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Why Palm Coast Is Alarmed: Vivint Home-Security Solicitors Dogged By History of Deception

| August 7, 2013

A Vivint salesman on the job. (Vivint)

A Vivint salesman on the job. (Vivint)

On Tuesday, the Palm Coast city administration issued an advisory to residents to be on their guard about door-to-door solicitors representing Vivint Inc., a Utah-based home-security company. The solicitors, the city warned, were misrepresenting facts and themselves, saying they were representatives either of Palm Coast or of Flagler County.

A Vivint spokeswoman denied that such misrepresentation was taking place. Records say otherwise.

In Palm Coast and elsewhere, according to Palm Coast Code Enforcement logs, Flagler County Sheriff’s reports and the Better Business Bureau, Vivint’s name is riddled with a history of complaints and proven practices similar to those cited by Palm Coast residents, which prompted the city to act.

Vivint faces recurring findings of deceptive practices and misrepresentation in several states, including Kansas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, California, Ohio and Nebraska, according to Better Business Bureau records. (Vivint is not BBB-accredited,) In each state, the company agreed to settlement orders issued either by a court or by the state attorney general to end using a variety of deceptive practices and making misleading claims or charges.

Just two months ago, Vivint entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office. Vivint, according to the agreement, “shall not make any misrepresentations and/or false or misleading statements, directly or by implication, which have the tendency or effect of deceiving or misleading consumers.” Among the issues cited—which will sound familiar to Palm Coast complainants: the company made claims that it was affiliated with another company or agency when it wasn’t, it made claims that it was upgrading an existing security system when it wasn’t, it’s claimed that an existing security has either gone out of business or merged with another, when that was not the case, and so on.

Less than two months earlier, the company agreed to a similar settlement with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office after consumers filed complaints that Vivint claimed, according to BBB documents, “that its home security equipment was free, but failed to disclose the existence or amount of installation, activation and monitoring fees associated with the system. Vivint door-to-door sales representatives misrepresented the price of continued monthly monitoring fees, made representations that it was providing an upgrade to the consumer’s current home security system; that the consumer’s current security system company was no longer in business; or that Vivint was otherwise part of or authorized to continue monitoring the consumer’s current home security system.”

In addition, “Vivint routinely installed the home security systems on the same day the contracts were executed and within the three-day cancellation period and failed to orally inform consumers of their right to cancel the contract within three days or misrepresented the consumers’ right to cancel by informing them they were signing the contract on a ‘trial basis’ or that they had thirty days to cancel.”

As part of the Ohio settlement—which is not in effect in Florida or in Palm Coast–Vivint is required to disclose to a prospective customer,  “prior to executing any contract if the consumer has a contract with another home security monitoring company, the consumer may have an ongoing obligation to that company.” Numerous other disclosures also apply.

The company’s settlement in Kansas was also executed just this March. Wisconsin’s was executed in 2012, and the settlement in Arkansas was executed in 2010. In California, the state Superior Court issued a judgment in 2011 barring Vivint representatives from making “any false or misleading statements to residential consumers,” among other stipulations.

On Tuesday, Vivint Spokeswoman Megan Herrick said that “there is another competing alarm company that is spreading negative news about us” in Palm Coast. She did not cite the name of the company, and qualified her statement, saying she had no proof.

In fact, Palm Coast-based Alarmpro and its CEO, Norman Mugford—who is also chairman of the city’s Code Enforcement Board, and a leading voice against unregulated door-to-door solicitors—has played a role in the push-back against Vivint, but Mugford’s complaints merely echo those of residents.

“They use high pressure sales tactics and lies to mislead the customers to believe that they where ‘sent’ to the customers address to ‘check Alarmpro’s system’ or they were ‘sent there by the city’ to see if the alarm system was functioning properly,” Mugford wrote in an Aug. 5 email to Jay Maher, who supervises the city’s business tax department, “or that they ‘bought Alarmpro’ and were there to update their system.”

Mugford’s description of the issue also echoes similar deceptive tactics by Vivint cited in settlement agreements in other states.

Mugford provided the city with a list of 13 customers he said Alarmpro “lost due to ViVint and their authorized agent ARM Security causing our customers to break their contracts with Alarmpro, Inc.” At least two customers have since switched back after checking Vivint’s record. “We have had many calls about Vivint alarms (aka APX Security) which has over a hundred complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and over a hundred complaints on ‘RipOff. Com,’” Mugford continued. “We refer the callers to call the Sheriffs or the BBB. I’m sure every alarm company in Palm Coast has been affected by these companies.”

The city has received numerous similar complaints from residents.

One resident wrote on Aug. 3 of a solicitor’s visit on Corona Court. The solicitor had all the proper documentation. Vivint and its representatives are permitted by the city to solicit.”What concerned me was that he was implying he was representing the City of Palm Coast and Flagler County,” the resident wrote. “He started his sales pitch by stating that he was here on behalf of Flagler to let us know that the telephone lines in our neighborhoods where going to be upgraded in two weeks and that some of the current system will not be compatible with the emergency system. I asked him why is the county involved with phone lines and specifically the replacement and upgrade of the lines? And why are we not being notify directly by the County or City? He stated that’s what he was doing. He became really pushy to the point I had to just close the door and tell him we were not interested in his products and services (which the entire time he was stating he was not selling anything) and I would contact the City and County to find out more on this ‘suppose’ phone line upgrade.”

Needless to say, there is no such phone line upgrade in the works, nor are city and county governments involved.


City documents reveal numerous other reports from residents, including a couple on Bruce Lane who whose door was knocked on after permissible soliciting hours by a Vivint salesman who was “aggressive with them,” but who was nevertheless allowed to install a system—an operation that wasn’t completed until after midnight. The next day the couple “felt he had misled them,” and they wanted out of the contract. They were referred to the state division of consumer services.

A Sheriff’s report documents a “very aggressive” Vivint solicitation at 8:15 p.m. on July 29—also after permissible hours. The resident asked the solicitor to leave three times. The solicitor allegedly said he’d return and speak with the homeowner when she was working on her lawn, and claimed that someone would cut her phone lines and break into her house. The homeowner was so upset she called police. Sheriff’s deputies were able to make contact with two solicitors that evening: Anthony Depaola and Stanley Sanchez, both of who said they were not aware that they could not be out soliciting that late, though city regulations make that clear to all permitted solicitors.

Documents show that just between July 15 and July 30, there were nine calls to the Sheriff’s Office regarding Vivint or Arm Security, the contractor Vivint works with in Flagler County, with complaints of after-hour soliciting, harassment tactics and refusing to leave a property after being asked to do so.

On July 30, the city mailed a warning to Arm Security, and whose offices are in Jacksonville. It was only several days later that Maher received the long complaint from Mugford, the Alarmpro president, discounting suggestions that Alarmpro was at the forefront of the complaints.

Palm Coast may revoke Vivint’s permit if problems persist.

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40 Responses for “Why Palm Coast Is Alarmed: Vivint Home-Security Solicitors Dogged By History of Deception”

  1. Timmy says:

    Palm Coast may revoke Vivint’s permit if problems persist! What!

  2. Forest G says:

    Easy solution dont open your front door to strangers.

  3. Lynn says:

    They came to my home at 8:30. I opened the door, determined that he was not the FedEx guy I was waiting for, said I was not interested. He said he was not selling anything. I asked him to leave and he would not, just kept talking, so I closed the door when it became clear that he would not stop talking, and asked him to leave immediately. He then waited a minute or two and began to knock/pound on the door, shouting that he just wanted to talk. I locked the door and texted my neighbor to warn her. Wish I had called the sheriff when he did not leave my property. I also wish that some standards would be employed before the city hands out solicitation permits. It does not take long to find out that this company could seriously rip off our most vulnerable older neighbors.

  4. Ron says:

    Go instead with Obama NSA security. They are watching you 24/7 whether you want it or not.

  5. Mr C says:

    I have my own PERSONAL alarm system…….I pity the fool who tries to enter my home without permission !

  6. Anonymous says:

    3 words……..STAND YOUR GROUND!!!!

  7. Me says:

    They were at my house the other day and knew my wife and I by name. Kicked them out.

  8. anonymous says:

    “THEY” can’t be intrusive to make money, but the city and it’s red light cameras can.

  9. Satisfied Vivint Customer says:

    I had my alarm installed on the same day that I met the gentleman that came and knocked on my door. None of the “statements or facts” I have read in the article even ring a bell. The representative was extremely professional and the company had a third party survey verify everything over the phone. I really liked all of the additional services that my current company (Alarm-Pro) did not offer. When I contacted Alarm-Pro they told me it would be close to $500 to upgrade my system to cellular (no phone line needed) and that the could not offer any of the awesome features my Vivint system has.

    I think the fact that the CEO and President of Alarm Pro is also a member of a regulation board in our city should not be overlooked. There is clearly alternative priorities in mind with all of this riff-raff portrayed as news. Sounds like they were losing business and made a fuss. Especially when this article just goes off on other states complaints and only references a couple circumstances one of the representatives in Palm Coast either was misrepresenting him/herself or the homeowner did not fully understand what was being said.

    I would recommend Vivint to my family and friends – but only if they are looking for a quality company with amazing products and service.

    I too was at first concerned about the complaints on the BBB, but when you have 800,000-1,000,000 customers and a few hundred people complain – in my opinion, that validates everything where as its not a company that says every customer is completely satisfied, or there are no bad apples – 200 people out of a million is less than 1% – which is pretty outstanding!

    Let these kids do their job – and if a local company cannot keep up with the changing times, maybe they should throw in the towel or pick up the slack. Happy customers will bring on more happy customers, and I feel as though the company I chose (Vivint) is being slandered and misrepresented on how the conducted business in our town of Palm Coast

    -One very satisfied Vivint Customer

    • Nancy N. says:

      Wow, I wonder how much they paid their PR person to write this. As someone who reads (and writes) press releases for a living, it is obvious to me this was written by someone used to writing sales and marketing material.

      • Jill R says:

        Amen! I got hooked into this and cannot get out of my contract because I waited too long — even though the sales rep told me I had a 90-day trial period. Normally one would not cancel before the trial period ends. When they see you faltering, they lie. I was home sick that day, it was 100 degrees outside and my a/c was not working — all I wanted was for them to get the hell out of my house. The rep said they were doing a commercial and since my house would be in it I would have a 90-day free trial and installation fees waived. No truth at all. I am going to seek a legal determination from a Judge.

    • Christopher V. says:

      Doing their job is OK until I say “no thanks”…then the sales pitch should end. Apparently, it does not end…these “kids” are being disrepectable, to say the least.

    • Rocky R. says:

      Right there with you Nancy! I worked in Sales/Marketing/PR for a little over 5 years and this is written like a Low-Grade Public access TV commercial.. No real human being writes about an alarm company like this, no matter how much they love them.
      I can tell you this is a textbook Sales & Marketing piece. It has all the right components, Testimonials, Numbers, “Buzzwords”, etc…

    • Obama 2013 says:

      Dear Satisfied Vivint Customer AKA Vivint employee,

      1st off it is Alarmpro not Alarm-pro or Alarm pro. Also they are a good local business with a great staff. I couldn’t afford to use them the 1st time I needed a system and when I moved a few months ago ADT gave me a good price to move my service to another home. Also they have never knocked on my door.

      On Monday night I encountered yet another RUDE Vivint Home-Security Solicitor yesterday at my
      home in Palm Coast . Working 3 jobs and breaking my back for almost a year I finally own my dream home and I have a ADT sign in my yard. It was wired by a professional company for a security system and then ADT gave me the state of the art system to keep my home safe. Every thing your rep said to me was a lie, and when I didn’t listen and said no thank you he kept yelling at me and my door saying he will be back. I told him NO and I then decided to stay home because my wife did not feel safe and I didn’t feel like calling the Cops.

      In my old home about a month ago in the R section, a rep knocked on my door 5 times while I was at work and my wife finally called the non emergency Flagler Country Sheriff number because the rep just kept knocking and coming by because she didn’t answer. He knew she was home and she was even afraid to leave the house. He kept looking in the window, asking for her to open to door.

      Also few weeks ago another Vivint Home-Security Solicitor stopped my wife as she was pulling out of the driveway of our home asking her tons of questions on how are house is protected and how our system works. He was even walking around the sides of our house ( i found out later after I spoke with my Next door Neighbor) looking over our phone lines and windows.

      Honestly, I understand that people need to make a living but sending people door
      to door selling a Home Security systems and being mad when I don’t answer the
      door or say I am not interested doesn’t work. I have had alot of people knock on my door, but your staff is the rudest.

      As you can see with these comments these kids are not selling your product correctly or selling a horrible product with high pressure tactics to lock people into contracts they didn’t understand so you can take their money.

      Also, I don’t want my wife or anyone in my family opening their front to anyone unless it is expected and I am not comfortable when my wife does it when I am not home.

      Also I don’t really mouthy salesmen knocking on my door when you can clearly see I have an ADT sign and I am not interested WHEN I DON’T OPEN THE DOOR.

      I have also heard too many stories about these salesman pulling off home invasions and my wife had a friend that was murdered by someone that said they worked for the Power Company in Orlando (he was doing checks on AC units)

      Please make sure NONE of your employees or people that work to help sell
      your company knock at my door again. I sent my address to your contact info and I will find a way to call your CEO.

      This is my 1st and final request so feel free to send it to your Boss.

      Also send direct mail and run commercials on our local Cable system if you want to create business.

      Also if people want to complain call Vivint at 800-216-5232

      Also from the home state of UT

      PX, which rebranded itself as Vivint in 2011, had received an “F” rating from the Utah Better Business Bureau, and the national organization had logged hundreds of complaints about the company. It had been the subject of government action in at least seven states (the total is now at least 11) for alleged sins that ranged from deceptive sales practices to operating without a license. Disgruntled people, often seniors, were pressured to buy the company’s alarm system and then forced to pay much higher costs than they had expected, according to their complaints to police, state investigators, and local reporters. Vivint has never admitted wrongdoing and did not return many calls for comment over two months.

      Also learn the real story

      http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/meet-the-shady-corporation-that-allied-with-romney-while-scamming-customers-20121011

    • anonymous Jane says:

      Alarm pro has the same cellular system available for a lower cost than vivant. I called alarm pro to upgrade after the pushy vivant sales person finally left!

    • Marilyn J. says:

      It’s obvious that this is a paid commentor, and I’m not surprised that Vivint would attempt to whitewash their horrible reputation in such a manner. They are crooks! I am in Duval County, and I was approached by them the end of last April. Unfortunately, I was scammed. I thought I was getting a dependable, up-to-date security system, but my whole experience has been a nightmare. I ended up without AC for a week due to shoddy installation, they wanted to blame it on my AC unit, then wanted me to pay them $400 to have an HVAC tech come look at it…I called my own person, and it turns out their installation person neglected to return the electrical breaker to the correct position after he came to reposition the main unit that was hanging at an angle on my wall. Can you believe that??? Well, they did pay for the service call, and they should have; however, I’ve had ongoing problems aside from that for the last 4 months – since they put the cheap crap in. The last straw was a malfunctioning timer device installed to one of my lights. As a sat in front of the television late one night, it surged, the light bulb burst, and sparks shot across the room! Had I not been home, the place could’ve caught on fire. Main unit said “remove malfunctioning device.” I was afraid to touch it, but I did because I was more afraid not to. I called to tell Vivint to cancel the contract and come get their equipment, and they told me I would be responsible for paying the 5-year monitoring contract in full when I was told by their rep that if I had to cancel before the contract expired there would be a minimal cancellation fee of $200. I have four pages of documented correspondence with Vivint – nothing but one problem after another. These are just the highlights, folks. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY! I WILL be paying a visit to the Florida State Attorney’s office. I’ve HAD IT!

    • Steve says:

      Cool story, obvious vivint employee Bro. Most of the little old ladies you guys prey on don’t know how to file a grievance with the BBB, or even check to find that your salesman’s stories of break ins in the neighborhood are totally false.

  10. Mike says:

    I had the same thing, the young man kept saying I am not selling any thing, I said okay then thank you for informing me and closed the door, he knocks again and starts the sales pitch. When I asked “I thought you were not selling any thing?” he just kept talking about the FBI statistics on break ins, I then relized it was an alarm company and asked him to leave, he was still talking when I closed the door. I never thought to call the city, I get all kinds of people, selling meat off a truck, alarms, even had a Rainbow vacum lady, usually you say no and they leave, these people were insistant that they were not selling any thing.

  11. m&m says:

    Thanks for the heads up Flagler Live..

  12. Robert says:

    Two questions: 1) why doesn’t the City perform some sort of “due diligence” before issuing permits, and, 2 “the City of PC MAY revoke Vivint’s permit” – why not WILL, and stop this once and for all?

  13. Kendall says:

    Why does the city issue a solicitation permit to a company with such questionable ethics? Isn’t the purpose of such permitting to protect the residents or is it about collecting fees?

  14. Marissa says:

    They carry cell phones and most likely get all your information from the Flagler County Appraisers Office. They can also use your internet access if you don’t have it blocked or have security features on.

    The satisfied customer diatribe must be a mole.

  15. Geezer says:

    These dipsticks rang my doorbell more than a few times
    the last couple of weeks. They wear yellow or orange shirts
    and carry clipboards and tablets.

    When the bell rings I yell: “I’M COMING! – ONE SECOND!”
    But I never go to the door. They stand there and wait and wait,
    then tire and walk away mumbling stuff.

    I enjoy doing that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice one Geezer!

      Although I still prefer the Stand Your Ground option. I saw a sign in Walmart a few years ago…..it read,

      “Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot AGAIN!”

      Might have to find one and shell out the few bucks for it……..that way they cannot claim they were not warned about my S&W Security System. =0)

      • Geezer says:

        Why not put up a sign asking for their home address and phone number.
        This way we can ring their damned doorbell and interrupt their supper.
        (or whatever they’re doing)

        Your version of sign printed on the doormat. (S&W Security System)
        That would sell. But not by door-to-door salemen.

    • Jill R says:

      wish I’d done that………I usually don’t fall for such garbage but I did this time. Blame it on the fact I was home sick and it was 100 degrees and a/c on the fritz. Wanted the people out and I believed their promises much to my dismay. My biggest question is what kind of a company is so greedy they force dissatisfied customers to stay — VIVINT is who.

  16. Another Satisfied Vivint Customer says:

    We are one of those 13 customers that Alarm Pro lost and I have to say we don’t regret it. First off, our sales guy was wonderful, he wasn’t pushy or aggressive and really took the time to make sure we knew what we were doing and that we were happy and didn’t say any of those things that were mentioned in the article. He spent a lot of time on the phone with my husband who was away at the time and came back more then once to make sure it was working out and we were happy and went above and beyond to make right by us any way he could. As far as getting out of Alarm Pro I thank them for the monitoring they did for us but we wanted to have updated equipment and our guest house all on one system for a reasonable price, not more money and Alarm Pro couldn’t give us that.

    I will admit we were VERY skeptical about Vivint and went online and did lots of research, I even called the Sheriff’s dept to ask if they were a legit company and got told that they were and had all their necessary permits to do what they do. Then also found out that a friend of mine who lives in another state had them for 9 years and Loves them.!

    I’m sorry to those who had a bad experience with them or had nasty and rude sales guys ruin it for them, but we are very happy with our system and even became friends with the sales guy– we don’t regret our move!

  17. Joey says:

    The city should revoke American Traffic Solution’s (ATS) permit. ATS hassles everyone in this town that is behind the wheel.

  18. Downtown says:

    You ring my doorbell when you havent been invited chances are I won’t get up to see whos there. You keep knocking then I will exit the rear of my house and come around to the front which will put me behind you. Better hope you ain’t up to no good !

  19. Palm Coast Dude says:

    Those security salesmen are very annoying. I can attest, they said that the city telephone lines might affect my home security. Honestly I don’t have any. So when they say about the city, I said BS. I told them I’m not interested, one of the dude starts laughing and shaking his head like I’m dumb that I don’t understand his point. NO. He doesn’t understand MY point. I wasn’t interested in his sale but he wouldn’t leave. Does anybody feel the same way? Do they understand English?

  20. Palm Coast Resident says:

    Their negative history was only created because of their aggressive sales tactics and poor customer service.

    If they installed the security system the same day they came to your door, I would question that as well.
    Law requires they give you “3 day right of rescission” or “3 day cooling off period” when sales are made
    in your home. Bet they didn’t tell you that! Bet they didn’t tell you that they are only permitted to install burglary & low voltage devices, not smoke detectors. Alarmpro can.

    I would also believe that Alarmpro has all the services the fictitious “Satisfied Vivint Customer” and the “Another Satisfied Vivint Customer” say they were looking for. They wouldn’t be around in Palm Coast (I believe over 23), years if they didn’t.

    I’ve had Alarmpro for over twenty years. I’m an “Alarmpro Satisfied Customer”. And I can walk into their office and speak to someone face to face. I’d have to travel to Utah to do that with ViVint.

  21. It's all good says:

    Aside from the dumb salesmen, I’ve never had a problem with Vivint. Once you get the system installed, you never have to deal with it, and their product is great. Just sayin…

  22. cord says:

    If you got suckered into a Vivint contract, be aware that it auto renews, and even if you complete the original term, its near impossible to cancel. They have even threatened some who want to cancel to keep on billing them until their account falls into collections.

    For those who got suckered, or who want out of their contract, it will be a difficult process.

    See : http://rive0108.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-cancel-a-Vivint-contract

  23. tam says:

    Do not use VIVINT !!! I have been waiting for two years for them to fix my front door frame that was cracked during an installation of an electronic lock! I have send them numerous estimates but they refuse to accept them because they do not want to pay the cost of the repair. Also the equipment keeps breaking down. I ask to cancel my service as a compromise but that too was rejected. BEWARE!!!!!

  24. miko says:

    I am sorry to all of the people who have come in contact with rude security sales people…I see the problem now…..however I became interested in Vivints product and how helpful it is….I have sold alarm systems for over 20 yrs.and have seen tacts like the above mentioned within all companies……it’s bad management and greed that leads to this behavior….it is a commmision based business…..Thank you all for your input, I think I will check out working for the company here in Florida….my last position was that of a compliance agent..I’m in hope I can change some of these problems in the future

  25. Happy Customer says:

    Welp I feel like a lot of you are going to dislike me for this but I had a great experience with my Vivint sales guy. I did tell him I’m not interested at first but he kept on talking. After I got more comfortable with him and started listening I really liked the kid. I’m getting way better equipment than with my ADT system and its the same cost. Now I have an awesome doorbell camera and a touch screen panel and can change my thermostat from my phone. It’s cool stuff. Now I know these guys can be pretty annoying but when you think about it how many kids want to go door to door working on commission to earn money. That’s pretty respectable in my book. I could never do it so I give these young men a lot of respect for doing it. All in all my only complaint is that the installed the alarm very late at night but aside from that I love my Vivint system

  26. Javier says:

    I had a Vivint sales shark come to my door in Orlando. He fed me all the lies he could think of. The second I asked him to read the contract, he told me he couldn’t give me a copy. Major red flag! I told I wasn’t interested and surprisingly he left. I took his name and ran a search on google. This Vivint employee has been arrested for Burglary, Grand Theft and Drugs. This speaks volumes about Vivint. Would you want a person arrested for Burglary selling you a home security system? Neither would I and thankfully I never got involved with this company.

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