Home Alarm Sales – Better Business Bureau Issues Warning on Company after Name Change

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You can run from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but you can’t hide – even after changing your name. That’s the hard truth leaned recently by Vivint, formerly known as APX, when the BBB called them out in a bulletin issued by the BBB’s Pensacola, FL office.

Your BBB is warning consumers to be wary of salesmen who are going door-to-door offering home security systems “at no cost.”  Vivint, Inc. has been the subject of numerous government actions and numerous complaints filed with BBB. Individuals in northwest Florida have alerted BBB that salesmen identifying themselves as being from Vivint, Inc. are offering “free” security systems if consumers pay for a monthly monitoring service.

Hard to Shake the Past

I had wondered how the BBB would treat the name change, since APX generated so many complaints and government actions over recent years. For some time prior to the name change the BBB rating for APX was not released, and I was curious if the APX complaints would follow the new name. Finally the rating reappeared, and clearly the bad news had followed the new name: C+.

Vivint, Inc., which also operates under the name APX Alarm Security Solutions, Inc., has had 1,441 complaints filed against it in the last three years, BBB’s standard reporting period.  Additionally, the BBB Serving Utah, where Vivint/APX is headquartered, reports that at least four states have filed government action against Vivint/APX for a variety of violations including operating without a license and using false or misleading sales tactics.

Ongoing History of Complaints

The “seasonal” alarm sales companies – of which Vivint is one – are often referred to as “door knockers” for the method of going door to door. They employ representatives who sometimes push (or tear) the envelope in markets all across the US. Make no mistake, this is big business. But there is a dark side (and I’ve posted on these potentially pushy types of tactics before) - there are lots of complaints. The combination of high pressure sales tactics and little time to reconsider the purchase prior to installation has resulted in fines and lawsuits against these companies all across the US.

States Take Action

The state of Arkansas fined Vivint/APX $40,850 for over 40 violations in 2009.  The state of South Carolina fined Vivint/APX $5,000 for violating South Carolina codes by having their license cancelled in another state (Louisiana).  The South Carolina order references a $50,000 fine levied by Louisiana for utilizing unlicensed employees, violation of a Cease and Desist Order and engaging in false, misleading or deceptive acts or practices.  Minnesota imposed a civil penalty of $25,000 against Vivint/APX for failure to comply with licensing requirements.  And last year, the Oregon Department of Justice announced a $60,000 settlement with Vivint/APX for misleading and aggressive sales practices.

What You Should Do

Here’s what you should do when an alarm system salesman knocks on your door:

  • Always ask for company ID – know who it is that’s trying to sell you something
  • Ask about company alarm licensing, and individual licensing – many of these sale people are not licensed, or their companies aren’t
  • Ask about safer cellular monitoring and interactive services – and what they really cost – since you want the best services, and because these companies generally charge a premium price for equipment and monthly fees
  • Tell the salesperson you want time to think about it – if you are forced to buy on the spot, it’s probably not an offer that will stand up to scrutiny and research
  • Do your due diligence – checking online reviews (and sites like BBB) can really pay off

FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we don’t plan to sell that way in the future. The best home security customers are the people who are looking for a system in the first place, and with home security expanding to including to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand is increasing. Our systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the #1 choice in the US and Canada for interactive, wireless home alarm systems. And it also explains why we have the highest customer retention in the business. Just read the reviews!

Comments (130)

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  1. Jason

    Had an experience with a vivant door salesman last night. Went something like this.

    Salesman: I can offer you this…free installation….etc. This was at 8pm.

    Us: “We are moving in 6 months to new house”

    Salesman: “no problem it transfers”

    Us: “how long if a contract”

    Salesman “48 months, but I would recommend 60 months”.

    Us: “Can we think about it until Monday”

    Salesman: “no. I won’t be in the area and if it doesn’t make sense to do this now it won’t make sense on Monday and I can’t save you and this is only good for tonight”

    So that’s what I got concerned. It should be good two days later. 2 days to think about it isn’t too much to ask.

    We finally talked him into letting us thing about it until the next day.

    I was hard pressed to find a positive comment about Viviant

    We tried calling Viviant customer service. We were on hold for 45 min and finally hung up. We never actually talked to anyone.

  2. ken

    I agree about Vivint; however, I work for a security company in louisiana and we are licensed by the state fire marshall to door knock. I also have friends with adt that are licensed to door knock as well. I have taken over several front point acounts, so to say door knocking is unsuccessful would be misleading. But you are correct in saying customers should check id. The difference in approches to how a salesman acts varies greatly from other companies to ours. Our biggest advantages our pricing, product and our excitement for our customers to BUY from us and not be sold EVER. Our detication to integrity, honesty, and family values is why our attrition rate is less than 1%.

  3. Daniel

    Wasn’t Vivint ranked number 1 from the CSAA for fastest response time in 2013? Are they not ranked in the top 50 call centers from JD Power and Associates? So, a company like frontpoint who outsources all of their equipment, monitoring, and technicians really isn’t the best choice to protect your home. Whereas Vivint who does EVERYTHING in house is clearly the choice to make.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Daniel, for your comment. The debate rages over door-knocking to this day, but the customer complaints on these companies (Vivint included) have not abated in the slightest – and nor have the government actions against these companies (just check the BBB site for the facts). And speaking of the BBB, for some curious reason they currently show Vivint with a “Not Rated” designation. We are still trying to decipher that, but it does not sound good. Of Vivint’s thousands of BBB-listed complaints over the past 36 months, almost 40% are from the last year alone: that trend does not appear to be moving in the right direction for a company that is supposed to be acting in the best interests of its customers – or building trust as a provider of home security services. What we should be doing is providing peace of mind, not forcing people top worry about whether they are being ripped off. But don’t take my word for it – we encourage everyone to read the complaints and reviews of all alarm companies, including FrontPoint, and draw their own conclusions. It doesn’t take a lot of research to find out who is doing the right things. And this is probably a good time to remind you of FrontPoint’s Core Values: Build Trust, Dream Big, and Be Awesome. If you look at our reviews, it appears we are succeeding.

      By the way, the JD Power ranking is old news – and I believe long gone. Companies pay a lot of money to advertise that ranking – and when it’s no longer advertised, one never knows if the company lost the ranking, or if the payback wasn’t there. There are certainly many differences between Vivint and FrontPoint, to be sure, but not necessarily the ones you suggest. Vivint also buys its equipment (from Linear) – and FrontPoint has no technicians because we do not need them: our 100% wireless and cellular systems are easily set up by the subscriber in a short time, with no tools and no mess – and technician in the house, either for installation, or for subsequent service. Lots of people actually prefer that approach – just as they prefer not having an overly aggressive and possibly deceitful sales rep knocking on the door.

      It is true that we outsource our monitoring – to one of only a handful of monitoring companies that is allowed to monitor commercial fire alarm systems in the five boroughs of New York City. That approval is the highest bar in the alarm industry, as alarm professionals know, and the monitoring company we use is widely regarded as perhaps the best in the business. Having your own monitoring center is no guarantee of quality – and no, Vivint’s monitoring center does not have the approval of the New York Fire Department for commercial systems. So it seems you are technically correct on only one outsourcing point – but not in the way you intended. Thanks again for your comment.

  4. robert higgins

    Looks to me like this company is trying to use the internet as a scare tactic to sell there product which I’m sure is way over priced. You forgot to tell the consumer to ask about how the system is monitored. This company probably doesn’t want them to know.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Robert – thanks for your comment. Actually we DO want our customers to know how the system is monitored, and there is information all over the FrontPoint website that explains that very thing: safer cellular monitoring. And as for how we price our product, it’s the most affordable system for both the equipment or the monthly fees that you can find from any reliable nationwide provider. Just check online, and you will see. And while you are at it, just check the reviews for us and the other companies, both good and bad. It’s hard to find a negative review on FrontPoint, but you will find tons of great ones. That’s becasue we do it better, and people want to share the great news. Thanks again.

      • Danielle

        I think he means that Front Point does not do the monitoring. Front Point contracts out the monitoring to a third party. What does Front Point do? Just sell the equipment and send it out in a box only to have another company contact you when the alarm is triggered? No thanks.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Danielle. thanks for your comment. I wish that building a nationwide alarm company with world-class service and a sterling reputation was that easy! It’s true that FrontPoint does not do the monitoring: we have partnered with what we consider to be the best monitoring services provider in the US, Rapid Response Monitoring, for that aspect of our business model. Rapid is one of the most highly accredited monitoring companies you can find, with listings and approvals from UL, Factory Mutual, and even the New York Fire Department – commonly recognized in the alarm industry as the toughest approval in the US.

          As for what we do here at FrontPoint, a short list will give us a start:

          * Completely transparent marketing, including how everything works, what it costs, what you really need, and why it’s important – and nobody has to come into your home to explain all that.
          * Safer cellular monitoring in EVERY system we have ever sold, since 2007. We are the only nationwide alarm company that can make that claim.
          * “Pull” marketing, vs. “push” marketing – meaning we only talk to folks who are looking for home security in the first place, as opposed to knocking on doors, making robocalls, etc.
          * A highly consultative sales process, as opposed to using high pressure, deceit, and even fraud to convince an unsuspecting person to sign a contract for up to five years.
          * The convenience of a fully programmed system that you can set up yourself in about a half hour. No tools, no technicians, and no service calls later on. We can remotely diagnose system issues and send replacement parts as needed (which is rare). And when it’s time to move, you take the system with you no contract renewal required.
          * Incredibly high levels of customer satisfaction, resulting in the highest subscriber retention rate of any nationwide alarm company.

          That’s a partial list. I could go on for quite a while, but appreciate the opportunity to spell out a few of the things that make FrontPoint special in a very competitive industry.

          Thanks again.

  5. jack macko

    very informative!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      You are most welcome.

  6. Ed Schantz

    They tried to scam me with the offer of free installation and I caught on quickly and asked them to leave my house. They use young Mormon sales people in order to try and gain trust but it is a scam Benares

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Ed – Thanks so much for sharing your story. The word is getting out about how some (but not all) door knockers use pressure, and even fraud and deception, to sell alarms. I am happy to say, it’s becoming more of a challenge for these pushy doorknockers to convince homeowners to sign without checking reviews. And of course, when homeowners check out these companies online, like with the BBB, they read about all the complaints and the government actions – and that’s that. The harder it gets for these folks, the harder they will push – just creating more complaints. This is a downward spiral for them, and the sooner they mend their ways and sell with complete transparency and integrity, the better it is for this industry, and for consumers. Thanks again.

  7. L. Howard

    Vivint has several Government Actions against it in the USA and was banned from soliciting in several of the States. They are only allowed to solicit in Manitoba and I believe Alberta in Canada. They do not hire people from the area they are soliciting in. Their Reps for Winnipeg are from the East Coast. I had a very long and drawn out fight with them 2 years ago and through lots of research found out how truly despicable this company is. There is lots of info out there about them. Document every call you have with them, the person you talked to and what they said, the time you called etc., and put this info in your written communications. Keep calling them back. When sending them a letter let them know that a copy of all communications is going to your lawyer. Send communications to Melanie Haworth, Special Cancellations Specialist, Account Administrations Department. Keep a copy of everything you send them. If trying to call the Canadian phone number on your bill, it goes right to Utah, there is no one in Canada to speak to. The public needs to let them know that they are not welcome in our area. Vivint says that the number of complaints is small compared to the number of clients they have. A reputable company should have no complaints let alone Government Actions!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mr. Howard – Thanks very much for your comment here. What you experienced is just one more story from the field, and not a pretty story, I’m sure. You have offered some great advice for those who find themselves in a tough position with that company, and I hope folks will listen to you. Even more important, I hope that people will arm themselves with this kind of information in advance, so they know what to say when they hear that knock on the door, and they open the door to find that persuasive (and often misleading) door knocker selling alarm services. It’s our impression that the door knockers are encountering more resistance, which makes them even more aggressive – and that results in even more complaints. It’s a downward spiral that is clearly going in the wrong direction for door knocking – especially when done the way you describe. Thanks again for your comment.

  8. Ted Rickey

    I spoke to a so called manager with the so called company and basically wasted my time. They like to act concerned but BULL they all are a bunch of scum!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Ted – Thanks very much for your comment. Strong language, indeed, but it happens that the door knockers in the alarm industry have elicited some extremely strong opinion – much of it on the negative side of the scale. Yours is one more story of a person who has a less-than-satisfactory interaction with one of these companies, and you are in good (albeit unhappy) company. Sorry it did not go well with them – and thanks again for sharing.

  9. Larry

    So far this month we have had 4 Vivint salesman come to our door. Not one of them had a business card and all were high pressure to install right away. All of them have been stating a 30 day cancelation period. Is this a lie? This is a legal action I might take up with their directors.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Larry – Hate to say it, but we saw this coming: the word is out that this is already shaping up as the most aggressive door knocking season so far – at least for alarm system sales. When there is so much money at stake, starting with the $2 billion that Blackstone Group paid for Vivint, then something has to give – and in this case, it may well be a concern for doing business the right way. We are getting more comments than ever on various posts here and on Facebook about stepped-up door knocker activity – and even more sale pressure being applied.

      As for those folks offering a 30-day cancellation period, that is the first I have heard of it – and I would bet you a sizable sum that the contract still says 3 days is all you have, before you are stuck for 4 or 5 years. Also, these companies know that when the alarm system gets installed immediately after the sale, homeowners are less likely to exercise their three-day right of rescission (the “cooling off period” required by the Federal Trade Commission with any in-home sale). There are very few alarm companies that actually offer a 30-day risk-free trial period, and FrontPoint’s approach is the best when it comes to guaranteeing your satisfaction: we already pay the shipping to you, but if you are not thrilled with your FrontPoint system, or with us, for ANY reason, then you have 30 days from receipt to get back every penny you ever paid us, and we even pay the return shipping. No restocking charge or other “gotcha” items.That’s right, every penny. As far as we can tell, this is by far the best risk-free offer in the industry – and it is part of why we have the best reviews and the lowest cancellation rate of any major alarm company in the US.

  10. liz

    I got Vivint service for peace of mind and it’s been a nightmare. Purchased automation package with the cameras but they never work when I try to view. They switched them out one time and still the same thing . I try to view my home or kids when I’m away and all I get is a black screen. I called again and asked them what could be done and they said they could send out a tech again like I have the time. I said no, why can’t I just remove the cameras from my bill. They said because it’s a package. I said how about switching, they said no. I kept telling them I was dissatisfied, and still nothing. I mean, what can I do, I have a 4 year contract? But today was the last straw. My husband and I were in the backyard with our toddlers while my newborn was upstairs in her crib. Suddenly I hear this weird crackling sound, and it was a pot that had accidentally been left on, and it filled the entire house with smoke and the alarm didn’t even go off. My newborn was fine but we had to open windows in the whole house. This could have been a tragedy if I didn’t hear crackling sound. Now I don’t want their service and want to cancel, but they don’t feel that’s enough reason to cancel without penalty. I haven’t even had their service for 3 months and all this happened. They want me to transfer service to another family member if I cancel. Why the hell would I do that to another family ?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Liz – Very sorry to hear about your terrible experiences with that company. Most of the complaints about them are about the sales process (overly aggressive, pushy, even making up stuff that is not true) – but I also see a number of complaints about the system not working the ways it is supposed to. And if you try to cancel with them, look out – they are known for making people feel stuck. Hope this works out for you, and let this be a cautionary tale: never buy anything without doing your homework first, and checking the reviews and reputation of a company. The fact that they don’t want you to research them is all you need to know…

  11. Kez

    I am listening to my boss on the phone for the 5th month in a row trying to cancel her Vivint security (2 years past the original contract time, so that is not the issue). She canceled verbally and in writing in December 2012 but the payment was removed from her bank account again in January. She called. I was here witnessing it all. They asked her to fax in the cancelation request again and they would refund the January 2013 payment. The money was taken out again in February 2013. She called Vivint yet again. She was told there was no record of her cancellation request(s). So my boss put a Stop order on the direct debit being taken from her account each month by Vivint. In March she received a grouchy letter from them asking for the fee and also charging an extra fee on top for their ‘trouble’/late fee. My boss faxed a cancellation request and then called Vivint back right in front of me to make sure they received it. They did. Well here it is April 16, 2013 and I am listening to my boss right this very second arguing on the phone with Vivint security after receiving yet another letter from them. She is upset and telling them that they better get this cancelled immediately, and return the payments as of December 6 2012, which was the original cancellation date, or she is going to sue them for harrassment and contact the BBB. Now he is demanding to know why she is cancelling her security program, now they are demanding to speak to the other member of her household to confirm the cancellation (which has never been requested before), and she is almost in tears of pure anger and frustration. We are not stupid. My boss has been a business owner for over 30 years and knows what she is talking about and how to deal with things, and how to order or cancel a service or a product. What is happening right now with Vivint security is atrocious and I am quite shocked.

    • Kez

      Oh it’s not over yet, now they are demanding to know why they are cancelling the system. My boss said they are moving overseas. Yes another person came on the line and asked if they are selling their home. My boss said it is none of their business and hung up on them. Hopefully everything is cancelled now but I highly doubt it.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Thanks again, Kez. Yes, these door knockers are just as aggressive in trying to keep accounts as they are in creating them in the first place. You would expect that they would be smarter than that, and realize that the best way to build a good reputation is with transparency, good customer service, and professional follow through. Anything else is just a scorched-earth policy of building a company on poor business practices and a bad reputation. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Kez – Thanks for sharing this experience. Sadly, it just follows too many others we have heard that follow the same script. The door knocker companies fight very hard to keep their customers, in some cases making it extremely difficult to end the relationship – whether right at the beginning if the customer understandably has second thoughts, or at contract renewal. The fact is that these companies have cancellation rates well above the industry average – and that is hardly surprising, since so many of these customers were not looking for home security before someone knocked on the door. It’s an aggressive sale, and the offer is seldom extended beyond that initial visit – these companies do now want you checking reviews or shopping their offers, and may in fact have move on to the next city before you make up your mind. and becasue these companies already have problems with cancellations, they make it even even harder to cancel service than it should be, which just means more complaints. It’s a vicious cycle, and does not favor the door knocking companies. Thanks again – and I hope your boss successfully got out of the bad situation. This type of experience is, frankly, bad for the overall reputation of our industry. But word is getting out on who the bad companies are…

  12. Annoyed

    You guys are a bunch of hypocrites. “We have never sold door to door and never plan to.” Tell me why FrontPoint reps are constantly knocking in my neighborhood in Phoenix?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Annoyed, for your comment. You have us scratching our heads on this one, since we only have one office – in McLean, Virginia – and none of them ever leave the office to sell. We also have no employees in Phoenix (or anywhere else other then McLean). Frankly, I’m not sure who it is you could be speaking of. In other situations where people thought that it was FrontPoint in the neighborhood, it turned out to be another company. However, we have been a bit concerned on a couple of occasions since we thought that somebody was pretending to be from FrontPoint when they weren’t, for reasons we can only guess at. But please rest assured, we are not door knocking in Phoenix – or anywhere, for that matter. We just don’t think it’s the right way to build the best alarm company. Thanks again.

  13. Jonn

    Vivint sales rep Skylar Brown came to my neighbors house and told her everything was free. She is 90yrs old and on a fixed income. She just found out that it is a 42 month contract at $59.99 a month. She had no idea what just happened and is a Senior who just got out of the hospital. It turns out Skylar Brown had also told 3 other neighbors the same thing. They found out and cancelled and called the cops and the BBB to report Vivint and Skylar Brown for Deceptive Door to Door sales tactics in Hemet Ca.

  14. Don House

    I’m not a big fan of the passive / aggressive nature you use to try to make FrontPoint sound like they are the only choice for security. You make it sound like someone is foolish for buying security services door to door. The top 5 SDM security companies in the nation all sell door to door. ADT being the big dog with over 5 million customers gets over 60% of their yearly business door to door. From what I can see you use GE equipment and Alarm.com services like thousands of other security companies. With FrontPoint being an internet based company that doesn’t have local representation or provides you with a professional installation they can provide a lower monitoring rate. There is no secret recipe in our industry. Obviously without having to pay field sales reps, qualified bonded technicians, or extending lifetime warranties for service with free battery replacement you can extend a $5-$10 a month discount on monitoring. Your service might work fine for someone with technical ability to install their own system. I’ve sold GE equipment for years and it will have to be serviced sooner or later. I have more equipment bad out of the package with GE then any other manufacturer. If a customer is ok waiting for another door contact to show up in the mail to complete their install because it had a bad tamper switch then your service is probably ok. Most homeowners don’t want to deal with this. Grandpa & Grandma Smith isn’t gonna want to install their own system. Ms. Jones (the single mom with 2 kids) isn’t gonna want to install her own system or have to self diagnose it when an issue arises. I know you advertise that you can provide contact for a local qualified technician to install the system for the customer. I’ve seen other companies do this before. It usually is Joe the electrician that comes out to do the install. In my state this is an issue. To sell or install security systems in the state of NC you have to be state licensed through fingerprints and federal background checks. Most the time Joe the electrician won’t have these credentials. It sounds like FrontPoint does things the right way so I assume your company uses NC Private Protective Services Licensed techs when the customers needs a technician in this state. Door to door security business will never go away. Unfortunately we have some bad elements in our business that gives the majority a bad name. There’s bad business ethics in all facets of life. Car sales, home improvement industry, auto repair shops, etc. If you truly have a great product then you don’t have to try to plant seeds of doubt in consumers minds. You inform them of what you do well and at the same time what you don’t do. An educated and happy consumer will always have the highest retention level. It doesn’t matter how they purchased their security. I’ve upgraded more systems sold over the phone then sold face to face. I go door to door on a daily basis to inform and educate consumers. I don’t tell them I’m with their current provider. I won’t sign up a customer if they are in a current contract, and I make them call their current provider to confirm they are out of contract before we install their system. I don’t use scare tactics, and most the time I have to make 2-3 trips before we sign them up to give them time to do their homework. Obviously everyone in our industry doesn’t do it this way. Some companies have a long track history of bad ethics. I don’t need to mention them by name, but instead let my customer educate themselves on what my company does well. I did the math based off your equipment costs you provide. You charge $168.94 for a keypad, 3-doors, 1-motion, & 1-smoke & $42.99 (interactive cellular) on a 3 year service agreement. My company provides the same equipment package for $99.00 & $44.95 (interactive cellular) on a 3 year service agreement. That’s a $2 difference. The real difference is a professional installation, lifetime warranty with no trip fees for service, fixed monitoring rate, free battery replacements, free biannual inspections, & a free system move. The other thing is providing multiple jobs to infuse the local economy. I’m struggling to see the advantage now. Good thing is there is plenty of business for all of us. You promote for customers to educate themselves. I agree 100%. There is local security dealers in almost every city with deals like the company I represent. You just need to do your research to find them.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Don – Thanks for your thoughtful comment. A lot of what I said in my response to Anonymous/Cronus would apply here, so I may borrow some of that – hope you don’t mind.

      In the first place, please understand that I am a long-time participant in this industry: in fact, I started out at SecurityLink in 1989, before many who sold door-to-door this past summer were even born. In other words, I may not have seen it all… but I’ve seen most of it. And my previous alarm industry experience includes time at companies that invested a significant amount in selling door-to-door: this sales approach is not new, and will doubtless be around for a long time. What is new is the degree to which door-knocking has evolved into something that has resulted in so many complaints, lawsuits, fines, etc. In fact, numerous BBB offices now report that alarm company complaints, which were never that bad before the Utah-based approach took hold, are now at the top of the pile. This is clearly a bad trend, and it hurts not only the companies creating the complaints, but also the overall reputation of the industry: we all suffer from door-knocker sins.

      I don’t think there is anything passive/aggressive about my stance on the “bad” door-knockers vs. FrontPoint. In fact, I think I am pretty out there! You are right that lots of companies door-knock. However, most of them do NOT door-knock the way the hard-core companies do (many of which happen to be based in Utah). If they did, you would see the same level of complaints about pressure, or fraudulent and deceptive practices, and you would see similar government actions with fines and lawsuits by local and state jurisdictions against the other companies. The fact is, you don’t see it much about ADT and other others, if at all, because these other companies do a better job of following the rules.

      ADT actually has 6.4 million customers, although they have been hard pressed to grow beyond that level since their cancellation rate is so high… they have been reporting around 14% for several quarters now, above the industry average. As to what percentage of their new accounts come from door knocking, I’m curious as to your source for that 60% number – and I frankly doubt it is that high. But yes, a chunk of their sales does come from door-knocking, although it’s done better. As for what makes FrontPoint different, I ask that you consider the following:

      1) We’re the only nationwide alarm service provider to use Alarm.com and 100% cellular monitoring in every system we have ever sold.
      2) We’re the only nationwide alarm service provider to focus on interactive services for almost every customer since day one, resulting in the highest percentage of interactive services in our customer base.
      3) We’re the only nationwide alarm service provider to offer true plug & play with a more convenient and easily setup system from inception.
      4) We have the highest customer retention of any nationwide alarm company – by a wide margin.
      5) We have the best online reputation of any nationwide alarm service provider, by an equally wide margin.

      You are right that there is no secret recipe in our industry. Given that, it’s surprising that it’s taken so long for an alarm company to actually earn the nationwide reputation for world-class service and support that we have – even if it it a 100% wireless preprogrammed system that is set up up by the homeowner in as little as 30 minutes. And we have a very different experience with our GE equipment than you do – since we test every piece before it goes out – but when we do have an issue, we immediately replace any equipment that requires it. As for ease of setup, you would be very surprised at the range of people who are perfectly happy to setup a FrontPoint system on their own schedule, with no technicians in the home, and then add sensors at any time. They can even move the system with them – we don’t charge a dime, we don’t restart their contract, and we send them fresh adhesive for the sensors. People love it. Frankly, the reluctance of the alarm industry to appreciate this business model is part of what created the opportunity for FrontPoint to build a large base of subscribers and establish our excellent reputation in the first place.

      Yes, we do business the right way. You may rest assured that if we ever need on-site technical assistance, we follow the requirements of the jurisdiction (such as NC) – although there is such a large network of authorized GE Security companies, we never have to resort to an electrician. That being said, the FrontPoint setup is so easy that the incidence of needing help with an installation is well under 1% of the time. And as for remote troubleshooting, that is easy with Alarm.com… so easy that in over five years, we have had only “truck roll “for service. Only one! That record speaks for itself.

      It certainly sounds from the way you describe your business practice that you are indeed one of the good guys – so our congratulations. I respect the ethical and comprehensive approach that you describe, and only wish there were more of it out there. You are right about an educated and happy consumer staying with you – we are the poster child for that approach. The fact is, each summer there is more of the “other’ type of behavior. Last summer is generally accepted as the worst year on record for door-knockers trying to “poach” other companies’ customers, and word on the street is that this year will be worse. There is just too much money chasing too few new customers, so ethics can go out the window.

      As for the offer you describe for your company, it’s very generous, in my experience. But there is a catch: the real difference may be in what happens when someone wants that extra door. Is is only $32.99? How about a motion – is it only $64.99? Those are the prices we charge. I suspect your prices are roughly twice ours (or more), once you start adding equipment – that is the norm in the industry. And that’s because the average home will need more devices than the basic system you describe, and we sell an average of 10-12 devices per home. In my experience the small “teaser” system that many companies offer is just that: but with FrontPoint, the more equipment you purchase, the more you save. That’s why we end up costing 1/2 to 2/3 what other companies charge upfront for the average home, and with lower monitoring fees.

      Yes, there is plenty of business to go around for good companies, and it sounds as if you are doing it right, too. The notion of giving people a choice, providing all the information they need and want, and then letting them make a decision on their own time should not be the exception – it should be the rule. Thanks again.

  15. Anonymous

    I just wanted to comment on the subject a bit and offer some insight of own personal opinion. I am in no way speaking on behalf of Vivint as a company, and have kept my name anonymous to follow company policy. I have worked with Vivint for 6 years now, and I lead one of the top sales teams as a sales manager for the company. Reading the stories of upset customers is always a disappointing thing, and I wish more could have been done to satisfy those customers. However, I’d like to address the issue of these problems being spun on this blog as a vivint behaviour rather than an individual behaviour. To set the record straight, all the government actions, all the aggressive tactics, misleading information to customers, everything I’ve read on this blog is actually a result of somebody not following Vivint’s policies and procedures. Having seen the company grow over the years, I’m consistently impressed with the measures they take to ensure quality and ethical business practices. It is not taught in our trainings to lie to customers, but as we all know, not everyone has the highest moral standard. I apologize that these people exist in our world today, but reassure you that when they are caught within our organization, action is taken in a serious manner to rectify the situation, often including termination of the employee.
    As this blog is well aware of what we offer and at what price, I’m wondering if they would care to inform the readers of their total costs for the average customer? For the same system we offer for $99 and $68.99/month, I’ve received quotes from FrontPoint for their ultimate monitoring for $49.99/month, but with an upfront purchase cost of $800-$1500, depending on which salesperson I spoke with. Doing the math, even on our currently longest contract term of 42 months, I’d say the price points to the customer are very competitive. Our system did however, receive a couple Consumer’s Digest Best Buy Awards. And our service may be a different story from that of FrointPoint’s.
    For starters, customer care starts with communication and availability to reach your security company at anytime. I love the fact that I can talk to a live customer care rep at vivint anytime of day, any day of the year. This wasn’t the case when I called FrontPoint outside their hours of operation (8am-10pmEST).
    Technical service is a high priority as well, and Vivint’s mission to provide the fastest service in the industry is unparalleled. With an average alarm response time of less than 8 seconds, we’re proud to be known as fastest and most reliable. We want our customers to feel safe knowing who’s monitoring their home, and we push ourselves to excel in this area. Our People’s Choice Award for Customer Care and numerous other service awards are a testament to this.
    Lastly, innovation in this sector is not even close when comparing our company with others. We are excited to see more improvements made in the security alarm industry, and now with a $2billion investment backing, vivint will be further progressing its development with vivint solar, vivint Internet, vivint automation, and vivint home healthcare in the near future. It’s great to be involved in an organization that not only creates jobs and employs thousands of people during rough economic times, but they care enough to give back to communities they serve on a regular basis through the Vivint Gives Back Foundation. Vivint’s mission to protect families, increase energy efficiency, and simplify lives has never been as apparent as it is today, and although we’ve had some growing pains and rough patches in the past (like any successful company would have), it’s great to see that Vivint maintains a 99.98% satisfaction approval rate from those we serve. Feel free to visit our website http://www.vivint.com to see for yourself our commitment to excellence. There’s no shortage of positive reviews and news articles on our company, and I expect we’ll be seeing more of them as Forbes has listed us as number 46 on their list of America’s Most Promising Companies.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Anonymous/Cronus, for your thoughtful and reasoned comment. Clearly you committed some real time to formulating your thoughts, and I have done the same in responding here. In the first place, please understand that I am a long-time participant in this industry: in fact, I started out at SecurityLink in 1989, before many who sold door-to-door this past summer were even born. In other words, I may not have seen it all… but I’ve seen most of it. And my previous alarm industry experience includes time at companies that invested a significant amount in selling door-to-door: this sales approach is not new, and will doubtless be around for a long time. What is new is the degree to which door-knocking has evolved into something that has resulted in so many complaints, lawsuits, fines, etc. In fact, numerous BBB offices now report that alarm company complaints, which were never that bad before the Utah-based approach reached significant scale, are now at the top of the pile. This is clearly a bad trend, and it hurts not only the companies creating the complaints, but also the overall reputation of the industry – we may eventually all suffer from door-knocker sins.

      Now for specifics. Congratulations on your tenure at Vivint, and on your success there. But as for whether there is “spinning” on this blog, I disagree – I think the facts speak clearly for themselves. It’s very convenient to claim that the countless door-knocker complaints stem from individuals, and not a specific company: however, when so many individuals are generating the complaints, and there are thousands of unhappy consumers whose appeal to some higher authority has resulted in the significant actions taken by local and state governments across the US, the “rogue” defense fails. I don’t have to make this up – it’s all a matter of public record. And it’s not just Vivint – other companies (Pinnacle being one) are reputedly worse in this regard. Witness their BBB rating of “F” vs. your BBB “C+” as a case in point. My point is that the essence of the door-knocker business model encourages this behavior, and you must agree that the business model is absolutely the responsibility of the company. There is outrageous competition for good door-knocker sales reps, so commissions are too high. Then there is the script, which by widespread reports is intentionally perceived by many as misleading, and the results are predictable. Otherwise, why would a door-knocker salesperson approach homeowners under the guise of a “marketing representative” who is just looking for attractive lawns to place a yard sign, in exchange for a free system? That’s only one example of the “script” that is provided by the companies. Why not just tell the truth? And with real pressure on reps to perform, and commissions as high as they are, is it any wonder that door knockers are tempted to poach – so that they increasingly start approaching homes with yard signs of other alarm companies? What do you expect? Then there is the pressure in the home itself: door-knocking reps know that the odds of making the sale once they leave the home are much less, which leads to the legendary hard sell to close the deal right then. That way the homeowner has no chance to shop online, read reviews, or think about the purchase. Your business model begs for some abuse – and you get it. You can establish and print all the “policies and procedures” you want, and that does provide some cover when the complaints do happen, but it’s wearing thin: the standard reaction is exactly what you state – that these are just a few bad apples. The point is that the business model incentivizes door-knocker employees to act contrary to those established rules: how else can you explain all the problems? I am also interested to see that employees who lie are disciplined, “often including terminated” when caught. I can personally guarantee you that ANY TIME someone here is caught lying to a customer, especially in the manner we are discussing (fraudulent and deceptive practices), there is no question about termination – they are gone immediately. We don’t have a “three strikes” rule at FrontPoint.

      As for pricing, may I suggest an easy solution? Allow customers to see on the Vivint web site exactly what a configured system costs, combined with exactly what they will pay per month, so they can directly compare. Better yet, allow the homeowner time to make the comparison, by providing a detailed quote and the opportunity to evaluate competitive offers on their own schedule, before they commit. That’s what we do, and it works very well for us – as our reputation for consultative and informative selling would indicate. We all know that the average home merits more equipment than industry teaser “three doors and a motion and a fob:” probably the home could use another door or two, another motion and/or a glassbreak, and then there’s fire, CO, etc. What does Vivint charge for this additional equipment? More than FrontPoint, I guarantee you. Here are a few examples.

      Smoke sensor or motion sensor: you charge $120, we charge $64.99.
      Door/window sensor: you charge $60, we charge $32.99.
      Glassbreak: you charge $120, we charge $74.99.
      Garage door sensor: you charge $120, we charge $44.99.

      And so on. It adds up quickly, and the more equipment the customer wants, the worse it gets with your pricing, and the relatively better it gets with ours. Without knowing what equipment you specified when calling us, it’s impossible to make the same comparison you did – but people can easily compare the pricing shown above, and the monitoring fees. Then add the fact that our customers can add any sensors at any time, simply by calling or emailing us, at the same low prices, and with far greater convenience. It is good that your monitoring prices are published, and yes, you are right: for the same full suite of services from Alarm.com we charge $49.99, and you charge $68.99

      Speaking of service, I am glad you raised the issue. Not all of the complaints about door-knockers are about how they sell: plenty are about the installation process, or about service after the fact. In the first place, I am glad that you did not present the same young recruits that didn’t make the cut as salespeople, and are then pressed into service as installers, as “seasoned veterans” with much technical experience. In fact, just the opposite may be true. It’s not uncommon for a door-knocker system to be installed immediately after the sale, giving rise to a greater sense of pressure and urgency sensed by the homeowner. And when a system does not work, how hard is it (and how long does it take) to get the company back to make it right? Perhaps your service record is better than your fellow door-knockers, but the complaint files are full of stories about teams who “moved on” to the next city once they were done saturating a city, and service can be hard to come by. Again, all one has to do is read the complaints and negative reviews all over the web. As for after hours service, all you need to do is let us know you need a call – and that same live person will call you back, 24/7. No difference there. You also forgot two important FrontPoint features: we offer a 30-day risk-free trial, during which the homeowner can return their FrontPoint system for ANY reason for a 100% refund, including return shipping (we already pay the shipping to them). Compare that to the standard door-knocker “three days and we gotcha” policy. Just read the complaints about numerous companies (including yours), when people try to cancel after 72 hours and one minute… Another FrontPoint benefit is the ability to move the system with you, and it’s does not cost a dime, or restart our contract (which is only three years to begin with, unless someone wants a one or two year contract for a higher upfront equipment cost – more FrontPoint flexibility). I think you are being somewhat selective in your comparison of companies and business models, but that’s okay – this is an open forum.

      Central station response can be confusing, and unless you can explain exactly how you calculate your alarm response time of 8 seconds, it does not mean much. Is that time from when a signal hits the receiver to when it appears on an operator’s screen? Or does the operator have to accept the signal to trigger the end of the measurement period? There are other variables as well, and it’s easy to play with these numbers to get the result you want. I’ll match our central station response time against yours any time – sounds like they are both great, and not a matter of concern for customers of either company. You may think of yourselves as the “fastest and most reliable” – but that is hardly an industry consensus, or a rating that I have read anywhere.

      Your last paragraph seems to equate size and quality, among other topics. I think ADT is a pretty good example of the fact that the biggest is not always the best. And as for innovation, it might serve to remember that only one nationwide alarm company has used safer cellular monitoring in every system it has ever sold, or installed smarter interactive services in such a high percentage of systems. FrontPoint leads the industry in both regards, and there are others – such as higher retention and the best online reviews you can find. But perhaps most important is our sense that in a truly great company everyone cares, and everyone counts: it should not be necessary to “break a few eggs to make an omelette,” as the saying goes. We expect to have the same sterling reputation and overwhelmingly positive reviews from all sources (not just on our web site!) regardless of how large we are. The “growing pains and rough patches” you refer to are ongoing, as evidenced by a news headline I just saw come through today. I’ll leave you with this, since it flies in the face of the standard door-knocker defense that the high levels of complaints and malfeasance are old news. Here’s the link:

      http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/55291/

      Topeka, KS – A Utah home security alarm company has agreed to pay restitution, fines and investigative costs after being accused of violating Kansas consumer protection laws. Vivint, Inc., has issued refunds to 19 Kansas consumers and paid $55,000 in civil penalties and reimbursement of the state’s investigative costs. In addition, the company has agreed to abide by the Kansas Consumer Protection Act in future transactions. The settlement of this case was filed as a consent judgment in Shawnee County District Court. The case against the company resulted from an investigation by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. “Kansas law regulates the conduct of door-to-door sales to ensure that Kansans who are solicited at their homes are not rushed or pressured into making a purchase,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “We take seriously our responsibility to enforce the law.” The company was accused of using a variety of deceptive practices while going door-to-door offering to install new home security systems or replace existing systems. The Attorney General’s Office said the salesmen failed to advise the consumers of their rights under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and did not disclose all costs associated with switching alarm system providers. Kansans are reminded to be wary of door-to-door offers, especially when the salesman is pushing unsolicited goods or services. Consumers should always seek multiple bids and consult reputable, local companies. Any consumers who feel they may be victims of deceptive or illegal business practices are encouraged to file a report with the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-800-432-2310 or visiting http://www.ag.ks.gov link.

  16. Mr. Wilson

    Many of my neighbors whom are seniors are upset at Vivint. They hired ARM a bunch of salesman to solicit alarms. They go around poaching other alarm company customers who are still under contract. They do not explain that there are penalties if they cancel their current alarm system. Most feel like their part of their existing alarm provider until they see their new sign and a new 42 month contract at a higher rate than most alarm providers. This is clearly fraud and something needs to be done about it. I would recommend people to go with a local alarm provider who has been in business for awhile and who has not changed their name. The fact is that if they interview these customers they would find it was deceptive sales practice and it is happening in your neighboords by vivint.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Mr. Wilson for you comment – similar to others posted here from California. The idea that door knockers prey on the elderly is a recurring them in several of the lawsuits and other government actions taken across the US against some of these companies, and the poaching issue is well documented. In fact, we have already heard that poaching may be even worse this summer than it was last year, because the stakes are higher than ever for these companies to sell more systems. Our advice is the same: be very careful when someone comes to your door selling anything, and make sure you have time to research the company before you make a decision. Reading about complaints and bad reviews after it’s too late is no fun, and these door knockers apply all kinds of pressure to sell on the spot, and install a system right away. If they can’t give you time to consider your purchase – like FrontPoint’s 30-day risk-free trial – then that may well be a bad sign. Thanks again.

  17. Andrew

    Hi, my name is Andrew and I currently work for Vivint as one of the door-to-door sales reps. I personally feel that it’s unfortunate that there are people in the door-to-door industry who use aggressive sales tactics. It makes the job that much harder for guys like me, who actually do things by the book and work hard. I was always upfront with the customers I sold to. I would tell them the price was $49.99, the contract is for 42 months, and you get a 3-day right of recision. I worked for 3 months (May, June, July) and I sold 69 alarms. 59 of them stuck–that’s about 86%. I think that any alarm company would be happy with an 86% retention rate. I feel that if I, as a salesman, am honest and direct with people, I will have better retention. That is my philosophy.

    I am not here to say Vivint is better than FrontPoint, I think they are very similar actually. But I will say this: don’t count a Vivint salesman as a scammer the minute he comes to your door. Chances are, he’s a hard-working honest guy like me who just wants to make a living to provide for his family. Just because he chooses to do it on his feet instead of behind a desk doesn’t mean he’s a scammer.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Andrew – Thanks very much for your comment. I like the tone of your response, and can state that the point you make is an excellent one: the majority of people selling door-to-door with integrity should not be lumped in with the minority that chooses not to play by the rules. Where I believe an important distinction lies is when a company (and Vivint is only one example, and far from the most egregious in this respect) continues to employ people who knowingly flaunt the accepted behavioral norms of an industry to the extent that states and other jurisdictions start taking action. In my opinion, that is the point where it makes sense to look deeper at the company, and question if the unsavory behavior is “accepted,” as opposed to strenuously opposed. Again, and this is my opinion, I don’t think there could be so many fines, lawsuits, and government actions unless the culture of the company turns on a blind eye on overly aggressive selling – and in some case, “fraudulent and deceptive practices” (not my words, but the words used by the states who took action).

      I admire your approach, and your success – and I am sure there are plenty of other reps at Vivint and other door knocking alarm companies who are just as upright as you are. My beef is not with you – but with any company that does not insist on your behavior and code of ethics being the ONLY way that reps are allowed to sell. There is, unfortunately, too much evidence that this has not been the case. Thanks again.

  18. Tyler

    Nice marketing scheme to downplay Vivint.. It’s interesting that you’d say the best customers are the ones that call in. Well the smart companies (especially sales orginizations) are the ones that seek outbound and inbound sales and the best customers are the ones that are taken care of. The goal for any business is to increase revenue. So how can you hate on Vivin?. There’s a reason they’re the 3rd largest alarm company in the US in only 16 years and there’s also a reason they just got bought out by Blackstone for 2 billion dollars.. And a C + isn’t bad considering Vivint monitors over 600,000 customers. Also, any negative bbb complaint is a reflection of sales agents that don’t uphold to the highest integrity standards. Not the company. Granted, sales agents are a reflection of a company, however when you have over 3,000 sales agents you’re bound to have a few bad seeds. Anyway, I’ve been a sales agent for numerous alarm companies and none of them are as on point as Vivint. Plus, aren’t you using GE Simon xt which came out like 10 years ago? And your equipment isn’t professionally installed. The FEW customers I’ve seen with your company claimed they had to install their own system.. Lol anyway.. The little guys always wanna talk trash on the big guys, but good luck keeping up with Vivint.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Tyler – thanks for your comment. The reason we say that the best customers are the ones looking for a product or service in the first place is that those customers are more likely to keep the system over the long term, and not just becasue they are “required” to do so by a monitoring contract. When you knock on someone’s door to sell them a product or service and they were not looking for that product or service not begin with, you may well sell them to begin with, but it may not stick. Door knocking alarm companies have the highest levels of customer cancellation, and one thing they have done is to take the normal contract terms (three years) and extend it to five years, just to hold on to the customer longer. We work with potential customers who were looking online for home security, so our approach involves much less pressure and more much consultation – and we have a much lower rate of cancellation to show for it. It’s not that one is right and one is wrong, we just like to do it this way. But another area where you see a stark contrast is in customer review and complaints – and even government actions. It’s no secret that Vivint has been involved in lawsuits and paid fines, and the issue range from overly aggressive sales tactics to accusations of fraudulent and deceptive business practices, up to last year. The canned responses such as “It’s only a few bad apples” and “That’s old news – we are much better now” really don’t carry much weight in the face of so much negative press from consumers. We don’t “hate on” any alarm company: we just want all the players in this space to act with integrity and behave in a way the reflects well on the industry, instead of creating a bad reputation for alarm companies in general. It’s not that hard to do it right, but it takes strong leadership and hard work to build a good company culture that respects the wishes and rights of the consumer – all the time. Thanks again.

  19. Brooker

    Now a days home security systems plays a very important and vital role in our life.
    It’s a really a very good advantages for us.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Brooker. appreciate the reinforcement!

  20. Angel

    I also had not one but two Vivint alarm systems installed, one for my parents and at my house. The sales person was very nice but full of misrepresentations. They told me that there systems was compatable with the ADT system, no problem The system was installed on August 8th 2012 the first day my mothers alarm kept going off. The technician came out twice before she decided she would never use it again. 1 week after my system was installed, the low battery alarms kept going off. after the technician would show up to “fix” the problem, two weeks to the day the system would go off again, and again and again. Each rep blamed the other for the mishaps and the last rep, who by the way was the lead technician, was sure there wouldn’t be any additional problems. Two weeks to the day, the Low battery alarm and I wanted it removed. I’ve been asking them since the problem began to remove the system and they want to stick with their contract. Their equipment almost caused my house to catch fire. I pulled all of their equipment out of my wall and got my ADT back. The ADT Technician confimed that this company’s equipment is not compatable with theirs and showed me the charred outlet and plug. I filed a complaint with the BBB and Vivint responded that a technician should come out to determine if they can repair the system. haven’t they been listening, their techs, Lead Tech’s that is have been here four times and Steve Jackson, Lead Tech said “I don’t know what to tell you maam”. Don’t get this system and fight like hell to have them cancel the account. You don’t want it.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Angel – Thank very much for your very detailed comment, and I’m sorry that both you and your parents have such negative experiences with that other company. According to many other complaints I have read, you really hit the mail on the head when you referenced a nice salesperson that was not necessarily giving the whole picture. A common concern with the door knockers is that they will say almost anything to get the sale – those high commissions earned by the sales people (and the generous “override” commissions that could be earned by sale managers all the way up the chain of command) must provide a powerful incentive to do whatever it takes to get your signature.

      It’s really frustrating when you trust an alarm company to provide peace of mind – starting with telling you the truth and giving you all the facts – and then it does not turn out that way. If there is anyone you want to trust, it’s your alarm company! It’s good that you were persistent in trying to get them to fix the system – and even better that you filed a complaint, since sometimes (and especially for these companies) that may be only way to get their attention. There are those in the alarm industry who believe that APX Alarm changed its name to Vivint a couple of years ago in part to “escape” all the bad reviews and customer complaints that were out there. If that is the case, it did not work, since all the BBB complaints transferred to the new company, and word about sales and service problems has gotten around.

      Lastly, it’s not surprising that they fight like the dickens to hold you to that contract. Most alarm companies (FrontPoint included) do have an agreement that commits you to a certain time frame of service, in exchange for significant upfront discounts on equipment. That being said, most alarm companies use a three year initial terms (Vivint often uses a much longer five year initial term), and if there are significant service problems, such as what you and your parents experienced, most alarm companies are smart enough to know when to let you out of your agreement. That’s another frequent complaint about these door knockers alarm companies: it may requires an Act of Congress to have them cancel the agreement and give your money back, no matter how bad the problem. Not smart business, I say. Thanks again, and good luck to you and your parents.

  21. Leigh Ann

    My son had vivint installed in his new home in July 2012 and had referred Jaden the salesmen to me. Jaden called we set up an appointment and regretably we purchased the system. I felt under extreme pressure the night he was here, and before I could say anything there was a technician here installing the system. The technician started installing at about 8:30 PM that evening, and was actually here till 12:50 AM THE NEXT MORNING!!! First of all I thought that was terribly rude to send out a technician to install when we were not aware the installation would take place that evening and continue into the next morning when we both had to get up at 5:00 AM and go to work the next day, VERY RUDE!! The technician did quickly go over the operations of the system, but I’ll admit, we were both very tired at this point, brain cells may not have been functioning the best and I was a bit irritated by this point. We have had the system installed about a month now, the billing is terribly messed up, my name was terribly misspelled, I called and spoke to Chris about this and was told “not to worry about this”. I questioned this since the billing is so messed up especially with the automatic withdraw. Now we have problems with the system and customer service is HORRIBLE! We have a system that beeps continually, my husband has called, I called yesterday and really lost my patience with Chris again. He told me he had to schedule an appointment for thursday between 2 PM and 5 PM, I told him three times that no one would be home during that time, he said he had to schedule that time slot and someone would call me within 24 hours to “reschedule”. As expected no one has called me. This is a terrible way to handle customers. I am in sales, and very successful at my business and if I were to treat clients the way we have been treated, I would have a miserable income. Even though we have signed a contract I am not beyond having an attorney look at this “contract” as I feel that I have been misrepresented with this product. I am so upset with this situation that I feel I have no recourse except to have an attorney review this especially with the customer service issues I have faced now and I feel that Vivint does seriously misrepresent their products. They have some very slick salesmen!! Since this is a holiday week end I will give it till the end of Tuesday to have someone call me and come out to address our concerns. I will take this case to the Attorney General in Missour by Tuesday if I don’t have a response from Vivint. I am not counting on a response based on the other comments on this website. At this point I wish I had stayed with ADT.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Leigh Ann, for your very detailed comment here. What a great example of the door knocker approach to home security! I am sad to report that Vivint is not alone in the practices you describe, but as the largest of the “knocker” companies, they are the most high-profile indicator of what upsets a growing number of homeowners. For one thing, it’s pretty standard for these companies to install right away – since instant installation “completes” the sale more quickly. You are much less likely to have a system removed after it’s installed than you are to cancel a contract within the three-day “cooling off” period required by the Federal Trade Commission for in-home sales. That means people are also less likely (i.e. don’t have time) to go on the Internet and check out the company before the installation – so homeowners don’t find the complaints until the system is actually on the wall.

      This door knocker approach is a high-volume, high-pressure, and “big money” approach to providing home security. Providing alarm services should be about peace of mind, but that seems to have been left out of the equation somewhere. It’s not clear at this point how much longer these companies will be able to continue this business model: at some point the fines, penalties, lawsuits, and overall resistance of homeowners to high-pressure sales and fraudulent tactics will cause these companies to clean up their act, or risk becoming irrelevant. As I have stated elsewhere, I don’t find that this way of doing business is good for the alarm industry. Your story is just one more (excellent) example of why not.

      Thanks again.

  22. Eddie Auwae

    I too have had some bad experience with Vivint just days after having my system installed. Within 7 days I’ve had 3 false alarms. I did ask to cancel, and yes they did give me some options, one of which was to swap out the 2 motion sensors that they had tried to fix the problem by replacing the batteries and may also have replaced one of the monitors, and had the same thing happen on the same day. There will be a technition coming to my house and explain to me the options available and I’m glad, cause I would like to talk with someone face to face,whether it’s the sales person or the technition. I will show them some of the of the things that I’ve read, this should be fun.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Eddie – thanks for your comment. Most of the complaints about Vivint (whether at the consumer of governmental level) have to do with high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentation, and even “poaching” other alarm companies’ customers. But you remind me that there are also technical issues, which is not that surprising when you consider that the installers are mostly college kids who were recruited for the summer. There was also a recall on tens of thousands of the alarm control panels that they sell, due to them overheating and possibly catching fire – but otherwise we hear the equipment is pretty solid. It is more a question of whether the technicians can install and program the equipment properly: while it’s not rocket science, since the sensors are wireless, there are things you need to know, and good technicians can spend years learning all the tricks. I am not surprised that they are trying to hard to keep you from canceling – it costs a lot to create those “door knocker” accounts, since only about one out of every 100 people approached actually sign up. Hope it works out for you – let us know! Thanks again.

  23. James headley

    Did the BBB pay this guy to trash Vivint? Simply because Vivint wouldn’t pay the Bbb money? I do not think whichever low budget security company that you represent could do a full home automation system for a 99 acto and 68 a month. In actuality you would probably sign people up with a LAN line system and tell then they are fully protected which everyone knows can be shut off from the outside. Yes Vivint has complaints, have you ever seen Verizon’s complaints? Yet they the largest and best cell phone provider. The fact is Vivint provides equipment and monitoring for cheaper then it’s competitors. The best part is the equipment is amazing. The only other company with those capabilities I’ve seen is ADT and they charge HUGE up front rates. So all you skeptical people calm down nut up and make a decision not everything is a scam.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, James, for your comment. I could enter into a spirited debate with you on equipment and service pricing and functionality, but I will let people make up their own minds based on information they can easily find on the FrontPoint website. After all, we have the most transparent offering you can find find on-line, as we tell folks exactly what everything costs up front (Vivint does not). For example, our Ultimate level of monitoring is $49.99, for everything. Vivint’s equivalent is $68.99 a month for essentially the same Alarm.com services. It’s not quite the picture you paint.

      More broadly, and as one can tell from the back and forth in the comments here, the general door knocker debate is impassioned: on one side there are serious proponents of Vivint and other door knocker alarm companies, and on the other are the folks who feel they have been cheated, manipulated, and lied to. I suspect both sides have a valid case to make. While it’s certainly true that more homes are protected now becasue of door knocking, does that mean that the end justifies the means? Is it okay to make fraudulent claims, operate without a license, prey on elders, and steal the customers of other alarm companies? These are all tactics that door knocking alarm companies have been fined and sued for in multiple locations, and it’s pretty easy to find the evidence in government actions and public court records. I for one do not feel that “anything goes” in protecting homes and families – and there seems to be a growing public sentiment that is moving in the same direction. Thanks again for commenting here.

  24. Dave H

    I appreciate all the information provided on this site. And thank you Mr. Rogers for taking the time to professionally and respectfully reply to all the comments. I just spent an hour sitting with a vivant salesman and I will share my experience.
    It just so happens that I was considering a security system for my house before the Vivint salesman knocked on my door, but I haven’t really began my research yet. I ALWAYS do my research before I buy a product or incur another monthly bill. Its a habit I learned the hard way. His sales pitch was pretty much the same as most reviews I have heard. I will say he was very respectful and was not very pushy. However he was very persistent, which I do not mind for the most part. I can respect someone who is doing what they can to make a living. I know how to say no to a product that I dont want or need. So I went ahead and let him give me his sales speech. I watched all the videos he showed me, and read through the brochures he provided. His whole sales pitch was that Vivant is a brand new company and trying to market their product in a neighborhood with “selected” houses, and that it was all free because they are banking on there product/service “taking off” in the neighborhood. I knew better than to believe that but he was a young kid trying to make a buck so I thought I would go ahead and let him finish his sales pitch.
    This is what he offered.
    $3,000 worth of equipment (alarm panel, security cameras, thermostat, motion detectors, and a wireless key pad for my door)
    $25 to $30 off my electric bill
    $0.00 or “waived” install fee
    and there were a couple of other offers but I wasn’t really paying much attention at that point to be honest.
    To get all that I just need to pay 68.95 a month for the service and $99.00 to activate the service, which could be split up in 3 months. So when I didn’t agree for the service right away, he tried offering me 3 days free trial. I simply told him that I am considering a system for my home and I was very pleased with his product presentation, but I will have to discuss this with my wife and do all my research first. He was very receptive to my answer and gave me his number and asked that I call him if I decide to go with Vivant.
    After reading all the articles I have read both positive and negative and the spot on arguments I have read on this site, I called the Vivant salesman back and told him I appreciated his time, but there are just way to many complaints, news reports, articles, and concerns for me to invest in his service. My experience with the Vivant salesman was positive, and have no complaints there, but I don’t trust the reputation of Vivant enough to put myself in a contract with them.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Dave – Thanks for your remarkably balanced, informative, and thoughtful comment here. And yes, I make the effort to reply to as many comments as possible – which is pretty all of them that are printable!

      There is certainly a healthy and spirited debate on the topic of door knocking alarm salespeople. Your experience indicates that the Vivint sales rep was persistent rather than pushy, and the former is certainly preferable to the latter. I am of course concerned about the false approach to the consumer: Vivint is ten years old, not “new” by a long shot, and they have not altered that pitch much over the years. I wish they could just be up front about who they are, and what they are up to, but they seem to feel that this way works better for them. The sad thing is that even if people like the service (and want to pay those high fees), there is often a lingering sense of resentment that the sales rep pulled one over on the customer – and that is too bad. In the long run I don’t believe it has helped Vivint’s reputation. As they are now for sale (in whole or part), these reputation issues could affect the perceived value of the company. Here are some words I used in a reply to a Vivint fan in a recent comment:

      “More broadly, and as one can tell from the back and forth in the comments here, the general door knocker debate is impassioned: on one side there are serious proponents of Vivint and other door knocker alarm companies, and on the other are the folks who feel they have been cheated, manipulated, and lied to. I suspect both sides have a valid case to make. While it’s certainly true that more homes are protected now becasue of door knocking, does that mean that the end justifies the means? Is it okay to make fraudulent claims, operate without a license, prey on elders, and steal the customers of other alarm companies? These are all tactics that door knocking alarm companies have been fined and sued for in multiple locations, and it’s pretty easy to find the evidence in government actions and public court records. I for one do not feel that “anything goes” in protecting homes and families – and there seems to be a growing public sentiment that is moving in the same direction.”

      Thanks again for your comment.

  25. Ms Kennedy

    Two young men just left my front porch. The doorbell rang at 9:00PM. Did you get that? The hour when people are gearing down for the evening, and getting ready for bed. That is an absolutely unacceptable time for anyone short of a close friend or relative to be knocking at my door.
    Yes, the Consumer does speak loudly these days, and this particular one would be remiss in giving you my business when you have such a lack of consideration of peoples’ personal life by sending your sales staff out soliciting at these hours as part of company policies.
    My out side lights were not on. But they say lights on in the inside. Courtesy is part of customer satisfaction. I spoke to Isaac. The young fellows’ manager. He was polite and apologetic. Isaac said he would address it. This should be addressed company wide. Not just at a local level. Thank you for your time and attention.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Ms. Kennedy – I am glad that our company (FrontPoint) is not the subject of your complaint, since that is not how we offer our systems. And I am truly sorry to hear that you have had this unpleasant experience with door knockers – and frankly, your comment reminds me once again why I am so happy that FrontPoint does not use this sales method. As I’ve stated here on many occasions, it’s not every door knocking alarm company that is guilty of creating these issues, and certainly not every door knocker, but the situation is getting worse: I’ve seen more complaints this summer then ever before, some of them involving door knockers claiming to be from an homeowner’s existing alarm company just to get into the house. I hope you and others who have had negative experiences with door knockers continue to express your concern and dissatisfaction to the companies themselves. Thanks again.

  26. Kevin Blake

    I’m sad to see sooo much Negativity being thrown at vivint. We have had the system for 2 years now and absolutely love it!! We had front point before switching to Vivint. Vivint’s monitoring is much much faster(i dont think front point even does their own monitoring) and the customer support has been excellent. Most of These complaints are truly ridiculous, contract length and regulations are clearly outlined on the agreement we signed, maybe these consumers need to just wisen up and read their contracts. Also vivints tecs were very professional and helpful as they installed our system… Front point sent us the equipment in the mail and had us instal it OURSELVES!!!? No wonder they have lower complaints than vivint, vivint was hands-on service all the way, front point was harldy even involved in the sales or installation process!! We have been more than satisfied with our Vivint system and are just 1 family in a group over 1 million that ownes and loves vivint!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Kevin – Thanks very much for your comment. I am actually glad to hear that you have had a good experience with Vivint – because so much of what hits the news is not good. It is surprising that you can’t find more positive reviews, with that many customers – I think that says something about them as well. By the way, the Vivint customer number is well under a million, just to set the record straight! You are right that FrontPoint works with an independent monitoring center for 24 hour response – Rapid Response. In addition to being UL listed and FM approved, Rapid has the highest level of accreditation in the alarm industry: permission to monitor commercial fire alarm systems in the city of New York. I know how hard it is to get that, having put my old company through the process, and it took me two years. In our book, that kind of selectivity means peace of mind. Only a handful of companies have that NYFD permission – and Vivint is not one of them.

      As for the complaints about door knockers, I do not agree that most of them are about contract length or language. That kind of issue would not result in the lawsuits, fines and government actions in multiple jurisdictions that are based on fraudulent and deceptive practices, licensing violations, “poaching” alarm customers from existing companies, and even preying on the elderly. It’s not every salesperson, or every company, but the incidents are not isolated: there are just too many of them. And as for a system you can set up yourself, that happens to be the way the industry is trending. When it’s all wireless, including the cellular communication, you don’t need a technician. Adding a tech to the equation just adds cost to the consumer – somebody has to pay the salary and vehicle expense. For example, our Ultimate level of monitoring costs $49.99, and includes interactive monitoring, video, and Z-Wave home automation from Alarm.com. Vivint offers essentially the same thing – for $68.99. Over the course of 36 months, that a difference of $684 – that’s if you can get Vivint to offer a 36-month contract (it’s usually longer). I’ll take the savings, please, and the knowledge that I can easily add to the system any time, and even move it with me, and I don’t need a stranger in my home at inconvenient times. So, if you are happy with Vivint, good for you – but the consumer speaks very loudly these days, and it’s very hard to ignore all our positive reviews – or all their negative ones. And by the way, I could not locate you in our database as a former customer, either by name or by email…

  27. Devonmax

    I was visiting my mother in a pleasant Philadelphia neighborhood and she received a door to door sales call from 2 vivint salesmen. Their tactics were extremely aggressive, time consuming and not respectful of our time. The deal was for a free 3 year contract, a wireless system would be placed in exchange for displaying the placard on the front lawn. Too good to be true. As a home owner looking to switch to a wireless system myself, they hit the wrong house as I have done extensive research and saw through their presentation. However, for the elderly who have little understanding of the technology, they played up the security of person and health aspect and used somewha technical terms that my mother could not understand.
    I also had logged on to this site and noted theses posts. The tactics were exactly the same. Needless to say, she did not purchase anything. I am fairly certain that my mom was targeted because she was elderly.
    I wanted to post this to track geographically where the tactics are being used. Hope this helps someone else.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks very much for this timely comment. How nice for your mother that you were there at the time, and that you had done your homework. I always think it’s great when these pushy reps encounter a house where the residents can see through the hype, as opposed to giving in. And the approach you describe is the classic script that is taught to the thousands of door knockers each spring, before they fan out across the US: I am a marketing representative looking for especially attractive homes, like yours – we just want to put a yard sign in your lawn to advertise our company, and we’ll give you a free alarm system in exchange. Sadly, this pitch works all too often, and people end up with a system that they did not necessarily need, want, or understand – and in some cases cannot afford because the monthly fees may be inflated.

      I read and hear quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that the door knockers are targeting the elderly in particular, and playing on their possible fears to make the sale. Sadly, many older folks are less likely to do Internet research on a company – even if the door knockers gave them time to do this – and it’s on the web where one finds most of the news and warnings about the overly aggressive tactics used by many of these alarm salespeople.

      Thanks again for your comment – and please give us a call if we can help you with your system. We promise to be completely transparent, informative, and consultative – they way alarm company representatives should be!

  28. Jennifer O

    I had a door to door salesman come today. He did his spill. I thought it sounded great. He came back a little later and i actually signed a contract. After he left i started looking online and found all these complaints. Do you think i can i get out of this since they have not installed my system yet and they do not have any informaton to get a payment from me.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jennifer – Thanks for your comment. I wish more people had the time to do their research before signing the contract, but the door knockers don’t usually don’t give you time to do that. It’s all about the pressure to get the sale now, and get that system installed right away. But you may be one of the lucky ones: if you did not provide the information for them to bill you, you may have an easier time negotiating out of your contract than most people have. The standard is only three days to change your mind, and then you are stuck. Unfortunately, most alarm companies don’t follow FrontPoint’s example, which is to provide a 30-day risk-free trial. With FrontPoint, you can return the system for any reason and get a complete refund: just one more thing people like about us.

  29. Skeeet

    So I just finished an orientation with a vivint door to door sales pitch. Being in sales and NEVER signing any contractual obligation without doing my research and reading the contract I will say he had a good sales pitch but that’s what they are there for. If you want out of the contract just file a claim and be sure to mention that you were under the influence of a prescription drug (legal) or alcohol. To make a long story short I was going to put an alchohol dispenser in my place of business but after doing the Research found that any contractual obligation my customers made while under the influence would be null and void in a court of law. E.G you weren’t able or in the correct state of mind when signing the contract. Not sure about all states but definitely in California. Food for thought. I didn’t sign and have decided to go with the local company that hasn’t changed names and has been doing business in my community for over thirty years, even if it costs a little more money. NOT TO MENTION KEEPING YOUR MONEY LOCAL IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Skeeet. It’s great to get more input from the trenches of the door knockers wars – and to many in the alarm industry, it has become a war over customers. Fraudulent and deceptive practices are bad enough, but when these folks start pretending to be from your existing alarm company (and that is what’s happening now), then it gets pretty rough. Unfortunately the customer is stuck in the middle – and sometimes ends up with two alarm bills. Glad you were smart enough to chose another direction. Local is good, by the way, but just make sure you are getting cellular monitoring and access to the interactive services that make these systems so useful and user-friendly. Many of the local companies have been slow to adopt the latest technologies, like smart wireless video, remote arm/disarm, free mobile apps, text and email event notification, and even remote control of lights, locks, and thermostats. There are some local companies who make it a point of staying current on these offerings, but it’s not the norm for the the smaller guys to be early adopters – at least in the alarm industry. Thanks again.

  30. Tina

    I’m pretty sure you can just buy your grade from the BBB and theyll delete complaints if you pay them enough..it was on the news. BBB is not even a good valid source to get any info from.. :/

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Tina. I’ve seen the interviews and read the same reports on the BBB, and share some of your concerns. But it’s also true that lots of companies who are accredited by the BBB do not have the highest BBB ratings, while you can find a ton of companies with A or A+ ratings from BBB who are not members. So it’s not as simple as it may seem… As I have said in my posts, it’s not really the rating that I look at, but the number and the nature of the complaints, and whether they are resolved, that helps me form an opinion about a service provider. For instance, you can look at a company like ADT (B+ rating) and it’s 3,707 BBB complaints, and compare that to Vivint (C- rating). Vivint is the door knocking alarm company much in the news of late. ADT has 6,000,000 customers, so 3,707 complaints is a lot, but perhaps not that terrible. Vivint on the other hand only has about 600,000 customers, but has 1,397 complaints. In other words, with only one tenth of the customers of ADT, Vivint has almost half the number of complaints. Clearly something is happening there – and it’s not good. And the companies’ respective BBB ratings just happen to be a good indicator of that. By the way, FrontPoint has an A- rating, with only 10 complaints over the same three years.

  31. David Domincki

    But wanna remark on few general things, The website design and style is perfect, the written content is really fantastic : D.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, David. It just happens we completely overhauled our web site and released the new version only last week – so the timing of your comment is spot on, and much appreciated. We have also gone way out of our way to be even more informative, transparent, and helpful: with videos, clear explanations, and the ability to design and even purchase a complete FrontPoint system on your own, if you so choose. But of course we still have our large (and always growing) staff of Security Consultants and Support personnel to help you with any questions. Thanks again!

  32. Patrick Copell

    A salesperson came to my door and said I was selected to receive a free system just for the lawn advertising. He was very good and could tell it was going to be a bit pushy as I am used to salespeople at the door. However after a bit I did tell him I had no more time and wanted a card so I could call him back to schedule a proper time to discuss. I just wanted to have time to find reviews.
    After he left I talked to a neighbor who uses them and went online and found this blog along with others.
    Seems to me they are no different than many door to door people. They certainly present a rush feeling when in fact there is all the time in the world to say “not now”.
    Not much of a difference between them and time share salespeople or infomercials that tell you that you need to call within the hour to receive something special when in fact you could get a good nights rest, shower, shave and do your taxes and still get the deal any time you call.
    I honestly have no problem telling anyone I am not going to impulse buy and they are wasting their time if they think I will sign up on the button for anything ever. But if they want to give me the pitch and give me a day to review they are welcome to continue.
    Perhaps if more people knew how to deal with this tactic, you would see less complaints on this issue. Other than that most other complaints deal with canceling subscriptions. But even canceling my gym membership was a pain in the rear end. For some reason companies try real hard to keep from having you cancel. Imagine that.
    Fact is these salespeople are earning some of the hardest money there is to make. I did it with storm windows back in the day. But I was low pressure and I didn’t sell as much as most. Maybe that’s why I appreciate inside sales.
    It looks as though this alarm company may not be the best there is. But what they do and what they have to offer is pretty obvious. Since a ton of complaints are sales tactic related, I will study their systems and prices along with a few others including whatever system Mr Rogers is pitching via complain blog and figure it all out in my own time.
    Chances are you will not see me post a complaint just because I can’t handle a pushy salesperson in my own home. And since I will review the cancellation policy in extreme detail and since I ask more questions than a 6 year old, I won’t be complaining it’s a pain to cancel my policy.
    I just wanted to chime in that my salesperson with this company was easy to handle. And some people just need to learn how to control themselves and their issue with their own gullability

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Patrick – Thanks for you comment, and I totally agree that most people should be able to fend off your average pushy salesperson at the door. Sadly, many people are not able to do so, and find themselves saddled with a service (and an obligation) that they really did not need, want, or understand. To make matters worse, the situation is deteriorating even further in the world of door knocker alarm sales. The latest trend is for the pushy salespeople to approach the homes that have competitor’s yard signs displayed, and claim to be from the company currently serving the homeowner. Then they try to get a new contract signed with their own alarm company – in effect stealing the account, so that the customer ends up being billed by both companies. It’s called poaching, and we’re hearing reports from around the US of this happening more than ever. I guess some of the door knockers figure it’s easier to steal an account than to create a new one. Check this video of a news report on poaching – and this just happened:

      http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=321011

  33. tjswann

    Thanks for this blog site,i was approached by a very aggressive sales rep,had a unique uniform on,we were unloading items from our car,first he ambushed my wife for 5 to 8 minutes,then as i proceeded to approach him,my wife went inside,he gave me this free spiel,showed a list of neighbors who he spoke with,had stars by two on the list,called one out who was a police officer in the past.
    This guy was so presistent,told him i was in a hurry,however, we talked,i recorded over 30 minutes,he noticed at one point,so after all the new tech,he was offering,i waited after he called in to his contacts,we were chosen,to be a test home,he was choosing (4) four that day,(w o w).After telling how free this would be,it got down to 1/2 free installation,over 3 payments of $33.00,and $60.99/month,and add in $8.00/month for thermostat.
    Within 10 minutes another service rep pulls up in a small car,tool belt,orange color uniform,with vivant color,asame as first guy.Glad i woke up next morning,and read this blog,we have 3 days on contract to cancel,so i’m going to bank first thing this a.m.,since yesterday was a holiday,and bank was closed.The speed of the presentation and installation is overwhelming to say the least,tag-team at it’s best,it’s all about the consumer to make a hasty decision,i did ask about the 3-day cancellation to both of them,both looked dumb-founded,so i willh check out their cancelation policy today,and hopefully check them out,before we stop service with our present carrier,f.y.i.seemed to be college students,from mid-west area,getting paid great commissions,and a great sense of urgency,tech told me i was #4,and he had another one in 15-minutes,these guys move very fast,got his authorization code #,wouldn’t give me his phone #,but got first guy’s phone number.What is next,will be interesting,to see if i can get out of this messy dilemma. Hope this will help someone be AWARE of these PRACTICES? ………..

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, and wow – what a classic example from the trenches that spells out exactly how these folks operate. It’s hard to read your comment without certain words jumping out, like “very aggressive,” “ambushed,” “persistent,” and “overwhelming” that are common themes in these door knocker interactions. The reality is that these folks push very hard, and have to make the sale on the first call: that pressure is a major factor in their high cancellation rates. Alarm customers deserve to need, want, and understand what they are buying, as opposed to giving in to signing a contract just because someone is in your face. I also noticed the total monthly fee of $68.99, which is high: we have three levels of service: $34.99, $42.99, and $49.99. Our highest level is the exact same suite of Alarm.com interactive services as Vivint, but we sell it for $49.99, or $19 less a month. Over the course of three years, that’s almost $700 – real money, in my book! Do your homework, and exercise your rights as a consumer, if that is your choice.

      You are great to provide this first-hand experience, and I’m sure others will learn from it. Thanks again.

    • Sinkoo

      I totally agree as I am a rieertd law enforcement officer with 22+ years. I would like to add however that in our business, or from a homeowners stand, prevention is the key along with detection and response.I wish Vivint would understand the need for a better visual sign (orange is fine, but outline the white letters in black) and bigger window stickers. A good visual window sticker measures 6 x4 , not the 3 x1 that has been shipped to my house twice.If the burglar sees a security sign on the windows and on a yard sign, they will go to the next house that doesn’t have any visual signs of security. If the burglar can’t see the window sticker, or can’t read the yard sign, sure enough he or she will break in.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Thanks for your comment – and you are right on target. Studies have shown that a home with clear evidence of a monitored alarm system is only one third as likely to experience a burglary as the unprotected home next door. By the way, FrontPoint signs are extremely readable, and we provide large window decals – the “static” ones that are easy to remove for window cleaning.

  34. M. Barilotti

    a door-knocker from this Vivint company was just here. She told me she wasnt selling anything but that the “emergency response system” in my area was being upgraded. She said all I had to do was allow a Vivint sign on my lawn. She showed me a list of my neighbors names who have agreed. She deliberately tried to misconvey that the upgrade was my city or community emergency response system. I caught on quickly and sent her packing and I’m glad I did after checking this website….thanks

    • Peter M. Rogers

      This is just one more scary story about the lengths some of these door knocker sales reps will go to to make a sale. As I have said in other posts, it is giving the alarm industry a bad name: that’s why many alarm companies are working hard to raise awareness of these tactics, which are at best deceptive, and at worst downright fraudulent. I wish more people checked for complaints before signing up, but the door knocker script applies constant pressure and does not allow the unsuspecting homeowner a chance to do their homework. Good for you!

  35. scott

    Vivint salespeople have been harassing our neighbors for about a week now – I couldn’t believe the emails we rec’d from our neighbors (we have a small neighborhood watch group) until we experienced it firsthand today.

    This afternoon, there was a pounding on our door that wouldn’t stop and when we answered, a Vivint sales guy started with his spiel – we told him to leave and informed him that he was trespassing. If anything it encouraged him to become more aggressive. Again , we told him to leave and he kept talking and inching his way toward us. Finally, when we took a photo of him and rang 911, he departed. We found out later that he went to another neighbor and said he was from the City! Yup, we reported him to the police, and will file with the BBB and our State’s Attorney General. He has threatened other neighbors and our biggest concern is for the elderly and vulnerable.

    This marks the first time we’ve been subjected to abuse by a company that we never have and never will do business with.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Scott – Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Nothing is more powerful than real stories from the trenches, and yours is a classic account of a door knocker encounter. It’s easy to see why there have been so many complaints, fines, lawsuits, consumer protection cases, and other remedial actions about these companies: Vivint just happens to be the largest of them, although others have even worse records. The standard response from the door knocker companies on these complaints is twofold: (1) it’s only a few bad apples that are this aggressive, and (2) this problem has already been recognized and fixed. Sadly these responses simply don’t get it done. In the first place, it’s not just a few bad apples: it’s the culture of these companies to teach aggressive sales tactics. And the irony is that they more aggressive they are, the harder they make it for themselves, because the complaints just keep mounting up. In the second, it’s clear that the problem is ongoing, and has not been solved – as your story demonstrates. Stopping these negative behaviors would require a fundamental change to the door knocking business model: not likely, as long as these companies continue to sell so many systems. How long the homeowners keep the services before canceling them is another story…

      One factor contributing significantly to the situation is the commissions made by these young people (in many cases they are college students): the potential earnings for a summer is so high that it encourages the behaviors. Because the managers get an “override” on the sales of their teams, they are apt to turn a blind or eye, or worse, even encourage aggressive or fraudulent sales tactics. But it’s also the culture of the companies: they know that the sale has to be made on that first approach to the homeowner. Once the homeowner has a chance to research the company, read the complaints, compare offers, and really understand what they are signing up for, the odds of the sale go down drastically. That’s why these kids hate to come back – they know you’ll change your mind, so they push really hard for the sale on that first visit.

      The alarm industry is not happy with these door knocking companies, for reasons that are becoming increasingly obvious. Not only do the door knockers make the alarm industry look bad with aggressive (and often deceptive) tactics – they also have very high cancellation rates compared to other alarm business models, which hurts the overall perception of monitored home security. Suffice to say if you want to retain alarm customers, they should need, want, and understand what they are signing up for in the first place. When the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and law enforcement agencies across the US are issuing warnings on these companies and the way they do business, clearly there is a big problem.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience. Hopefully the word will continue to get out, and more people will just close their doors to these hucksters – as hard as that may be!

  36. company sales

    We are a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive activity and our whole community will probably be thankful to you.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      You are most welcome – and good for you! We need more willing volunteers at the community level.

  37. Commercial Window tinting

    You can definitely see your expertise within the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks – glad you like the posts.

  38. Bonita May

    I have been taken by this sorry company too. My husband and I were approached by “APX” three years ago via “door knocker”. we had money at the time and listened to their sales pitch. We asked if we could think about it and was told that they need to do this today because they wouldn’t be in our area for another month. My husband said, then tell me how much it would cost to simply pay the whole contract in full that day. They called the “manager” and we were told that the whole pay off for installation and three years of service would be $1647.00. we paid in two payments on my husbands visa, one payment for the install and one payment for the contract as agreed. i asked the sales person to write on the contract that it was paid in full. she sneakily wrote “pay contract and activation in full”. now it is in collection due to “non payment”. my husband prides himself on paying his bills and his credit score is or was in the 800′s. this is devistating to him! We asked, “why would I pay that amount of money if I had even a clue that it wasn’t paying the contract in full”? they couldn’t answer that. I am now searching for an attorney in the hopes that i can recoop at least my husbands good credit standing. but if we can shut this company down, that would be even more satisfying!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Bonita – This is a sad story, and I am sorry to hear it. As I have often repeated, it’s not all the door knocker companies who conduct themselves in this manner, and only a very small percentage of the sales reps in the field. The problem, as I see it, is that there is too much money in commissions, and not enough supervision at the managerial level – a bad combination. the result is that you get “rogue” sales people who use very aggressive sales tactics, and in some cases may resort to fraud and deceit. That is why there are so many complaints, lawsuits, and bad reviews – and why there are so many governmental actions taken against door knockers in the forms of fines, injunctions, and prohibitions from operating in some jurisdictions. Many alarm company operators agree: it’s not good for our industry, since we are all painted with the same brush.

  39. Sept

    We recently went through the exact same problems as the ones described in this forum. This company cam knocking on our door one day, told us that we could sign up for this service for 18 months and asked us what day we would like to have the $50 withdrawn from our account. Well, they started taking the money out early, when we went to the bank to straighten it out they started taking it out in lesser amounts early so that they could get around the block. Then they told us they’d repay us the fees that accrued because they caused overdrafts in our account by taking the money out before the debit date. Then they told us they’d give us three months free for the hassel but never did. We were tired of the lies and wanted to opt out of the contract since they’d breached it in the first place. Next thing we knew, they claimed that our contract was for 3 years, then later they said 5 and they wanted 1700 to close the account.When we refused they claimed they’d close the account but they didnt they just switched it over to the homeowners name and started sending her bills and credit threats. I dont want to go too deep into detail here but I do want to make this point. This is malicious and abusive behavior on the part of the company. Is this something that we as customers can come together to put an end to? Not necessarily put the company out of business but stop the abuse and get justice for everyone who’s been suckered into this so far- those who paid the early cancellation fee, those who’s contract have been breached by the company but can’t get out of it still? We can’t accept this kind of abuse by a company who’s obviously had bad business practices since their existance which is why they’ve changed their name but not their abusive practices.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Sept – Wow, thanks for your very detailed response to the blog. I hear these stories more and more, which is not that surprising when one considers how pervasive these door knocking alarm companies have become. But I am sorry that you have had this service nightmare, and I hope you have reported your experience to your local Better Business Bureau office, and to the other folks who could help you (local TV stations, local papers, your State Attorney General, etc.). It happens that several of these companies have had to pay large fines to settle with a number of states for violating licensing laws, committing deceptive and fraudulent business practices, and other issues. It’s not every door knocker company, and it’s not every person knocking on doors, but clearly there appears to be a culture in their business model that may encourage making the sale at any cost, and then trying to hold an unwilling customer to a contract that may not have been sufficiently explained. What you describe, which sounds like a fast-talking salesperson followed by a major run-around, should not go unreported. And by reporting these issues o consumer protection agencies, you may succeed in getting the relief you want and probably deserve. Thanks again, and good luck.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        You are most welcome, Alan. It’s not often I find something you have not already known about! We think any service that increases home security and peace of mind is a good thing.

  40. Tobias

    Hi, so um… I have vivint. They didn’t knock on my door, I’d done some research [didn't find frontpoint because Google doesn't love you, and MORE FRIGHTENINGLY, when I used alarm.com to see who offered service in my area you didn't come up (Oddly, you do now, along with other newcomer to my results SafeLife, it used to be just CPI and Vivint)] and called them directly as they were offering $100 off install at the time.

    I’m still within my ROR (got it extended due to issues with my motion sensor detecting cats and being told a glassbreak would have too many false alarms due to a dog, who really only barks when he thinks there’s an intruder anyway) and so I was looking into other options, mainly to save money. I tried one very local company that sold their own equipment and so monthly costs were lower, but then I found that to have phone-arming I’d have to pay another $7.50/mo _per type of device_, so while with FP it goes from $35 to $43/mo (still ridiculous in my opinion, are you paying a licensing fee to alarm.com?), it would go up $15/mo if I wanted to use a phone AND my laptop to arm. And according to the guy, another fee if I want to use a desktop, not sure how that works at all. Besides, after the sales of all of their equipment and the monthly fee, it amortized out to MORE than I’m paying with Vivint.

    So, looong story short: Vivint is reasonable compared to buying outright through said local company, apparently. And, with all the added fees from other companies to get what I want, I’m actually saving money even if I decided at the end of the 42 month period (3.5 years) to leave them, I might be saving money anyway as I could, then, purchase fancier equipment as the other companies finally catch up.

    I hear, though, that service calls after 120 days are $45/each, but that can be waived, yada yada.

    As an aside: I have no idea what they charge if you do cancel and they have to come take the stuff out. Contract says there’s some kinda fee.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Tobias. I hope your experience is a good one. And the good news is that you have a system, which is clearly better than not having one! Not sure why you were not able to find us originally, as we would have liked to help you, and could have saved you some money. For instance, the full service “Ultimate” level of monitoring costs only $49.99 from FrontPoint, including intrusion, fire and environmental, free mobile apps, notifications and remote control, video, and home automation for lights, locks and thermostats. It’s the best value in the alarm industry. Vivint charges $68.99 for the same level of service… it won’t take long for that to be a much more expensive arrangement.

      I’m not surprised that the local company was heaping on the fees for the additional services: there are only a few national companies who really “get it” when it comes to offering a comprehensive service level that does it all. Companies like FrontPoint! Good luck to you, and thanks again.

  41. Lou

    Sure wish I would have done my research! Vivint came to my home tonight stating they were looking for a couple of homes to market their product in exchange for the security system (a $2000 value). The very nice rep called the company which approved us as a market home. I was so surprised when he said the installers had to come tonight for the install. They were here within 15 minutes even though I had asked for an install tomorrow due to having to put my child to bed. They installed the entire system so quick and were all so professional and nice and the system seems really nice. I was so diappointed when I read all the BBB complaints and the Government Actions and then I found your blog. They did inform me that I had three days to change my mind. Do I still have three days even though the system is installed already? I am in California and the California Government Action did mention the installs are completed before the three day cool off period so am I stuck? How should I proceed?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Lou – Sorry that you were subjected to the classic door knocker sales tactic. Sounds like a text book version of what these companies say: they are only looking for a couple of homes (particularly attractive homes, of course) for marketing purposes. Hundreds of thousands of people have fallen for this same spiel, so don’t feel like you’re alone, by any means. And they are persuasive, polite, and most of all, driven. That’s why the installer shows up right away. They know that as more time passes after the sale, you have more time to change your mind – or do that important homework. But you DO have three days to change your mind, even if the system has been installed: so, if that is your choice, you may want to act IMMEDIATELY to protect yourself. I cannot tell you to do that – but I can tell you what your rights are.

  42. Colin Cunningham

    I agree wholeheartedly with Ryan regarding the fact that this whole blog is a very cleverly masked sales tactic. Not everyone will see through this but as someone in the sales field, it is to me, glaringly obvious. Indeed I will be somewhat surprised if this reply is included in the blog or not.
    I have been in sales for over 30 years and one thing from my early days has stuck firmly with me and that is that any company worth its salt will never, ever denigrate the work of another company. This blog of yours does nothing but. It is one thing to advise people to do their own research but that is not what you are doing here Mr Rogers.
    It is also one thing to point people in the right direction but to so mislead the public by making out that door to door salespeople are going to automatically be people to distrust is a tactic which is beneath even the most desperate and cynical salesman.
    ADT is the largest security company there is and has scores, if not hundreds, of satelite companies or franchises, working with honesty and integrity under the ADT banner. These companies do use either employees or contractors to help bring in business and one method of doing so is to do it the old fashioned way and go door to door, meeting prospective customers and in many cases, converting them to actual customers. Yes, I am one of the thousands of honest, hard working people who does just that and I have never once lied to, or in any way misled a home or business owner in order to secure a contract. In fact, as I write, I have seven unsigned contracts in peoples homes giving them the opportunity to read them from front to back and to contact me either with questions or to have me back to collect the signed paperwork. On meeting a prospective customer on their doorstep and in order to explain fully what I am attempting to do, I mention three main things — length of contract, what happens if a contract is broken and all prices for activation and monitoring. At no time do I ever tell the homeowner that the equipment is free. Instead I tell them that the monthly investment covers both monitoring and equipment cost recovery. Maybe I have one advantage however and that is that I have been broken into 4 times over the years and so I know first hand how devastating it is to be the victim of this, type of crime. I therefore really do care about safeguarding the property of the customer and beating the scum who perpetrate such attacks on peoples lives.
    You infer that just because a company doesn’t use door to door sales methods, that company is somehow more trustworthy that those who do. What nonsense. The small independant contractors like me are quite simply human beings attempting to pay our bills like anyone else and I surely cannot afford the high cost of advertising in the variously accepted ways. I therefore have no option but to get out there the old fashioned way and hope that people will trust me and allow me to be of help to them.
    People like you stoop to new depths when you attempt to negatively influence the minds of my prospective customers and to potentially, in so doing, put me out of business just so that you can boast that your methods are more honest than mine. In conclusion Mr Rogers, I would ask that you concentrate on honesty and integrity in the way in which you advise the public on what and what not to do regarding who and who not to trust when considering home security. I would put my honesty and integrity face to face with yours any day and sleep very well that night.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Colin – Thanks for your comment. It is, frankly, rare that someone puts as much thought and effort into constructing a blog comment as you did, and I compliment you. I also compliment you on the professional and completely above-board approach that you describe in presenting your products and services to potential customers. You could work at FrontPoint! But I am afraid you mistake me. If you read through the many blog entries I have posted on door-to-door sales, you will see that I do not say that all and any door-knocking companies are bad, or that all door-knocking salespeople are bad: it’s simply a fact (demonstrated by the preponderance of evidence from fines, lawsuits, government actions, and warnings all over the country) that there are increasing numbers of “door knockers” using fraudulent and deceptive sales practices, along with high-pressure sales tactics, to a degree never before seen in this industry. It’s bad enough that our industry already has a checkered reputation: the “bad” door-knockers are simply making it worse, when even the FTC feels obliged to step in and issue a blanket warning on door-to-door alarm sales. Frankly, that hurts all of us. The only aspect of the alarm industry that is more or less in the clear is the monitoring component, because most central stations are good – especially if UL listed. But when it comes to marketing, sales, installation, service, and customer support, the alarm industry is not highly regarded. Even billing and collections are areas of significant consumer dissatisfaction. In my opinion, ADT is one of the worst alarm service providers – and just happens to be the largest and the one that most people have heard of. Happily, alarm shoppers are getting smarter, and are examining their options, such as using review sites and other tools to compare and shop competitively. That will help the good companies, and those companies who offer poor service (or do not sufficiently control their sales people) will become increasingly evident and, I hope, suffer. I grew up in the “traditional” alarm business, which is based largely on shoe leather for sales, and have known some of the best security consultants in the business: professional, honest, and qualified. They are still out there, for sure. The problem is that they are not the only ones selling, and that it’s getting worse instead of better. I don’t think of my blog as a cleverly masked sales tactic. I don’t even think of it as a tactic, or being masked at all – it is just one man’s informed opinion. That being said, I happen to be relatively well informed on the alarm industry, having been involved for over 20 years (and I respect your thirty years in sales). And I also know that it is possible to do this right: not half right, or mostly right, but 99% right, if you commit to complete transparency and honesty in sales and marketing, and offer advanced technology, world-class service, and affordable prices. As online reviews show, there are alarm companies doing just that, and I believe FrontPoint is one of them. The sad truth is there are not more of them. Thanks again – and I do hope you are somewhat surprised to see this response to your comment.

  43. Ryan

    If everyone reading this can’t see it’s a big sales tactic. Your blind. Every alarm company makes you sign a contract. Unless you pay the 700 to a 1000 minimum it cost for equipment and installion. 95 percent of the BBB complaints are from the sales end of any door to door company. Read your contracts pay your bills. Simple. Now I’m not saying companies dont make mistakes or there customer service people don’t get on power trips every now and then. But on the whole most door to door companies will offer great service. And take great car of there customers. Try to find a company that keeps there contracts in house your are more valuable to them. If you live in Florida Apt is a great smaller company that will take great care of you.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Ryan – There are many aspects of your email to which I could take serious exception – but I do want to thank you for your comment. The fact is that the thousands of complaints racked up by the door-knocking alarm companies indicate some real problems. Vivint/APX is just one of these companies – and happens to be the largest, although not the worst. Yes, alarm companies use a subscriber monitoring contract (even FrontPoint does that) – but the real purpose of the contract should be to explain everyone’s rights and obligations, and not as a weapon to hold a consumer to a purchase that the consumer perhaps did not need, want, or completely understand. And that is where the problems arise, with pressure sales tactics and outright fraud, especially when these companies are knocking on doors. There is just too much evidence of wrongdoing, as indicated by the long list of government actions (fines, lawsuits, etc.). But again, thanks for your comment.

  44. Ken Bales

    Hello, Peter. Tonight I was searching the web and came across your site, “Home alarm sales – Better Business Bureau issues warning on…” (www.frontpointblog.com). I started reading your blog out of curiosity. I found one of your comments interesting, and I quote
    “FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door and we don’t plan to sell that way in the future,” end quote. I just happen to live in a community that has a non-door to door solicitation policy (the sign is posted at the entrance of our community). When I came home tonight (true story), I found a flyer that someone had left at my front door. To my surprise, especially after having read your blog, the flyer is from FrontPoint Security. I certainly don’t have an “ax to grind” with you or FrontPoint. However, since you are a Security Expert with over 20 years experience, and you are in management with FrontPoint Security, I just thought that you would like to know that someone from your organization is going door to door. The person either wasn’t informed by FrontPoint Security that he wasn’t supposed to be “door knocking” and selling door to door, or he was simply violating company policy. Either case, one thing for sure is that he ignored our community’s non-solicitation policy. Yep, that someone is, “Rep ID: 9811839, and I have his three page flyer, titled, “Home Security Finally, Made Better. FrontPoint Security is 100% wireless” to prove it. Just thought you would want to know what one of your “reps” is doing in the field.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Ken – Thanks very much for your thoughtful and detailed comment. Using the information from your informative post, I was able to pinpoint where the problem originated – and that is, a representative from an affiliated company that markets several products and services (including ours), and who is using the method you describe without our permission or authorization. We are extremely clear to all our affiliates and partners that door-to-door is something FrontPoint has steered clear of, since it has spawned so many complaints about the alarm industry – even when there is no direct interaction (as in this situation). I strongly suspect that the person in question “stretched” the rules: even though they may not have been making in-home presentations, door-to-door is still door-to-door, and your community makes it clear that the practice is not allowed. We have dealt with this situation, and we are taking steps to tighten up our procedures for working through affiliated companies: please accept our apologies, and again, thanks for your comment. We worked hard to earn the excellent reputation we have, and we are not about to risk that through a third party company breaking the rules.

  45. steve a. charles

    To Vivint Home Security customers, if you do an engine search, you will learn that Vivint of Utah has been “red flagged” by the B.B.B. in Utah, due to well OVER 1,000 various complaints filed against them since 2009, and most complaints were filed by various State authorities! Need I say more?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Steve – Thanks for your post. Clearly there are some flaws in the door knocking alarm sales model, as the breadth and scope of the complaints against this company (and others) is way out of proportion to most alarm companies. Part of the problem is that the sales reps are paid very high commissions, and that creates temptation. We also know too much about the culture from previous employees to believe that it’s just a few bad apples: let’s face it, these companies do not punish overly aggressive sales tactics to a sufficient degree. If they did, there would not be this number of complaints! Thanks again.

    • Roxy Aleena

      If you do your research the bbb is also under investigation.

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Thee are complaints about the BBB’s grading system, but the real issue here is the sheer number of complaints, and the nature of those complaints. And one needn’t take the BBB’;s word for it – just read the government actions taken by multiple states against certain alarm companies for licensing violations and fraudulent or deceptive business practices. You may not like the BBB, and they are not perfect, but in this case, they are just one one voice raising the alarm – no pun intended.

  46. Erik S.

    I had the APX alarm installed about 3 years ago and prior to APX changing their name to Vivint. Having completed my payment agreement I chose to cancel my service in July 2011. I called Vivint and stated my desire to cancel my service and after the typical ‘what can we give you to stay speech’ I was told they required a written letter on top of the phone call to cancel service. On the same day I called, I typed out a cancelation letter, signed and dated it and mailed it. They received the letter in July and I assumed our business was concluded. On November 18 2011, while reviewing my bank statement I was surprised to see a charge of $43.29 from Vivint! A further review of past statements revealed they never stopped billing me. Once again I called Vivint to see why I was still being charged for their service. Their representative informed me that I was supposed to call after I had sent the letter to tell them I hadn’t changed my mind in the interim of me writing and their receiving the letter. So, Vivint, want me to call, write a letter, and then call again, to cancel my service. I requested a refund of $43.29 x 4 months or $173.16 for the over billed amount. I was then told if I would not be refunded and that I could seek legal counsel if I wished. I was floored for lack of a better term. This was the first time I have ever felt completely ripped off by a company.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Erik – thanks so much for your detailed comment, and I’m sorry to hear of your unfortunate interactions with APX/Vivint. From the many complaints you can find on-line (at the BBB and elsewhere), you are not alone in your experience. It seems that as most alarm companies get larger, their size becomes more of an obstacle or an excuse than an advantage in meeting their customers’ expectations. Brink’s was a wonderful exception: they were large, but treated their customers very well. Too bad ADT absorbed them…

      The sad truth is that many homeowners feel cheated and taken advantage of by alarm companies – and that fact may help explain why only about one in five US homes has a monitored alarm system today. The alarm industry in general does not have a great reputation, and your account gives a great example of why. Happily there are some alarm companies that are committed to doing business the right way, and staying on the right side of customer service as they grow – companies like FrontPoint. We know we are not perfect, but we have worked hard to develop the best on-line reputation of any nationwide alarm company. That takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Thanks again, and our condolences.

      • Ssndymahadeo

        04/27/12 at 7.pm One by the name of AlbertoTel#3474741081fromNY was trasferto me by his so call Company VIVINT tel#12532468514.He was so charming &sweet oabout his VIVINT security system the bargain he give was too good to be true he want to give me every thing free then he said he need my info I said OK he then ask me for my date of birth I said no way i dont know u he said u dont believed in me or my company i told him i have to find out what your company all about he didnt answer for a few second may be he was freeze after I ASK R u there he keep pressureing me for my info he said if i dont do it now i will loose my chance It’s a 1time thing i was selected in my neighbourhood I said good for those people may be another time,right away I when and look it up I was shock of that scam,thiefing VIVINT COMPANY i couldnt belived i would have been in HELL alive thank god. I am so sorry for every one who got rob by those 2 thieves make GOD laught ‘they r bigger thieves I hope justice will serve one day they will sorry showing up at the wrong person house.after everything that is publish about them& still calling people to robe them SHAME ON YOU.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Sandy – Sounds like you got away without making a bad decision, but what you experienced seems to follow a pattern that is all too familiar. In fact, there are so many complaints about these door knocker companies across the US that some of them have been fined by states for deceptive sales practices and even prevented from working in certain jurisdictions. The companies say (of course) that it’s only a few bad apples: the fact is, these sales representatives are trained and compensated to push hard for the sale, and it has to be on the first visit. They know that if you have time to do your homework and read the reviews, the odds of you signing up are much lower, so that explains the urgency. Thanks for your comment.

  47. Dan

    Are all door knocking alarm companies bad? What do you think about B&D security monitored by Monitronics?

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Dan – Thanks for your question. B&D is located in California, and ranks high with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Their web site has very little information – when you click on “About Us” the site says they are working on it! For a company that has been around since 2003, not sure why that would be the case, but perhaps they are focused less on a web presence and more on the door-to-door approach. The fact that they are a Monitronics dealer is a generally a good thing, although I am aware of at least one large Monitronics dealer that was fired by another dealer program, so that alone is not enough of a quality indicator. The best test of the company is company reviews – and they are hard to find from customers. If you are talking to them, make sure there is no pressure in their approach – and shop the competition so you can compare offers.

      • Jen

        So by reading your reviews/responses, no company is good enough, unless it’s your company?

        Thanks for the help, that sends off red flags!

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Jen – Thanks for your comment. Anyone reading my blog is of course free to draw their own conclusions. Of course, what I hope shoppers will do is a lot more research than just reading my words. In other words, people should do all the research they can BEFORE they make a decision, instead of feeling pressured to make a decision on the spot by a pushy door knocker. There is a reason we have such great reviews, and about 1% of the complaints of a company like Vivint. And trust me, that are not 100 times bigger than we are! We just take a different approach, one that includes transparency, consultation, and world-class service.

          Door knockers know that if they leave without a sale, the odds of getting a signed contract drop dramatically. That’s why they are so pushy in the home: they don’t want people to shop and see the complaints. Of course, this approach just leads to more complaints, which is the door knockers’ dilemma. I would not do business that way, regardless of the “success” of the company – it gives this industry a bad name.

  48. James Bello

    Vivint / APX Alarm,

    Well to say the least they are criminals the system will protect your house but not your pocketbook. I signed up with APX and lived in the house for 2 years after the system was installed. I signed a 3 year contract with them and had to move. when i moved they stated i needed to retain the service as i signed a three year deal. they would not take back the system they just wanted their money for the rest of the contract. Ok very mad but i did sign a 3 year contract. So after a very heated conversation with them i decided it was not worth the argument anymore and paid the balance for the remaining year roughly $600 and told them to cancel. now all most a year and a half later i get a bill at my new address saying they are going to send my outstanding balance to collections. the bill was for $200 (4 months) they state that since they did not receive a written cancellation notice they renewed my contract for 1 year. Ok it gets even better when i contacted them stating that i canceled this service they said ok so i would just need to pay for the remaining term of the 1 year extension ($600). they where unwilling to do anything about this. After threatening a law suit reporting them to BBB talking with almost all of their management staff they finally credited me for the one year extension but this took hours and action before they would do anything. They say they are a alarm company but all they do is steal!!!!!!!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      James – Very sorry to hear about your negative experience. APX/Vivint is not alone in some of these practices, but they do push the envelope where other companies are more flexible, and more consumer-oriented. That is one reason they have a higher cancellation rate than many of their competitors, and lots of complaints and bad reviews. As for hanging tough on the initial term, many alarm companies (FrontPoint included) lose money on the equipment, and make that back over time – that is where the initial contract term makes sense for the alarm company. Unlike Vivint, we offer a one, two, or three year initial term, and adjust our equipment discounts accordingly. It’s more flexible for you that way. As for the renewal, again Vivint is not unique in trying to hold you to your one year renewal, but after the initial term (and once they have made their investment back) it should not be so hard to cancel. Clearly you had to go to extreme lengths, but it sounds as if you prevailed. Well done!

      By the way, one more great advantage of a FrontPoint system is that you can take it with you. Just take down the sensors, unplug the control unit, and tell us when you leave the old home and have moved into the new home. No charge, not contract extension, just good customer service. Easy set up is one of our most popular features.

  49. Larry Haley

    Sorry I did not find this site until after I did business with Vivint. Upgraded my system and the salesman ask for a check for over $600 with the remainder of the upgrades to be billed in three monthly payments. In less than a week vivint was calling asking for thier money and was told to call the salesman. They were given instructions they did not have authorization to bill my credit card for anything except the difference in the check and what was owed but they billed my credit card for over $800 plus they have the check. I told them I was filing a complaint with BBB and will probably file a complant with the states attorny general for unauthorized charges to my card. Shanon at vivint who I spoke with did not care. Also spoke with Ryan at vivint and he was told the same thing about not being authorized to charge my card. As a note the upgrades do not work half the time. This thermostate I was suppost to be able to change over the internet has not wored at all, the camera’s are part time and I guess I will be installing another door lock as I have no faith in the one they installed. I have no faith in vivint and guess I will have to install additional equipment to monitor my home when I am not there. Wish I had read the reviews prior to doing business with them. Have not found one good review and not sure why a company does not understand customer relations.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Larry – Very sorry to hear your story. One of the best pieces of advice offered by the BBB, the FTC, and others is to make sure you check out any company before you buy. The door-knockers make it hard to do your homework: they really don’t want you to research them, since if they have to come back, the odds of getting the sale go way down. That explains the pressure tactics and the frequent bogus claims: it’s certainly not every door-knocker rep, or even company, but it happens enough to cause government fines and penalties (see the BBB site for individual companies’ records) and tons of complaints. As for Vivint, a common response I hear from their employees is, “We’re so big, of course we have complaints.” It should not be that way: size should be an advantage and make good customer relations easier, instead of creating an excuse for poor service. Thanks for your comment, and again – sorry about your experience.

      I get a lot of “push back” for my posts on the door knockers – and most of it is from the employees of the door-knocking companies, not from their customers. That tells me a lot! Some of the comments I get I literally cannot reprint, sadly – remarkably defensive and laced with profanity.

      • Larry Haley

        Actually this company was recommended by Service Majic and I see they have a good rating on Angies List. I plan to complain to the NC states attorny general about my issues as I tried to resolve with Vivint and they did not care. I guess that is the too big to care attitude. I am not sure but I think there are some laws in this state with the over charge being more than $500. Thanks

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Larry – Thanks very much for your comment. When you refer to “this company,” I think you mean FrontPoint, since we do work with ServiceMagic, and we are very highly rated on Angie’s List all across the US. If that is the case, then a double thanks for doing your homework on us, and passing on what’s easy to find on-line: lots of rave reviews on FrontPoint, and virtually no complaints. We work extremely hard to provide excellent service at a fair value, so it makes us happy when our efforts are recognized. As for your observation that Vivint may be “too big to care,” that is exactly the feeling many alarm customers have about Vivint, ADT, and a few others others. But bigger is not necessarily bad: Brink’s Home Security (later renamed Broadview) was the #2 company after ADT, and they were known for great service – that is, until ADT bought them, and things went downhill fast. Many of those former Brink’s customers have made the switch to FrontPoint, for more advanced technology and the kind of service that they (and you) deserve. Thanks again, and good luck in your quest for satisfaction.

  50. Amy

    So glad I found this site…Just got off the phone with a Vivint sales person trying to sell me their home monitoring system (equipment would be free- as long as we paid the monthly monitoring rate). We were dupped 4 years ago by another company that went door to door, got the equipment for free, paid the monthly fee until they went out of business, and never ever were able to figure out how to even use the stupid system. So, when I received this phone call today, I was very wary of the info the salesman was giving me. When I googled Vivent, I found a host websites offering complaints and found yours with all the information I needed to make my decision to not bother with them again. Thank you so much!!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Amy – my pleasure, and thanks for your great comment. It’s remarkable how big some of the door-knocker alarm companies got in a few years, but not surprising that there is a rising tide of resistance against them, based on the number of complaints and governmental actions (lawsuits, fines, etc.) that are more widespread today than ever. A big part of the problem with the door-knocker business model is that it relies so heavily on speed and pressure: you have to buy now, they install it right away, and there’s no time to consider options or do the research on the company. Also, many of these “customers” really did not want, need, or understand what they were getting: that helps explain why these companies have such high cancellation rates. The best alarm companies take a consultative approach, and actually want you to shop around. That’s our approach: we’re very proud of our excellent reviews, and we work hard to earn them. I certainly hope you’ll give FrontPoint a chance to earn your business! Thanks again.

      • Jim

        Peter would you shut up defending these scum. That’s all they are and run. They’re management and CEO are scum and so are all of the employees who back up these tactics. I will put them out of business, I will see to it.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Jim – Thanks for your comment, although your language is pretty strong! I would not consider myself a defender of the door knocking model, especially as practiced in the alarm industry at the current time, since it’s been the subject of so much abuse and too many complaints. It is true that not one of these companies is “all bad,” although some are definitely worse than others. I also know there are many in the alarm industry who feel the way you do: not out of jealousy, but becasue there there is a sense that the complaints about door knockers have been hurting the alarm industry in general, by giving it a bad name. Thanks again.

  51. CZ

    Vivint is the third largest alarm company and still growing. They have over 500,000 customers so it is hard to imagine them not getting some complaints(unfortunately) concerning door to door sales. Just doing the math, if you have 4000 salesman knocking on 50 doors per day, 5 days a week over 3 months is over 12 million door knocks in one summer. Over 3 years they have had 1441 complaints mostly against sales. It sounds like a large number of complaints but it really is not for a company with a sales force that size. Furthermore, despite these complaints, Vivint continues to grow at an exponential rate and I will tell you why. They have the best product line on the market and can sell it at a good value to the average home owner. Vivint can offer such value because they do not franchise their name and sell cheap overpriced Fisher Price looking systems to thousands of dealers who then mark it up even more.
    The bottom line is this, If you are trying to sell an inferior product, cheap knockoff, or a similar product at a much higher upfront price you will probably fail in a few years, Mr. Rogers.

    -Vivint employee

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, CZ, for your comment. It’s good to hear from an employee of the competition – and clearly you feel very strongly that Vivint is a reputable company. There are many ways that I can reply to your comment, and I could easily frame a lengthy rebuttal, but here are a few key points to consider: (1) Following your logic, ADT (which is more than eight times your size in the US) should have have eight times the complaints, but they don’t – they have roughly 2,500, only about 1,000 more than Vivint. And ADT is not considered a good service provider by the industry. So, I’m afraid the “we’re so big” argument does not hold logic. The good news is that you do have a better reputation than some other door knockers. Here is a little more math to chew on. FrontPoint has a total of five complaints over the past 36 months on the BBB site, a ratio of 1:280 compared to Vivint’s complaints. And our customer ratio is nowhere neat that disproportionate, which just reinforces the point about ADT. Size is no excuse: the problem is the business model and the company culture that allows the bad behavior to begin with. (2) Your customer attrition says it all, especially when you look at the people who fail to renew at the end of their initial contract term. Sadly, many of them did not really want or need the system, and find they do not use it – not surprising when door knocking is your sales methodology. FrontPoint has the lowest attrition in the alarm industry by a wide margin – for many reasons, including complete transparency and lack of pressure to buy. (3) As for value proposition, Vivint charges $68.99 for a level of service that FrontPoint provides for $49.99, so you are way more expensive there. Plus, your “teaser” basic system may look attractive, but your additional equipment (which most people need to create adequate protection) is overpriced. In other words, you charge more than FrontPoint for a “real” system, and for monthly services. (4) for equipment, we’ll take GE Security equipment any day: it’s UL listed, has a remarkable track record, and will continue to lead the industry as UTC (the owners of GE Security) continue to invest in R&D. As a global multi-billion dollar company, I like UTC’s odds of staying ahead of the competition.

      Thanks for the opportunity to clear up some issues. I hope that anyone reading this is better prepared when they get that knock on the door. As I have stated before, any company that has to rely on pressure tactics to sell is not doing justice to the public – since more people are willing and able to do the research before making a buying decision. I’m afraid (for your sake) that it’s door knocking as a business model that may be in jeopardy. Good luck to you.

      • Robert Savage

        I normally don’t get into these type discussions, however I am a victim of the vivint lies and misleading sales tactics. I had that so call door knocker come to my house to my misfortune. I was in process of changing out my security provider (Brinks) to ADT for their security/DVR ability. The salesman for apx/vivint proceeded to tell me they would have all that available within a month.
        Guess what it was free!!!!! What a lie. Now it’s been about 1 year now guess what! I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING BUT THE BASIC SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!! This unethical company rushed to my house removed my old system installed their basic system and locked me into the contract. Great ethics!!!
        I spoke to a so called manager with the so called company and basically wasted my time. They like to act concerned but BULL they all are a bunch of scum!!
        Now in order for me to get the system I need I will have to purchase and install myself.
        I’m glad I read this blog. I will have my cancelation notice in before the 12 month period that this so called company has once again found the way to screw the customer.
        I’m so mad right now and I promise I will cost them more than the 1400.00 it would cost to cancel my contract. And believe me this town of 100K people will listen. I know I’ve got 4 to 5 people go to ADT vs Scum Security Company or vivint in short. Looks to me I’m ahead already 5 people = $7000.00 and counting.
        Regards,
        Robert

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Robert – sorry to hear about your bad experience. While no company is perfect, there is increasing concern in the alarm industry about the door knockers (like Vivint), and the effect theses companies are having on the perception of alarm companies in the general public. Some of these companies are worse than others, and while only a minority of the sales representatives create the problem, it’s pretty widely accepted that this is an aggressive method of selling that results in complaints – and lots of them. Then again, working with ADT is often no bed of roses either, especially for lots of former Brink’s customers who are regretting the sale of Brink’s/Broadview to ADT.

          At any rate, good luck to you – and we would be happy if you and your colleagues considered us as an alternative to either Vivint or ADT.

        • Thomas Lewis

          Oh the horror. Vivint, and all alarm sales companies need to brought under charges for crimes against humanity. These complaints are just another one the examples of westerners never feeling fulfilled. Nothing is good enough is it, so everything must be perfect or it is like you’re life is not complete. Even if it is silly small problems with a product you chose to buy

          • Peter M. Rogers

            Thomas – Thanks for your comment. You raise a good point – the issues related to door knockers and their practices are not the most important issues facing our society today. That being said, we are talking about the most reliable and trustworthy way for people to protect their homes and families – and for many individuals, these are important issues. And in a greater sense, accusations of fraud and violation of consumer protections laws are of some importance, especially for those of us who have dedicated our careers to working in this industry and playing by the rules. Thanks again for your comment.

      • Mary

        My company also uses GE equipment as well as ademco and 2 gig. I hate to say it, but our pricing is far better than vivint and frontpoint. The bottom line is I think we all have our own way of doing sales, and some methods work better for some and not so well for others. The reason frontpoint does not do door to door sales is because they do not have the manpower to do it. If vivint wants to lie and cheat their way to consumers then that is on them. What is the advantage of putting each others companies on blast…other than showing jealousy? Get to work!

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Thanks, Mary, for your comment. It appears (after a little digging) that you are Monitronics dealer – which says something good about your company, since Monitronics is known for working with reputable dealers However, I was a bit surprised that I could not find the actual web site for your company, but you may not have one. As for equipment costs, I would challenge your assertion that you sell equipment for less than FrontPoint: “far better pricing” is a tall claim to make, especially when FrontPoint is known for being remarkably (and intentionally) affordable. For instance, you no doubt offer the same basic system as the rest of the industry for $99 – as do we. But do you include the digital cellular radio for safer cellular monitoring at no extra charge? Maybe… FrontPoint does. Do you charge only $32.99 for an additional door or window sensor? I doubt that very much – but FrontPoint does. How about an additional smoke/heat sensor or pet-friendly motion sensor for only $64.99? I seriously question if you charge that or less – but those are actual FrontPoint prices. Perhaps you could provide a specific example of a total system where you charge less – I would like to see it! And what is your price for advanced interactive and cellular monitoring? I’ll bet it’s more than the $42.99 that we charge.

          As for our business model, it’s not that we don’t have the manpower: it’s because we built FrontPoint on what we think is a smarter way to do business, where we can provide world-class service (just check the reviews) with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And for our efforts we have the lowest cancellation rate of any national alarm company – and for that matter, possibly the lowest cancellation rate of any US alarm company. We clearly are at work, to use your words, and rather than being jealous of companies giving our industry a bad name, we are trying to provide valuable consumer information. Thanks again, and good luck to you and your company.

  52. jennifer johnson

    me and my husband has vivint unaware of what they are like they have done nothing but lie and scam us we sign a contract and was told we had 30 days to cancell after having problems with there equipment 15 days later we called to canceel and they told us we only had three days now we are stuck in this contract and they won’t let us out

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Sorry to hear that you’ve had a bad experience with any alarm company, since it tarnishes an entire industry. On the one hand, no company is all bad, and a large company (and Vivint is quite large) is bound to encounter some complaints. However, there is just too much bad news about door knocking in in general, and the fact that so many states and local jurisdictions have taken action against these companies simply cannot be ignored. The days of high-pressure sales may be coming to an end: if a consumer is forced to make a decision on the spot, that’s not a good thing, in our opinion.

  53. Norman Chen

    The sales agreement specifies the minimum term of three years. After having patiently waited and paid for three years (about $1440 total) I wrote the company to discontinue service. But I was told I had to wait for another full year ($480) before I was allowed to cancel the service because I must notify them BEFORE the original term is up, not one day late, otherwise the contract is automatically continued for 12 more month. Such condition was never communicated to me, and I am hopping mad.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Norman – thanks for your comment. We don’t agree that alarm companies should be so inflexible, but I know from over 20years in this business that most are. The main reason is that their customer cancellation rates, as high as they are already, would be even higher if these other companies were as flexible as FrontPoint is. Sorry you had that experience, but I know it would have been different working with us. We think the best way to get your customers to stay with you is by offering cutting edge technology, world-class service, and affordable pricing. Throw in the fact that you can move a FrontPoint system with you, and you can see why we have the lowest cancellation rate of any alarm company we can find.

  54. Grayson

    This company has been doing this type of dog and pony show for a long time. I had them when they were APX alarm and wish that I had never come across them. I wrote about my issue with them at http://www.imarkinteractive.com/general/rants-raves/apx-alarm-review/. Now that they are Vivint, I hope people don’t get confused. I am glad the BBB tracked them down and put out the warning.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Grayson. Very helpful additional information, and I read your review with interest – along with the many comments I found there. I like your site! You are right about the BBB – they picked up on the name change from APX almost immediately. There was some conjecture that the new name (Vivint) was actually related to the negative reviews and reputation that APX had earned over the years, and not just in the attempt to re-brand as a home automation company.There are other door knocking alarm companies who have even worse reputations than Vivint – but Vivint is the largest, and the highest profile. It will be interesting to see how much longer the business model holds up, since so many jurisdictions are turning against it because complaints. Thanks again.

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