This smaller player in the security game has a somewhat tumultuous history. Founded in 1997 as APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc., the company originally operated as a sales and installation outfit for security systems. In 2006, they expanded into the monitoring industry as well. In 2012, The Blackstone Group acquired the company.
According to the Better Business Bureau, with which Vivint holds a C+ rating (which was an improvement from their prior F), between 2013 and the present the company has entered into voluntary compliance agreements with the government regarding issues of misrepresentation in their sales tactics. They have been accused of deceit regarding the hiding of installation and activation fees, under-representing monthly monitoring fees, claiming to give discounts where none was actually present, and employing an unlicensed individual. The company has a notorious reputation for hardcore, aggressive door-to-door sales tactics.
Despite its problems, the security company has managed to make Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers, and in 2013 was deemed by Forbes one of their “Most Promising Companies”. In 2015, the company also gained the naming rights to the home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, which is now under a 10-year contract as Vivint Smart Home Arena. Vivint employs 7,000 people and has nearly a million customers. The pros and cons of this service are as follows.
- High-tech home automation options via Z-Wave technology
- Professional installation
- Free equipment and/or installation through certain promotions
- Fast response time
- Lifetime equipment warranty
- Techs are paid on commission so high-pressure upsell tactics are common
- One of the longest contract requirements in the industry at 48-60 months
- Higher than average monthly service fees
- Poor reputation for difficulty canceling within the three-day grace period
- Poor customer service reputation
- Multiple reports of drilling holes in the walls despite “drill-less installation” claim
Vivint Prices and Packages
Vivint offers three plans, all of which require a minimum 48-month contract depending upon the state in which you live. The activation fee is $199 across the board, but there’s a strong propensity to get you to buy additional equipment. Here’s a breakdown and prices for the various Vivint packages to choose from.
|Features||Smart Protect||Smart Protect & Control||Smart Protect Complete|
|Touchscreen Control Panel||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|3 Door/Window Sensosrs||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Home Automation||Choose 2 Devices||Choose 3 Devices|
|TB of Cloud Storage||Included|
With the Smart Protect & Control and the Smart Complete plans, you get to choose two or three smart home devices such as automated door locks, lighting control, temperature automation, and wireless video surveillance. With the Smart Complete plan, you also get a TB of cloud storage with Space Monkey.
Adding equipment and services will raise your costs, although you can customize the base equipment that your plan comes with according to your own specific wants and needs.
Vivint sells the typical suite of security and life safety equipment, including smoke alarms, CO detectors, key fobs, video cameras, smart appliance modules, smart door locks, and smart thermostats. Each item you add will up your expenses, and likely, your installation cost as well.
In a Nutshell
While the technology offered by Vivint is enticing, just a little bit of research on this troubled company will reveal some disheartening reviews. All companies experience difficulties but unfortunately, Vivint is one such company that seems unable to shake their negative reputation. There are several other choices (such as Frontpoint) that offer similar equipment and features but without the hefty monthly monitoring fees and unpleasant reputation following them around.