Vivint: A Company to Celebrate or Condemn?

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 14, 2012

Vivint is one of the fastest growing and most aggressive companies in the entire security industry. Many puff pieces, including a recent 'Dealer of the Year' award, laud the company as 'being a true leader'. The most perplexing aspect of this positive press is the rather contrary reception Vivint recieves from its agrieved customers. In this note, we examine reasons to be deeply concerned about the company's tactics.

Orginally founded in 1997 as APX Alarm, the company is headquartered in Provo, Utah.  The past five years have resulted in impressive growth for the company in an already mature industry dominated by players like ADT, (formerly) Brinks/Broadview, and Protection One. As of early 2012, the company claims over 550,000 installed systems throughout North America.

A recent transcript of an interview from SS&I magazine, Vivint's CEO discusses his company’s overall business strategy.  A review of this transcript turns up several compelling details about the company and Vivint’s overall market prerogative of the home security/monitoring market.

Vivint’s product and services mix primarily features branded home thermostat and intrusion security monitoring packaged together in the Go!Control  platform. In a recent effort to trade on the ‘renewable energy’ movement, Vivint introduced a solar power supply division, where Vivint is selling on-site accumulated solar power to homeowners on an RMR basis.

Is the diverse portfolio profitable?  In the recent SS&I piece, Mr. Peterson was noted as saying:

“Obviously the lending market was tough and in this industry you rely on debt for growth, unless you're just barely growing, but we're growing pretty rapidly. It limited our ability to attain what we could have or should have gotten to as a company. Even though it looks like pretty phenomenal growth, what could have been would have been substantially different, and more than that.”

This melancholic quote infers the company is still looking to achieve positive operational cash flow not dependent on outside investment.

Questionable Sales Tactics

The company shares its philosophical sales techniques with the gritty models of national pest control and lawn care companies.  The aggressive door-to-door sales and neighborhood canvassing strategies applied by Vivint are a direct result of the previous experiences of company principals in those industries.

The volatile expansion of company operations have resulted in ‘package’ selling to the residential markets due to vague security market acumen and watered-down technical experience in many regions.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Poor Ratings

Perhaps the most damning indictment of the company can be found in its ‘Better Business Bureau’ grading page.  Often referenced by those on the harsh side of ‘caveat emptor’, the BBB gives Vivint a (very) poor ‘D’ rating from over 1300 complaints.

The internet is littered with bad press, consumer advocate warnings, and nightly news videoclips that reflect poorly on Vivint’s sales methodology, service costs, customer service, and contract supervision.  Ten minutes of research yield hundreds of substantiated complaints from a variety of esteemed sources.

For instance, while Vivint brags about its declining attrition rate, this is fueled by their onerous cancellation terms as described in a Feb 2012 post from a consumer advocate warning website:

"I spoke to a customer service rep. on Jan. 6, 2011 to ensure I would not have issues cancelling after the Aug. 5, 2011 dealine and she said no problem you can cancel at anytime it is month to month after just let us know when you want to cancel by calling for further instructions. Today when I tried to cancel they state since I did not cancel in writing 30 days prior to the end of the contract that I was automatically re-newed for a new one year contract term that would end Aug. 5, 2012.  I said I did not agree to these terms that a rep of their company did not make this clear when they pushed the security system into my home."

Even worse, is a recent example of Vivint's obstinance to nullify a contract after a customer lost their home in a tornado. Is this leadership?

In spite of recent statements to the contrary, it appears Vivint is still leveraging unscrupulous business practices.

A Bad Representative of the Security Industry

In spite of significant growth, Vivint represents many things that are wrong with the ‘home security industry’. That market is littered with the dirty laundry of the ‘old guard’ bad player companies, and unfortunately Vivint is contributing to that sentiment.

Security companies should be protecting their customers from loss, not precipitating it. Until the residential security industry recognizes this dynamic, it will continue to struggle shedding its bad reputation.

3 reports cite this report:

2Gig Expands Into Commercial Intrusion With Vario on Jan 23, 2017
2GIG, an alarm product manufacturer best known for their wireless products, has introduced a new line of wired panels aimed at the commercial...
ADT Launches Canopy - Professional Monitoring For DIY Devices on Jan 19, 2017
The intrusion industry has criticized DIY security systems for years, claiming systems like Canary or Scout cannot match professionally installed...
'DIY' vs Professional Alarm Systems on Apr 18, 2012
A growing yet controversial trend in alarm systems is for people to do it themselves, installing their own alarm systems and monitoring it...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Last Chance - Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 19, 2018
Today is the last day to register. Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Amazon Ring Partners With Rapid Response For $10 Monitoring on Jul 10, 2018
Amazon's Ring alarm system is using Rapid Response for monitoring, IPVM has confirmed in our testing. Amazon is arguably the most feared new...
Eastern and SavvyTech Merge, Form ENS, Targets ADI on Jul 09, 2018
ADI, ENS is coming for you. Or, at least, they hope. Two US distributors, NY based EasternCCTV and California based SavvyTech have merged, to...
Arlo IPO Filing Reveals Key Financial and Competitive Details on Jul 09, 2018
Arlo is going to IPO at a projected valuation greater than Axis. Now, Arlo has released their 175-page Form S1 Registration Statement for its...
Drops Dahua, Fenner Becomes ISS CMO on Jul 09, 2018
Hired to improve Dahua's miserable marketing just last year, Janet Fenner has quit Dahua, joining VMS manufacturer ISS as Chief Marketing...
Simplisafe Acquired At $1 Billion Valuation on Jun 29, 2018
Simplisafe, the competitor alarm monitoring companies historically most love to hate, has been acquired by a mega private equity firm for a $1...
Pelco Is For Sale on Jun 27, 2018
Pelco is for sale, being shopped by an investment bank, IPVM has confirmed from multiple sources. The company, acquired by Schneider Electric in...
Snap Surveillance Profile on Jun 26, 2018
There are not a lot of video surveillance companies that survive 9 years with only one feature that makes their product stand out. In the case of...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Ladder Lockdown and Ladder Levelizer Tested on Jul 18, 2018
Ladders are a daily necessity for surveillance and security installers, but working on an unstable surface can be extremely dangerous. In addition...
FST Fails on Jul 17, 2018
FST was one of the hottest startups of the decade, selected as the best new product at ISC West 2011 and backed with tens of millions in...
Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact