightmare in itself. More on this when I can comment on it.

All the Other Stuff
The pre-wires for the wall mounted televisions are great - no complaints at all. The pre-wired surround sound in the basement seems to be fine as well - just haven't gotten around to hooking up our receiver yet.

All the while I received our final bill from Guardian, asking that we pay our balance immediately. I am calling the billing department today to let them know that I cannot send them a check until their work is finished and in working order. I hope this goes over smoothly.

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