Review | Does it Work or Scam?

By | July 1, 2017

If you want to keep your family and your belongings safe, you already know that a home security and monitoring system is mandatory, and you will surely look for one developed by a reputable company like Vivint.

Known as one of the most successful smart home technology providers, they offer equipment and monitoring services meant to improve one’s home security, home automation, and energy management, all with the support of high-speed Internet and cloud storage solutions. They serve not only the US but also Canada.

Featured in famous publications, like Forbes, InformationWeek, or PCWorld, they won numerous awards and have a rather good reputation among their customers. They have no Better Business Bureau rating, but the almost 3,000 complaints they closed throughout the last years prove that, although far from perfection, they do strive to improve their services.

About Vivint Systems

They are only available for residential customers, and come in three different Smart packages: Protect, Protect & Control, and Complete. All three packages include the same equipment, the difference referring to smart home and cloud storage solutions.

Thus, no matter what package you choose, you will receive:

  • 24×7 monitoring services,
  • 1 touchscreen panel that allows full control of the equipment,
  • 3 window/door sensors that you can place as you see fit,
  • 1 motion sensor,
  • 1 smoke sensor,
  • 1-yard sign,
  • The possibility to add more equipment,
  • Access to the dedicated Vivint mobile app that allows you to check the situation at home anytime, from anywhere.

With the Protect & Control package, on top of all these, you also get the chance to choose 2 smart home solutions. The Complete package lets you choose 3 such solutions and adds 1TB of cloud storage to the mix. The smart home solutions cover HD video recording, doorbell and outdoor video surveillance, remote front door and garage door access, and smart temperature control.

You can customize any of the above basic packages with additional equipment, according to your home’s specific, your needs and your budget. The available equipment includes:

  • List item
  • Skycontrol panels,
  • Smoke detectors,
  • Window and door sensors,
  • Motion detectors,
  • Key fobs,
  • Recessed door sensors,
  • Glass break detectors,
  • Freeze/flood sensors,
  • Carbon monoxide detectors,
  • Tilt sensors,
  • Small appliance controls,
  • Panic pendants.

Combined, they can help you improve the security of your home and even of your neighborhood, your comfort, and your home’s energy efficiency. The best part is that they use cellular technology to work, providing improved security compared to traditional systems that could be canceled by simply cutting a wire.

Vivint Systems Features

  • Dedicated app that lets you control your home temperature, lights, locks and more, arm and disarm the security system, receive notifications and alerts on your smartphone in case or sensor triggering, and watch the video recordings of the cameras installed live;
  • SkyControl Panel  with 7’’ touchscreen that allows you to monitor and manage all the equipment installed in your home and talk to a monitoring professional in case of emergency;
  • Amazon Echo with Vivint integration and Bluetooth speaker that allows full voice control of the equipment and access to Amazon Music, Spotify, iTunes and more;
  • Nest and Element thermostats that monitor your presence and adjust the temperature in your home when you are away to save energy, display temperature information and allow temperature control from the mobile app;
  • Burglary detection through the motion and window and door sensors that notify you and the monitoring service in case of forced entry attempts;
  • Smart locks that protect your home from unauthorized entry, allow remote control and monitoring and alert you when you forget to lock them;
  • Garage door control that protects your home against forced entry, allows you to open and close your garage door using the mobile app, and notifies you if you forget to close the garage door;
  • Outdoor HD video surveillance camera with night vision that records what goes on around your home 24/7, lets you access 20-second video clips on demand from the Vivint mobile app and notifies you if it detects motion when you’re away;
  • Ping camera with night vision that can be placed anywhere in your home to record what’s going on, give you access to 20-second video clips from the mobile app and send notifications to your smartphone;
  • Doorbell 180o night vision camera that records and lets you see from your mobile device everything going on at your doorstep, and allows you to talk to your visitors through the built-in mic and speaker.
  • Playback lets you store and access the video records of up to 4 cameras for 30 days;
  • 24/7/365 monitoring and support service that you can contact for emergencies, rely on to contact the authorities and ask for technical assistance.
  • Professional services for your system configuration and installation;
  • Cloud storage using the Space Monkey app, allowing you to store, share and access your files anytime, from any mobile device.

Vivint Pricing, Warranty, Cancellation, and Rewards

Given the customizable nature of their packages, the company does not give clear prices for their equipment and services but encourages potential customers to request a quote. They have an ongoing promotion promising equipment worth $1500 for free, under certain terms and conditions.

These terms and conditions involve a 4 or 5 years commitment, package prices starting at $65.99/month, $99 to $199 one-time activation fee, and require the subscriber to prove their homeownership and credit worthiness. Further taxes and fees may apply.

For clients who already have a security system installed, Vivint promises to do their best and integrate whatever equipment they can in the new system. Those who want to add more equipment to the basic package will have to pay for it upfront but will incur the same monitoring subscription costs. Equipment installation is free.

The company offers a limited lifetime warranty on the equipment they make available, covering any natural defects and wear and tear that may occur while the user is an active service subscriber. However, in case such defects appear after 120 days from the installation, the user will have to pay the visit charge and any taxes applicable at that time.

Canceling your service agreement with Vivint requires that you send a written Cancellation Notice mentioning the date, the service number, the desire to cancel and your valid signature. You can send the Cancellation Notice by email, from the email address you used for the account, by post or courier, or by fax at 801-377-4116.

The company offers subscribers the Right of Rescission, allowing them to cancel the service without penalties within a set period of time, mentioned in one’s service agreement. Those who wish to cancel but are still under contract can find someone else to take over their agreement or pay off their account balance. 

Under special circumstances, Vivint may exempt users who wish to cancel from penalties. These circumstances usually refer to death, the transition to assisted living facilities, bankruptcy, etc. However, each request is reviewed individually, and there are no guarantees.

The company’s policies are comparable to those adopted by competitors, and understandable, given the cost and functionality of the equipment involved. The possibility to receive an exemption in unfortunate situations is a plus, but the lack of transparency regarding the Rights of Rescission is a definite setback.

Those who find Vivint services useful but expensive have a chance of lowering their costs with the Rewards program the company implemented. If they refer new clients, both the referrer and the referred will receive a reward. This reward has been of $50 account credit as of March 2014, but the service provider reserves the right to change it as they see fit.

In order to benefit from the reward, your account should be in good standing and the user you refer should activate security or home automation services and get over the rescission period. Their service package should be worth minimum $50.99/month, and they cannot be former subscribers.

You can use social media, email and SMS services to find new referrals, but you cannot send more than 50 texts messages. Sending mass messages to people you do not know can lead to your disqualification. You can only get the reward once, so don’t think about turning this into a business or a solution to pay your subscription in the long run.

Vivint StrengthsVivint Weaknesses

  • Reliable 24/7 monitoring system that you can contact in case of emergency or rely on to call the authorities in case of intrusion or accidents in your absence;
  • Several packages to choose from and the freedom to customize them according to one’s needs and budget;
  • The possibility to monitor one’s home and control certain services from remote, through the dedicated mobile app;
  • The chance to lower one’s monthly bills with the temperature and light control options;
  • Improved comfort and peace of mind due to the possibility to remotely check and control doors and cameras;
  • 24/7 video recording option with cloud storage and accessibility from the Vivint mobile app;
  • Free, professional installation and the possibility to integrate any existing compatible equipment;
  • Improved safety due to the lack of wires to cut in order to by-pass or shut down the security system;
  • The possibility to control various pieces of equipment and devices by voice.

  • High monthly, service calls and early cancellation costs;
  • Long term commitment;
  • The system does not support Wi-Fi;
  • Occasional technical glitches and false alarms;
  • Poor or inefficient customer service.


The Bottom Line about Vivint

It is difficult to give a verdict in this particular case. If you knew that everything will work out and the system you choose will function as promised, the costs would probably be worth it. Yes, they are considerable, but you do not have to pay them upfront, and they provide value, comfort, and peace of mind.

Being able to control your doors and watch the footage of your video cameras from a distance, knowing that you are protected against forced entries, floods, fires, and gas or carbon leaks should count for something. The chance to save on your utility bills by controlling lights and temperature should matter as well.

On the other hand, there are the numerous complaints about various issues and poor Vivint customer support. It does not matter how polite they are if you have to call them ten times or you need to pay for several technical interventions after the 120 days period. The long contract period and the impossibility to cancel without costs are not encouraging either.

If you are looking for a home security, monitoring, and automation system, your best bet is to check out the available offer, the systems’ ratings, and the reputation of the service providers and compare them. If your comparison leads to Vivint, give them a try.

However, to make sure you get the most out of their services, pay special attention to the equipment you choose and its configuration. Don’t go for more than you really need, as you can always add new equipment to the initial package.

Also consider the possibility to install the system in a new home, in case you change residence, you decide to find someone else to take over your contract or you want to use it on a second residence or vacation home. Keep in mind, though, that there are no subscription waivers, and you cannot suspend Vivint services if you do not need them over a certain period.

Also, read the service contract carefully, pay special attention to the Rescission period, test the system immediately after the installation and on the following days, and do not hesitate to use your Rescission right if you realize that it is not for you or it does not work as promised.

This investment could cost you thousands of dollars, and the stakes are your home security and your comfort and peace of mind. Do your homework before contacting Vivint and, if necessary, pressure their staff with questions and service calls a hundred times before they start charging you for it.