Vivint Smart Home Reviews Show Angry Customers
Vivint Smart Home reviews reveal poor performance and awful customer service
Today, we’re going to delve into Vivint Smart Home reviews from actual customers.
Vivint is a huge player in not only home security – historically their main focus – but home automation and solar as well. Here at UnderstandSolar, we’ve reviewed just about every piece of the Vivint pie – from solar to home security to their smart thermostat. Now that we’ve reviewed their smart home offering – we’ve come to a single conclusion: With their huge growth over the last decade, it is astonishing how bad reviews of Vivint are!
Their Smart Home offering falls into the same pit as everything else. On paper, Vivint has some awesome gadgets and services to make your life easier and safer. Unfortunately, those same gadgets are mired in poor performance and some truly awful customer service.
Note: If you’d like to read over our reviews of Vivint’s other products, we link to each one at the end of this article. Review information and pricing are current as of November 2017.
What is Vivint Smart Home?
At its most basic, Vivint is a subscription home security service.
For a monthly fee, they monitor your home 24/7 for intrusions, fire, and carbon monoxide. Since their start as a home security company, they’ve added energy management (via smart thermostats) and home automation, including video monitoring, remote controlling of doors, and all the security features mentioned above. They’ve even jumped into the solar industry, installing residential systems.
If you want to join up with Vivint for home automation, you’ll need to purchase their most basic $549 system. This includes a touch-screen control panel (the ‘brains’ of the whole operation), as well as a motion detector and two door sensors. Then you’ll need to sign up for one of the two Vivint subscription services. If you’re looking for home automation, you’ll want the latter option:
- Smart Protect ($39.99/month) is the more basic offering and exclusively focuses on security, providing 24/7 monitoring for break-ins, fire, and carbon monoxide.
- Smart Home ($49.99/month) is more expensive but includes 24/7 monitoring as well as the ability to remotely use all their fun toys like the doorbell cam, remote door locks, and the smart thermostat (that you’ll need to pay extra for).
- Alternatively, you can also buy all the equipment a-la-carte and have them installed without buying a subscription service, but then you can’t access your gadgets remotely. Other functionality is cut back as well – negating many of the automation features you were probably looking for in the first place.
Extra automation gadgets include:
- Additional Door/Window Sensors ($40/each)
- Ping Camera ($200/each) A two-way communicating camera that can send notifications, record day and night, and begin recording when motion is detected.
- Element Smart Thermostat ($150) If you’re looking for home automation, a smart thermostat is a must have. The thermostat will automatically raise and lower temperatures while you’re away and with the Vivint app, you can control your home’s temperature remotely.
- Doorbell with Video (Price Unknown) Allows you to see who’s knocking at your door right from your living room.
- Don’t forget the installation fee, which will likely be around $150.
It can’t be denied – Vivint offers some awesome toys! With the video doorbell, you’ll never need to talk to door-to-door salesmen again (which is, ironically, Vivint’s main sales tactic).
If you are interested in going full-on automated, you’ll need/want most of the gadgets above, as well as the pricier Smart Home subscription. Thankfully, Vivint often has deals where you get a certain number of gadgets for free when you sign up for their subscription services, so you probably won’t have to dig into your pockets too much right at the outset.
Even with this discount, though, is Vivint’s smart home offering worth it? Let’s take a look at some review scores for Vivint Smart Home.
Overview of Vivint Smart Home reviews
Although all their services are undeniably super-cool, the quality of the gadgets, their installation, and Vivint’s own customer service leave quite a lot to be desired. On Yelp, Vivint Smart Home enjoys a measly 2 out of 5 stars, based on 87 reviews. Of these reviewers, a full 62% gave them 0 stars!
On review platform BestCompany, Vivint Smart Home fairs slightly better with 2.8 out of 5 stars, though that score is only based on 6 reviews. Of these 6 reviews, half gave 1 star and half gave 5 stars.
Even in the glowing review from PCMag that we link to above, when you scroll down to the 20 or so comments from readers, every single comment save one are warnings to stay away from Vivint. That’s never a good thing! What’s going on?
Analysis of Vivint Smart Home reviews
Clearly, there’s a disconnect between the experience Vivint promises with their state-of-the-art offerings and the actual experiences of customers. While on paper Vivint’s gadgets and services sound great, in reality, they seem to malfunction frequently and customer service isn’t great at working with homeowners to fix their problems.
Let’s see what these customers have to say by diving into a few reviews.
Common Vivint Smart Home compliments
Let’s start with the good. When all the equipment works, customers love the freedom that Vivint’s setup offers. Here’s Matt on Yelp discussing his experience with Vivint Smart Home:
“I absolutely love my Vivint SmartHome. I love that I can control my home from my phone anywhere I have service. I can not only see who rings my doorbell, but talk to them as well!!! I can also close my garage door when my fiance forgets to close it… I could go on and on about it but to sum it up, I highly recommend this company and their products and services. Best decision I have made in a long time.”
And here’s Marc on Yelp also discussing his Vivint Smart Home installation and his sales rep:
“And I’ve seen / used other home system apps but this one is the BEST and easiest to use by far. Better than Nest, Digital Life, and Pulse.”
These reviews are great, but unfortunately, they’re just a small slice of the overall pie. The vast majority of reviewers report extremely negative experiences. Let’s take a look at those now.
Common Vivint Smart Home complaints
With such low review scores on Yelp and Best Company, you bet there are some angry Vivint customers out there. Reviewers routinely complain of installation techs not showing up on the agreed upon date, extremely poor customer service after systems are installed, shoddy equipment that doesn’t work properly, and the high price of the contract (especially if you want to end it early).
And yes, that’s a lot to complain about, but Vivint really does have dozens upon dozens of reviews from angry customers.
Let’s start with Martha, who’s had a particularly frustrating experience with both Vivint’s equipment and customer service:
“I wish I could give them 0 stars. Total joke of a company. Nobody knows anything. 3 appointments, 2 weeks apart each one and no one has shown up. All customer service tells me is “the technicians are busy” really?? Can’t cancel it unless I pay the remainder of the 5yr contract, I’ve only been with them for 2 months! False alarms, door won’t properly lock sometimes. HORRIBLE COMPANY.”
Here’s Ryan, also frustrated with Vivint’s poor customer service:
“I signed up with these guys over a year ago. I recently moved so we called them up to come and install the alarm system at the new place they gave us an appointment 3 weeks out. Making a long story short they kept on calling and changing the date of the appointment over and over again, now it’s been 8 weeks without alarm system and the customer service rep calling me and asking why I canceled the appointments? Well I never canceled any appointment! Something shady is going on with this company and I WILL MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT IT!”
Lastly, here’s Sam wanting to cancel his subscription after 4 days:
“System was installed less than 4 days ago and already scheduled for removal. Multiple false alarms. Over 30 empty “visitor” images from doorbell camera yet it missed 2 actual people. Took my money and installed in less than 4 days but can’t service for almost 2 weeks. Emailed president of the company on their website, promises a response in 24 hours. No response yet. Bottom line, look at other options. They’re too expensive for this complete lack of service and support.”
Vivint Smart Home vs other smart home options
If all you’re looking for is home automation – not security services – you can easily piece together your own custom system for a fraction of the cost of Vivint’s Smart Home package – all right on Amazon. Consider the following shopping list, almost all of which can communicate with Amazon Alexa as a hub:
- Amazon Alexa as the ‘home base’ where you control everything
- Nest Smart Thermostat to smartly control your heat/AC and save money (integrates with Alexa)
- Nest Cam Indoor lets you keep an eye on the kiddos at home alone (integrates with Alexa too)
- Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro (integrates with Alexa) self-explanatory
- Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm allows you to remotely control your lock and comes with 3 alert settings (integrates with Alexa)
- Philips Hue LED Start Kit allows you to control your lighting – one step beyond Vivint! (integrates with Alexa)
All the equipment above get stellar reviews and, in total, you’ll spend about $1,000 for everything. You might spend about the same with Vivint upfront, but then you have no subscription service fees. You can also decide exactly what pieces of equipment make sense for you.
If you’re looking for something even cheaper, check out home security kits that you can install yourself. The adobe Connected Home Security and Automation Starter Kit, for example, clocks in under $300, integrates with Alexa, and comes with a hub, motion sensor, door/window sensor, key chain remote, and app.
Of course, taking the DIY approach above means you’re missing out on 24/7 off-site monitoring and the additional security features Vivint provides. If that’s what you’re looking for, there are so many companies that can meet your needs: ADT, Crestron, Control4, Savant to name a few. Do your research and take your pick.
Should you sign up for Vivint Smart Home?
I hate to say it, but I’d steer clear of Vivint. While their products are super-cool, the atrocious customer service and poor performance of the gadgets – along with the high price – make Vivint’s Smart Home option something you really should pass on if you want to keep your sanity. There are just too many angry customers out there wanting to end their Vivint contracts early to allow me to comfortably recommend them.
If you simply want home automation, there are many different products that are far less expensive and see much better reviews. Take a look at those. If you want full-on home security and monitoring, you’ve got other options as well.
For more information on Vivint, read over our other articles:
- Vivint Solar Reviews: What Are People Saying?
- Vivint Home Security Reviews
- Vivint Thermostat Reviews: Element Users Sound Off
Do you have any experiences with Vivint’s Smart Home package or any other Vivint offering? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!