Consumer Justice: Customers Upset With Security Company

GAINESVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Lauren McCall and Cameron Aston of Gainesville, Texas were in the market for a home security system. So, they didn’t mind too much when a Vivint salesman stopped by unannounced in late April.
“He pushed his way in and he said, well I can show you all while you eat dinner,” said McCall.
The push-to-talk doorbell camera feature sold them on the system and they only had one concern. “Is this going to work on our wi-fi because we’ve had trouble before just streaming video,” said Aston.
They said the tech checked their internet speed and said it would work without any issues. “The cost of the equipment was $1925 and some odd cents,” said McCall.
The couple said they agreed to a one-year contract but when it was time to sign the salesman’s iPad, things didn’t seem quite right.
“His iPad was horizontal so he went to the box and it shows activation fee zero, equipment $1925 and it said another fee and another fee… and it all showed zero,” recalled McCall.
McCall believes the tech didn’t hand them the iPad on purpose. “Little did we know there was another box on the other side, cause he kept acting like his ipad wasn’t working. He kept turning it away from us,” she said.
McCall said the box showed the contract was 60 months and cost $49.99 a month after the first year.  “We wouldn’t have signed a 60 month, five year contract with them.”
They said the system stopped working after a month. Aston said, “The cameras completely went out.”
When they called Vivint, they were told their options were to sell the contract to someone else, return the equipment and continue to pay the monthly fee or pay thousands of dollars to get out of it.
More than 232 customers complained about Vivint to the Attorney General’s office since 2011. The company just settled with the AG’s office over not being registered to do door-to-door sales in Texas.
But as part of the settlement, the company admitted to no wrong doing. “I feel duped and betrayed because I was the one who was talking with him the whole time,” said Aston.
CBS 11 News reached out to Vivint. The company said they are willing to work with the customer and fix their system to make sure it works or they will not pay for it.
The company gave us this statement that said, in part:
“Vivint doesn’t install any equipment in a customer’s home without first doing a verbal, pre-install survey to confirm all the details of the contract, including monthly payment, contract length and the customer’s awareness of cancellation options. 
 
I’ve also attached the contract with both signatures which was sent via email immediately after the sale and before installation. We sell equipment and services separately – the equipment is financed with a zero-interest loan through Citizens Bank, and the monthly service plan through Vivint. This financing allows them to have nearly $2,000 worth of equipment installed in their home with no upfront cost, and then spread out payments for both equipment and services with zero-percent financing for 60 months. All major security providers, e.g., ADT, do something similar by offering a certain amount of equipment at little or no cost up front, as part of a longer-term contract.
 
We installed the system for Jeffery and Lauren on 4/21/17 and first heard from them a month later on 5/25/17. They called to say that they are considering selling their home and wanted to cancel their contract. Our customer care representative reviewed their cancellation options: 1) move the contract to their new home, 2) transfer the contract to someone else (e.g., the new homeowner) or 3) pay off the loan. We offered to put their loan on hold for six months until they found a new place. We also learned for the first time that their cameras weren’t working properly with their Wi-Fi speed and we offered to 1) send out a technician to fix free of charge, 2) install another router, 3) adjust their payments so they could afford to upgrade their Wi-Fi, or 4) refund and uninstall their three cameras. They denied all options.”
The couple plans to get an attorney.
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