Nearly a year after her experience with Vivint, Baker says she’s still livid about the incident with the Utah-based alarm company. “First of all … who would expect someone like that coming to your door on a Saturday night?” she says. “I don’t answer the door for anyone now. ”
Baker says it took until September for her attorney to get her contract with Vivint canceled and a refund. She filed an F review on Angie’s List and requested help through the complaint resolution process, but the case resulted in a stalemate when Baker declined Vivint’s offer of two months of free service and help with any technical issues because she says she felt the salesmen took advantage of her.
Baker’s not the only consumer who’s complained about Vivint. A spokeswoman for the Indiana attorney general’s office says it received 15 consumer complaints about the alarm company in the past year. And according to settlement agreements or consent decrees, Vivint has paid about $675,000 to settle similar claims from governmental agencies in at least four states since 2010. The agreements or decrees detail consumer complaints that Vivint — known as APX Alarm Security Systems until it rebranded itself in early 2011 — used deceptive sales tactics, such as claiming a homeowner’s existing security company went out of business and they’ve taken over the accounts; provided misleading cost information; and failed to honor cancellation requests.
The nationwide company is highly rated on the List, based on 80 reviews, but it’s excluded from category and keyword searches after landing in the Penalty Box last year for not responding to two members’ complaints in other states.
Pinnacle Security, another Utah-based alarm company, also generated complaints about aggressive door sales. The company has paid more than $2 million since 2009 to settle claims from governmental agencies in nine states that alleged deceptive sales tactics similar to those alleged in the Vivint complaints. The company is poorly rated on Angie’s List, based on 29 reviews, and the Indiana AG says it received two complaints in the past year. Multiple calls seeking comment from Jason Knapp, Pinnacle’s chief financial officer, and Stuart Dean, Pinnacle’s vice president of communications, were not returned by press time.
Vivint spokeswoman Lisa Davis says the company doesn’t condone aggressive behavior by their door-to-door salespeople, which she says has diversified in recent years, but includes many college students from nearby Brigham Young University. “That would not be part of how we train our sales force,” she says, adding the company hires outgoing individuals who are willing to work hard. “These are enthusiastic salespeople.”
Davis also points out that Vivint sales reps are instructed to review a contract with a consumer — including detailing the federal cooling-off rule, which requires sales people to provide consumers two copies of the cancellation notice, and verbally inform them they have until midnight on the third business day after the sale to request a full refund — prior to signing. “We as a company have taken the responsibility to make sure customers know that.”
Baker says her Vivint salesmen never told her she had the right to cancel, but she says her attorney invoked the cooling-off rule within two business days. “And I would tell anybody, don’t go to the door. Talk to [visitors] through a window, or if it’s dark, I wouldn’t mess with them. I think those businesses are fraudulent and that they are training their people to do just exactly what those boys did,” Baker says.