Vivint sales tactics have hurt the company over the years. Vivint developed a great reputation for offering quality and reliable home security products. Consumer complaint rates, however, remain among the highest in the industry. Four states over the past five years have filed suit against Vivint over sales tactics and advertising practices. All have been settled by voluntary compliance agreements or consent judgments with small fines paid by the company in some cases. Complaints registered in 2015 suggest the Vivint has not solved the problem. Many consumers continue to complain they have been cheated and mislead by aggressive salesmen. Read more on the Vivint offering in our full Vivint review.
The chief complaint appears to revolve around sales tactics. Vivint salesmen have a reputation for being very pushy. They go door to door and according to complaints will do or say whatever necessary to close the deal.
Unfortunately for the consumer, while a salesman may exaggerate or outright lie about the terms of service, proving he or she did so is often difficult. A written contract with your signature takes precedence in court over your word against the salesmen.
The majority of the state charges revolve around deceptive advertising. For example, in March 2013 Vivint settled a case with the state of Kansas concerning accusations of deceptive door-to-door sales tactics. In a press statement, the Kansas Attorney General said that Vivint violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act by not disclosing critical information to the consumer. Vivint paid a $55,000 civil penalty and issued refunds to 19 Kansas customers.
The other three states received almost identical complaints concerning deceptive practices and failure to disclose vital contract information. All the state investigations revolved around misleading and incorrect statements by Vivint salesmen. All cases were settled with no admission of wrongdoing by the company or any criminal charges.
The salesmen remind many people of the stereotypical crooked used car salesmen: hard sell, exaggerated claims and outright lies. More than one consumer asserts that Vivint salesmen went door-to-door targeting users of competitor’s systems. The customers claim that the Vivint representatives state that Vivint has bought out the old company and that the new owners will install new equipment, and renewing contracts. Unsuspecting consumers agree and sign the more expensive five-year contracts that do not allow cancelation without a hefty fee.
Another commonly reported tactic allegedly used by Vivint sales personnel is claiming that consumers get a three-month free trial. Customers who attempt to invoke this clause and have the system removed discover that the contract they signed says nothing about a three-month free trial. They find instead they committed to five years of monthly payments for a system they do not like.
Vivint pays its salesmen very well. This becomes the proverbial double-edged sword for the company. Vivint requires a five-year agreement if you want their system. This incentivizes the salesmen to close sales as that provides good residuals. Base pay without commission is around $26,000 annually, and the average employee makes double that figure.
Vivint has great workplace ratings too. Current and former Vivint employees and employee advocacy groups give Vivint high marks for treatment of staff. The company consistently ranks high on lists of “best places to work.” Online reviews by employees remark upon the friendly, collegial and relaxed atmosphere around the office.
Vivint obviously has yet to find the right balance between incentivizing and customer satisfaction. They have relied on the product’s reliable and technology and allowed some unscrupulous sales personnel to continue with pressure tactics that ultimately have caused Vivint to suffer reputational harm.
The complaints registered by clients are not confined to sales tactics. Claims of insensitivity by management regarding service problems continue to plague the company. Customers complain about lack of service once a system is installed. Many say that it is impossible to get thr0ugh on the repair line, and once they do the person on the other end is not knowledgeable enough about the systems to provide appropriate help.
Whether it is actually true or not, the perception among many is that Vivint cares little about repairing your system or responding to your complaints once they have your signature on the contract.
The last state complaint filed against Vivint was settled in June 2013. The volume of complaints during the past two years appears to have gone down. However, many internet forums still register the same sorts of complaints about sales tactics.
Despite the complaints about sales, the system itself continues to be well-received by most customers. Vivint has one of the highest-rated home security products on the market despite the problems. If they can get the salesmen under control and tighten up service procedures, it is likely their already significant share of the home security market will increase.