Vivint Pros & Cons
- Heavy Focus On Smart Home Features
- Equipment Is Available For Financing
- Flexible Contract Terms For Seniors & Military Families
- Highly Innovative Equipment
- 24/7 Professional Monitoring
- Professional Installation
- Long-Term Contracts
- Negative Consumer Reviews
- You Can't Buy Equipment Online
Who Is Vivint Most Ideal For?
Given Vivint's extensive smart home portfolio, it's best for families or individuals who want to make their home smarter and more secure. It's ideal even for those who already have smart home products, because Vivint's system integrates well with third-party smart home brands.
Vivint is also ideal for those looking to protect their homes but don't want long-term contracts. As long as you buyout your equipment upfront, you can sign a month-to-month contract where in you can cancel the service anytime you want. However, if you are on a budget and want to finance your security equipment, Vivint requires a 4 or 5-year contract.
Finally, seniors and military families can take advantage of Vivint's flexible contract termination policy. Regular customers have to buyout their contracts if they want to cancel in the middle of the contract term, but military family and seniors are given a pass if they're relocating to a new home or moving into an assisted living home.
Vivint's Sales Process Reviewed
When it comes to the sales process, Vivint is kind of like ADT. You can't buy your equipment online. Rather, you need to get in touch with a sales rep either via phone call or house visit. Vivint is also known to occasionally send sales reps door-to-door. When speaking to door-to-door sales reps, be sure to check their ID badge and verify their ID number on Vivint's website.
Usually, the sales process starts in you choosing your equipment. You can either go with the pre-built equipment packages or pick out your sensors and devices one-by-one. Next, choose how you want to pay for the equipment. If you pay the entire equipment cost upfront, you have the option to sign a month-to-month contract. However, note that the equipment alone could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Your second option is to finance the equipment and pay it monthly over the course of up to 5 years with 0% APR. If you choose this option, you must sign a 4 or 5-year contract and you'll be subjected to a credit check.
Finally, Vivint requires professional installation. They will send a technician to deliver and install your security system. The catch is that Vivint charges $99 for the installation, but Vivint's sales reps often say that the installation fee can be waived. Once installed, the technician will walk you through the operation of the security system and activate it. Always make sure that the system is activated before the technician leaves. If not activated, your control panel won't be able to connect to the monitoring center and you'll be paying for a service that you can't use.
Vivint Equipment Review
Building a security system with Vivint is a complicated process, especially because Vivint has a lot to offer. Here are some the products from Vivint that we recommend.
Vivint Smart Hub (SkyControl)
The very first product you should add to your security system is the Smart Hub, also known as SkyControl. The Smart Hub is a touchscreen control panel that you can use to control and make changes to your security and smart home system. It's an in-wall device, similar to control panels offered by most alarm companies.
The Smart Hub has several standout features.
First and foremost, it has an elegant yet easy-to-use touchscreen interface that almost anyone, whether young or old, can access.
Second, it has built-in microphones and speaker for two-way talk. Right from the Smart Hub, you can call family members who have the Vivint Smart Home app on their smartphones as well as people standing close to your security cameras. For example, you can use it to answer your door without actually opening the door. The monitoring center can also use the two-way talk feature to verify alerts.
Third, the control panel uses both Wi-Fi and cellular signal to communicate with the monitoring center. Cellular signal is considered the most efficient communication method for security systems. Unlike landlines and broadband, there are no wires to cut and you don't need to maintain a working landline or internet connection. However, take note that some features, like the use of security cameras, require a working internet connection.
Fourth, Smart Hub can work for a short period of time without power thanks to its battery backup. When the power goes out, the battery backup instantly kicks in. When the power is back on, the battery will automatically recharge.
Finally, all signals going to and coming from the Smart Hub are encrypted.
Each security system can only have one Smart Hub, but if you want to be able to control your security system from other places within your home, you can add several Vivint Glance remote touchscreen controllers.
In terms of function and features, Vivint Glance is a lot like Smart Hub. It controls your security system, has a touchscreen interface, has battery backup, and offers two-way talk. The difference is that it doesn't have to go in-wall. You can place it on a table or counter for seamless control of your smart security system. We recommend placing Vivint Glance in places where you often stay, such as in the master's bedroom, kitchen, or living area.
Vivint Smart Home App
Vivint Smart Hub and Vivint Glance cover in-home control. When you're away, the only way to control or access your security system is using the Vivint Smart Home app. The app, available to iOS and Android users, functions similarly to the Smart Hub and Vivint Glance. The difference is that it can go with you whether you're at work or on the other side of the globe.
One of the key features of the app is home automation that ties into your home security. You can create rules that trigger your security system or smart home devices to do something based on triggers that you've set. For example, you can set you security system to arm whenever you lock the door or your doors to lock at a specific time every night.
In addition, the app has an AI called Sky that is capable of machine learning and proactively automating your home's temperature based on what it learns about your routine. For example, it can use your phone's location to know when you're home and when you're away. When you're home, it automatically adjusts your smart thermostat to maximum comfort. When you're away, it turns down your thermostat to save energy. It can also learn your temperature preference when you're awake and when you're asleep and eventually use it to auto-adjust your temperature.
Another standout app feature is the fact that it's not only for the master of the house. If you have kids or other family members living with you, you can create an individual account for them so they too can use the app. As the master account user, you can create permissions and set limits for each user.
Aside from devices that control, Vivint offers products built to detect possible intrusions.
First, Vivint offers a glass break sensor to detect possible forced entry. The glass break sensor is a device trained to listen for the sound of glass breaking. If it does detect breaking glass, it notifies the monitoring center.
Second, Vivint offers sensors that detect unauthorized entry, either via a door, window, or other entryways. Under this category, Vivint offers door/window sensors and motion sensors.
Vivint also offers sensors designed to detect hazardous elements that can cause injury, loss of life, or expensive damages to your home.
First, it offers smoke alarms. These sensors detect smoke and excessive heat and reports back to the Smart Hub so an alert can be sent to the monitoring center. Each sensor can cover a 35-foot radius area. It also reports tampering and battery conditions to the control panel.
Second, Vivint offers CO detectors. Carbon Monoxide is toxic to the human body, so the CO detector's job is to let you and the monitoring center know if the natural gas is detected in your home. Like the smoke alarm, each CO detector protects a 35-foot radius and reports its battery condition to the control panel.
Finally, Vivint offers water sensors designed to detect leaks in places like under the sink, dishwashers, tubs, or basement. It also doubles as a freeze sensor.
Smart Devices That Protect
Unlike other alarm companies, Vivint's security equipment doesn't end in sensors. The company also offers smart devices designed to proactively make your home more secure, such as smart locks and garage door controllers.
Using Vivint's smartphone app, you can automate your smart locks and garage door controller to make your home more secure. For example, you can schedule your front door and garage door to automatically lock at a specific time every night. No more leaving your door unlocked all night. You can also program your doors to automatically lock as you leave the house using geofencing rules. Of course, you can also control your locks using the Smart Hub, Vivint Glance, or Vivint Smart Home app.
Vivint's protection extends outside homes and into cars. One of Vivint's latest products is Car Guard, a small device that plugs into your car's OBD II port. Primarily, Car Guard is a sensor that detects if your car is being stolen, towed, or just bumped. If triggered, it sends an alert to your smartphone so you can act immediately. It also syncs with your smart home so you can make your lights turn on or get your cameras to record when your vehicle is disturbed.
Car Guard also doubles as a diagnostic tool, notifying you about mechanical issues and reminding you of maintenance services.
Finally, it has a location tracker so you can track your car if it gets stolen or your family members driving it.
To further make your home secure, Vivint offers security cameras. Currently, there are three cameras on Vivint's lineup: a doorbell camera with a minimalist design, a smart indoor camera called Ping, and an outdoor camera backed with artificial intelligence. The outdoor camera is the latest addition to the Vivint system. It uses artificial intelligence to detect possible threats, like a person lurking in your property for too long, and offers a 1080p resolution with a 4K image sensor.
All three cameras don't record locally, so a cloud subscription, which is included in Vivint's highest-tier monitoring plan, is required. However, the monitoring plan only covers cloud storage for two cameras and only event videos are recorded. Activating cloud storage for each additional camera will cost you $5/month. Another option is to purchase Vivint Smart Drive, a local DVR that can store up to 30 days of continuous recording for four cameras. No monthly fee is required.
Vivint Monitoring Review
Besides offering highly innovative security products, Vivint's primary business is offering monitoring services. It currently has over 1 million customers across the U.S. and Canada and it provides monitoring services to them through its two redundant monitoring centers located in Utah and Minnesota. Because the monitoring centers are redundant, Vivint continues to operate even if one of the central stations temporarily goes down. Both central stations are also equipped with backup generators and uninterrupted power supplies so they can continue to operate during power outages.
Cost Of Monitoring
Vivint doesn't share its monitoring plan pricing. Instead, you must call Vivint so they can tell you what monitoring plans are available to you. That said, our online sources tell us that Vivint's monitoring can start as low as $29.99/per month and can go as high as $49.99. All monitoring plans include 24/7 professional monitoring, smartphone access, Vivint Live, and premium tech support.
24/7 Professional Monitoring
Every monitoring plan Vivint offers includes professional monitoring. The Smart Hub reports any risk detected by its sensors to the central station so that a live agent can check on you and send help if necessary.
One way the central station will check on you during an emergency is via Vivint Live. Instead of waiting for you to pick up your phone, Vivint Live quickly connects you to a live agent by taking advantage of the Smart Hub's two-way talk feature.
Vivint offers smartphone access to all its customers. Using the Vivint Smart Home app, you can control, monitor, and customize your security system on-the-go. Just make sure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data.
Vivint's monitoring plans with a higher monthly fee offer more advanced features, such as home automation. With home automation features, you can create rules for your security system and smart home devices to follow.
Cloud & Continuous Recording
If you add security cameras to your Vivint system, choosing the most expensive monitoring plan is the best way to go. With it, you get cloud storage for up to two cameras so they can store event videos in the cloud.
If you'd rather have your cameras record continuously and not only when there's a motion event, you may purchase the Vivint Smart Drive, which can store continuous videos for 30 days from up to four security cameras.
Vivint Customer Service Overview
Vivint's customer service is a hit-and-miss. If you're looking for customer-friendly policies, Vivint is a hit. Its policies are highly flexible and often in the favor of its customers. However, it's known to have aggressive sales strategies that are not a good fit for many potential clients.
Vivint is one of the very few companies that offer no-contract monitoring. This offer is exclusive to those who will purchase the equipment upfront. The catch is that the equipment can be pricey, reaching up to $1000 depending on your add-on devices. If you'd rather finance the equipment fee and pay an additional $10+/month with no interest, that's okay, too. However, Vivint will subject you to credit checks and require a 4 or 5-year contract.
If you're on a no-contract monitoring plan, cancellation is easy and you can do it anytime. Just provide Vivint a cancellation notice via fax, email, or snail mail before the current monthly cycle ends. However, if you signed a long-term contract, cancelling the service mid-term will require you to buyout your equipment and monitoring contract. Even if you won't be using the system any longer, you must still pay for the remaining months of your contract.
The good news is Vivint can be flexible for military families or seniors switching to assisted living. As long as you have proof, such as a PCS order for military families, you can contact Vivint and ask them to waive the cancellation fee.
If you're relocating, Vivint provides you with several of options.
First, you can leave the system behind and get a brand new security system and monitoring contract. The new owners of your previous residence can takeover your old system and you'll even get a Referral Credit.
Second, you can move the entire system with you. You can remove the system yourself or call a Vivint technician to box it up for you for $129. When the system is ready to be installed in your new home, another technician will schedule a professional installation for another $129. Unfortunately, you can't install the system yourself. If you've has a smart lock, thermostat, or video doorbell installed in your old home, Vivint will replace up to three of them free of charge.
Third, you can leave some of your devices behind and just take your Smart Hub and other plug-in items (cameras, fobs, panic pendants, Smart Drive, etc.). Vivint will give you a new starter kit, which includes 4 door/window sensors and one smoke detector, motion sensor, or glass break sensor of your choice. Up to three smart locks, thermostats, and doorbell cameras will also be replaced.
Fourth, if your contract is over, you can ask Vivint to remove the system from your old residence but not move it to your new home. A pro will come to your old home and uninstall the system for $129.
Finally, if you're a member of the military and you want to move your system with you, Vivint offers a free military move.
Vivint also provides lifetime support to all paying customers. If something goes wrong within the first six months of ownership, Vivint will cover you free of charge. After six months, service calls will cost $49. The good news is that it’s $49, never more. The bad news is that not only will you incur a charge, but it also takes time to schedule and meet with an in-home technician. The warranty covers defective parts as well as damage from normal wear-and-tear. If you request a repair that falls into a different category (abuse, neglect, neediness), you will be charged additional fees.
Customer Service Complaints
While Vivint excels in technology and automation, they fail when it comes to customer service. They’ve rebranded multiple times, trying to shake their history, but they continue to struggle. In the past, they’ve fallen as low as an F rating from the BBB. Over the years we’ve seen that rating rise from a C+, to a B+, before falling to B, and then to its current level, a C-. Vivint’s reputation is anything but stable.
The most common complaint against Vivint is with regards to cancellation. Many customers find themselves unable to cancel their service even after the initial contract term because Vivint has extended their contract. In Vivint's response, they say that the contracts were extended after their representative called and asked their customers whether they want to extend their contract in exchange for free equipment upgrades. If you do sign up for a Vivint system, watch out for those contract extensions.
Customer Vivint Reviews
Good system, needs a few more upgrades
Reviewed by Adam on Feb. 16, 2018
Pros: Unlike most, I have had a great experience with both the customer service and the technicians. I have constantly had my issues solved in a quick manner and gotten great service on installs with people that are willing to work with you on pricing. Example: I moved from a mid-size apartment with 2 doors and 3 windows on the first floor to a home with nearly 20 windows. They did some amazing pricing to get all of them wired up as well as put in an access point router to keep all the wireless congestion off my main wireless router.
Cons: Pricing for cameras is beyond what is reasonable. I have been quoted over $700 for two outdoor cams to be installed when I can buy an 8 cam system and have it installed for a similar price with other companies. Yes, the integration would be good but the cost makes it unlikely. I would also like to see additional options for locks and doorbells. Sometimes a one size fits all is not the best.
Overall I am happy with the system but if they don't keep up with technology over the next couple of years I will be going with a different company.
LOOK AT THE STATISTICS! a "How To" for making a judgement.
Reviewed by Eric on Feb. 8, 2018
Eric review of Vivint.
SO... Before I get into my personal experience with Vivint, know that I am someone who works with statistics and if you look at the total customer base Vivint has (about 2 million customers reportedly) and then look at every negative review posted on BBB or other sites they possibly add up to about 10,000~ negative reviews, if so that is only 0.005% of the customer base reporting as unhappy customers or 1/2 of one percent!
This is why you need to be careful when reading reviews because the first thing people do when they are unhappy is written a negative online review but if they love a company or service they tell their family and friends while rarely writing a positive review. This human behavior on how we respond to things we like or dislike really skews the perception online. I think that is why the report by J.D. Powers ranking Vivint as #1 for customer satisfaction in 2017 is reverse of what is posted on several online sources for customer reviews.
I have worked with many companies and when you see how all the crazy online reviews affect the market and how they do not really show what the vast majority of customers experience and how they can be really skewed based on how we, as humans, like to express ourselves it makes you wish there was a more effective way to rate a company. The final nail to this argument is there is no standard process or method of verifying most reviews and if a competitive company wants to write fake negative reviews about another company and fake positive reviews about their own products there is not a way to fully stop that.
I do believe in reading some reviews to get an idea of what the most extreme example of what some few people might have experience and reported while withholding some of the information. Most if not all companies spend huge amounts of money trying to have great customer service as it causes a huge loss in profit and even if a company does not care about its customers it cares about profits and will make changes to protect those profits. That means that all companies are motivated to work very hard to provide good customer service. From my experience, most bad customer service is the result of an uncaring or disgruntled individual employee, not the way the company does things usually.
Here is my personal experience with an imperfect company that did right by me. I have a Vivint system (installed mid-2017) and have had issues in the past with it but Vivint customer service took care of each one of my concerns. First, my Smart Lock had a mechanical defect within 2 hours of being installed but after the technician had left (think Murphy's law) and I called Vivint customer service and they promptly sent me a new one within 5 days and a shipping label to return the defective one. Then a quick call once the replacement lock arrived and the tech on the phone was able to easily walk me through adding the new lock on the system. Second, my inside camera stopped connecting one day and a quick call and I found out I had put it into privacy mode and they walked me through how to get that turned off and how to set rules to set it to automatically turn on or off for when I am home or not. Overall I am very happy with the service and the service provided. The system works about 95% as well as I expected (nothing is perfect).
My advice to shoppers of any product, use math, science, and statistics and some patients to find the truth not emotionally charged reviews of rare situations.
Reviewed by Jon on Sep. 17, 2017
Installation went very well. The process started with a competent and professional salesperson who verified the compatibility of Vivint equipment with my new home situation. This included things like prewired door and window sensors, garage door opener, and HVAC controls. The Vivint installers connected security system pre-wire installation by the homebuilder and connected twenty-something hard wire window and door sensors. The system works great, individual door and window sensors are recognized by Vivint. The Vivint thermostat looks and works great. The system interfaces with Amazon Echo units and the installers knew what steps I needed to take to get my Amazon account and Vivint accounts.
DO NOT USE VIVINT
Reviewed by Richard on Oct. 7, 2017
DO NOT USE VIVINT!!! Vivint is extorting me for a service I do not use. I changed companies, had a new panel installed, and called to cancel the service. After getting billed again I called. They claim I entered into a new contract with them until 2020, which is ridiculous since I have service from another company and do not plan to live in this house that long. If I do not pay, they threatened, I will have to pay the entire amount due plus all legal fees which will be extensive. With this threat, I'm forced to continue paying them for a service I do not use. PLEASE, PLEASE, DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE.
Reviewed by Cristiane on Apr. 8, 2017
Vivint is a horrible company. They play charges and are very dishonest. I had all my plan set up with a sales representative over the phone. The next day, the technician showed up with an incomplete order, of course. When he called the sales department, he mentioned that I needed more equipment. The sales representative came back with another plan more expensive, claiming I was ordering extra equipment. Now the questions is? What happened to my order from the day before?? Is that how they play with customers to make more money. I cancelled my order and now I am hoping the are honest enough to refund my money. Stay away from this company, please!!!!
never talk to anyone at vivint! stay away! please!!!!!!!!
Reviewed by philip on Jan. 23, 2019
Forget anything about the equipment or whatever it is they're selling you. That's all a front for the contract scam they're running. All they want is for you to sign a contract. Once you do that, you'll never get out. They'll renew your contract without your approval or agreement and try to get as much money out of you as possible.
I've been trying to get away from them for 3 years. I signed up 6 years ago due to a pushy salesman telling me lies about being able to get out of the contract if you have to relocate. We did have to relocate due to my wife's job 3 years ago, and it took me months to cancel the contract. Once canceled, they claim that I owe over $1,000 for the remainder of the service contract.
Why would I pay over $1,000 for a service that I don't have? They treat the service contract as if you are buying a tangible item. In other words, if they could potentially charge you $2,997 over 5 years for service, that's what they claim you owe them regardless of whether they provide anything during that time.
Say you sign up and pay them $500 out of $3000 and then decide to cancel. They'll send your account to collections for the remaining $2500 even though they haven't done anything to actually earn that money. The contract is for money. Not services. It's like they imagine that you're only signing a contract so you can pay them a bunch of money for no reason.
Please, please please never engage anyone from Vivint. You'll regret it for the rest of your life.
Monitoring System Is Great--But Pray Your Equipment Doesn't Break Down
Reviewed by Chuck on Sep. 10, 2017
Keep hoping everything works because Customer Support is terrible. Support is divided by types of equipment. The first level is triage; after you explain the problem (after waiting on hold a minimum of 30 minutes), they have to transfer you, where you wait on hold it seems forever. 3) If a piece of equipment stops working, they will do everything possible to keep from sending a repair person. I don't know why because they will charge you to have someone come to your house to fix anything.