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Vivint Smart Home – Smart Solutions for Your Family’s Safety or Scam?

Senior Editor, TipsHire

Do you like the idea of protecting your home and your loved ones with a smart home system like Vivint? These systems really seem like a good choice, able to protect your dearest possessions against intruders, fire hazards, utility network malfunctions, and more.

As you already know, the devil hides in the details, so the question you should be asking yourself is what hides behind those neat and attractive presentations you see all over the internet. We’ll try to provide a detailed answer in the following lines.

About Vivint

The company claims to be one of the most important providers of smart home technology on the market. They offer not only smart home equipment, but also monitoring services, in an attempt to help their clients improve their home security, automation, communication, and energy management.

Their products and services rely on innovative technology, high-speed Internet and, of course, cloud storage solutions. Their target markets are the United States and Canada, but their equipment has reached many other corners of the world.

Famous online publications, like PCMag, Tech Crunch, Forbes, J.D. Power, and Fast Company have praised Vivint products. However, not everything about this company and its services is promising.

We dug a little deeper into their apparently excellent reputation, and we do not like what we’ve found. On the Better Business Bureau’s website, the company has multiple listings, none very promising. The oldest and most relevant listing comes with a C+ rating and information on multiple government actions and thousands of complaints against the company

It seems the company’s agents have misrepresented themselves and the products and services they offer and misinformed their clients in order to close new contracts. Such actions must have led to the over 4,300 complaints recorded by the BBB.

Indeed, they closed all of the complaints against them, and the fact that their agents lied to sell more does not necessarily mean their products and services are worthless. It does mean that anyone considering the acquisition of a Vivint Smart Home system should do their homework, read the contract carefully before signing it, and make sure they know what they are getting into.

What Does Vivint Smart Home Has to Offer?

Vivint have recently changed their products and services offer to meet the changing demands of the market. Instead of asking buyers to choose one of the available packages, they have devised two lines of service: Home Security, and Home Automation.

For Home Security, buyers can build their own packages using any of the following elements:

  • SkyControl Panel
  • Amazon Echo
  • Outdoor camera
  • Doorbell camera
  • Ping camera
  • 24/7 video recording
  • Vivint playback DVR
  • Smart locks
  • Garage door control
  • Element thermostat
  • Burglary detection (door, windows, and motion sensors)
  • Hazard detection sensors (smoke, humidity, air quality)

For Home Automation, besides the above elements, users can benefit from Philips Hue lighting, and Nest thermostat. The components of both systems can be controlled from the SkyControl Panel, through Amazon Aecho, or from the Vivint Smart Home App, available for Android (4.6 out of 5 rating) and iOS (4.4 out of 5 rating).

These also allow for two-way communication with Vivint’s 24/7 monitoring service. This service enables Vivint monitoring agents to step in when any of the sensors or alarms get triggered or the user touches the emergency callout button. Depending on the distress signal they receive, the agents will either contact the client, or the appropriate authorities or emergency services.

Besides the above-mentioned packages and customization options, the Company’s Terms of Use page describes other packages we could not find listed anywhere else on the website:

  • Security Packages: 4 doors, 1 glass break sensor or motion detector, and remote control
  • Smart Energy Packages: the components of the Security packages, plus Lamp Module and Smart Thermostat
  • Smart Control Packages: the equipment of the Energy packages, plus stationary camera and door lock

According to the same page, users can replace any of the components with other equipment of equal value. They can also acquire additional equipment without paying more for the monitoring services, but they will obviously pay more upfront (the cost of the additional equipment and additional installation work).

How to Acquire Vivint Smart Home Systems and Services

Anyone interested in acquiring a home security or automation system for their home will have to follow three simple steps:

  1. Contact the company, express their wish or gather more information, and obtain a price offer
  2. Decide on the system’s configuration and schedule the installation
  3. Download the app and enjoy the comfort and convenience of a smart and secure home

In theory, this is very easy and practical: instead of having to settle for a standard package, you can create one according to your needs and budget. In practice, you see a lot of options on the company’s website, and you want them all, but you have no idea what their cost is.

If you could find detailed prices for all system components, perhaps you could look up competitive offers and find more affordable ones, or devise a simpler package and add new equipment to it in time.

Right now, in order to find out how much the Vivint products and services would cost, you have to get in touch with an agent who is probably trained to make sure you don’t get away without signing a contract.

Judging by the complaints and government sanctions mentioned on the BBB website, chances are those agents will tell you anything you want to here to convince you. It is therefore very important that you write down your questions, request written price offers, and only sign a contract when you know exactly what you are getting into.

Assuming everything is in order and you are sure a Vivint Smart Home System is the right choice for your home, the fact that the company offers professional installation is a plus. This way, you no longer have to read installation guides and worry about connections, angles, and wires.

They also promise to use any equipment you already have, if compatible and functional. However, there is no guarantee they will succeed, so don’t take it for granted. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that the company and their technicians have no interests to actually install and use your own equipment.

However, before you make that phone call, let’s take a closer look at the company’s billing and cancellation policy. This way, you can make an informed decision or at least know what to expect in case you change your mind and want to give up the contracted services.

Pricing, Billing, and Cancellations Policy

As mentioned above, there are no prices mentioned on the Vivint website, and the only way to find out more about what the company has to offer is to give them a call and start asking some questions.

Before you do that, however, the information below may come in handy. Here are some interesting terms we discovered on the company’s Terms of Use page:

  • The company does not offer any warranties or guarantees regarding the accuracy of the information on its website and the appearance, usability, and effectiveness of the products and services they mention.
  • All Vivint packages involve 4 or 5 years contracts. Costs start at $53.99 per month ($2,591.52 overall value of 4 years contracts or $3,239.40 overall value for 5 years contracts), and can go up to $69.99 per month ($3,359.52 overall for 4 years contracts and, respectively, $4,199.40 for 5 years contracts).
  • Besides the package prices mentioned above, all contracts involve an activation fee which can range between $99 and $199, depending on the chosen package and configuration. Additional local fees and taxes may apply as well.
  • The company operates under different licenses from state to state, so buyers should make sure they deal with the operator licensed for their state, as the terms and conditions differ from one operator to another.
  • All equipment comes with a service and warranty plan. The warranty covers defective equipment and natural wear and tear throughout the contract period. However, after the first 4 months (120 days) from the installation, clients will pay a visit charge and other applicable taxes the value of which remains unknown.
  • On the same page, the company also mentions lifetime warranty covering normal wear and tear and defective equipment, but with exclusions and restrictions to be mentioned in the final agreements with clients.

Unfortunately, we could not find any information about service cancelations on the company’s website. According to the BBB complaints and reviews, cancelations don’t seem to be possible without paying all or most of the fees you would owe throughout the contract.

Vivint Smart Home Strengths

  • Vivint lets you improve security, comfort, and convenience in your home
  • The company provides equipment for all needs and wishes, from door locks to cameras, smart thermostats, voice control, and smoke, motion, and air quality sensors
  • Buyers can choose the equipment they need for their home and expand it later
  • The company provides installation services and 24/7 monitoring services
  • The company has sales agents everywhere, and their products and equipment are easy to come by

Vivint Smart Home Weaknesses

  • All Vivint contracts involve long-term commitments (4 or 5 years) that are difficult and costly to cancel
  • The company’s sales agents cannot be trusted, as they have a history of lying and misrepresenting products and services to get more sales
  • Although the equipment is supposedly under warranty throughout the contract period, buyers needing technical assistance after the first 4 months of contract will have to pay a service fee
  • The company does not give any upfront prices, so the costs are difficult to estimate, but, overall, even the basic packages exceed $2,500.

The Bottom Line about Vivint Smart Home

Vivint equipment and services reflect the market’s needs and tendencies. No matter if you want security, comfort, and control, or energy savings, you can have it, and you can customize your smart home system according to your needs and budget.

The equipment this company provides has a good reputation and comes with installation and 24/7 monitoring services. However, everything has a price that the company only discloses to potential clients who initiate contact.

Therefore, if you would like to give Vivint a chance, try to decide what equipment you would need and get in touch to find out how much it would cost you. To avoid misunderstandings and false representations, request written price quotes and read any agreements carefully before signing.

Assuming everything is in order and you go through with the acquisition, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send in a review to let others interested know what to expect from Vivint Smart Home. We look forward to receiving your feedback!

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