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!