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Wannabe Geek


Topic # 126883 23-Jul-2013 01:17
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These guys have been going door to door in my neighbourhood (West AKL) selling new installed Monitored Alarm Systems on a 42 month contract at $60/month. While their gear looked real impressive, I wasn't interested in spending $2500 on something from someone that just knocked on my door for some company I've never heard of. The guy kept pushing but I said no way would I commit without doing my own research first so told him to go do the rest of the street then come back later (when I had enough ammo to shoot him down and send him on his way for good).

Anyway while he was gone I discovered:

- VIVINT is actually a major US alarm company (was APX) that is currently making a big push into the NZ and Australian markets.
- They have a lot of bad rep overseas but mainly from people getting stung trying to get out of their contracts.
- We must be one of the first suburbs as I haven't found a single mention of these guys on any NZ forum.
- Their gear is pretty good, rebranded 2GIG hardware and supports z-wave and other off the shelf alarm/home automation products allowing me to expand without being locked into proprietory equipment.

He actually came at a good time as I was frustrated by my garage door remotes dying, outdated alarm system, longing for a internet visible alarm system and also ambitions of getting into home automation.

So anyway to cut to the chase he came back and I ended up signing up. Installers came an hour later and was all up and running that evening. The way I see it the equipment is worth the $2500 so I am just paying it off over 3.5 years with the monitoring thrown in for free. Yes I could have bought the equipment 2nd hand off ebay for $800 and set it up myself with no monitoring but with 2 kids now I value my spare time and can't really justify the endless nights tinkering away satisfying my inner gadget geek anymore or tweaking things when they break.

OK what it does do:

- All wireless
- Builtin GSM modem for communication back to Central Monitoring station (doesn't use local home wifi/broadband except for IP cams).
- Pretty Touch screen panel which talks
- Ipad/Iphone/Android App
- Web browser interface. Uses Alarm.com back end (best out there)
- Other than the typical alarm sensor stuff, Package also comes with 2 of either IP HD cameras and/or powered deadlocks with keypad entry.
- The usual fire/police/ambo alerts and callback you'd expect with a monitored system.
- Awesome logging/notification options.

As a Home Security System it seems top notch.

What it doesn't do:
The home automation side seems rather limited. Yes you can hook up other z-wave devices and set scenes but you have a very limited selection of triggers and logic which are all alarm based. While I can make it do multiple things with the push of a button, I can't make it smart enough to turn on a light when I walk into a room (trip a motion sensor).

So yeah in summary a great monitored alarm system that is also trying to be a home automation system. While the HA is adequate enough to cater to the needs of 90% of the people out there, the DIY geeks will soon find its limitations. A shame really as it has great potential. The HA shortcomings look to be entirely software based due to lack of options provided by the control panel and website GUI. I'm hoping this could be addressed in further firmware updates. I guess if there is enough interest in this thread we might be able to put some pressure on them to resolve these issues since VIVINT has obviously invested a lot in this NZ/AU push and it is early in the play (oh yeah every single person I dealt with from door salesman to installers to NZ office staff have all been American).

However if you have limited time, want an instant solution that always works, pleases the wife and gets you well and truely started in HA, and you have some spare cash in your gadget fund (I didn't really need that 60" Smart TV yet anyway) then this could be for you.

Those of you that want a little more control, customization and hackability you might want to do more research and weigh up the whats vs the what nots.

Shameless plug: I'd love to push it to it's limits to see what it could do so if anyone else is interested and has a few spare z-wave devices lying around I'd be glad offer my system for testing:). Ohh also if you are interested in getting one and found this useful, want more info let me know because I'll get a $50 referrer fee! (Moderators plz don't ban me and feel free to edit out if I'm bad).






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Baby Get Shaky!
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  Reply # 863997 23-Jul-2013 02:34
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Did they offer any other contract options other than the 60/42? Like pay for kit (or part thereof) with discounted monitoring?

An alarm is on the list for our home after a break in a while ago (while my partner was asleep), our "guard dog" acquired after this doesn't scare anyone except himself. VIVINT's NZ website offers a different price, so I'm guessing there are different packages on offer? Any photos you have would be great (of the install and kit). Looks promising as an entry level HA solution and ticks all the boxes for the better half.

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  Reply # 864008 23-Jul-2013 07:25
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I heard from a family member they where pushing these hard in Ranui, and part of their sales pitch was the control of the system via an iPad.  However in Ranui you would struggle to find a large uptake of high-end  electronics like iPad's so I would love to know the basis of their  pushing such a system in lower-income areas.

I was told the guy was very very pushy, and when told by the family member they had to go out, he said he would come back later that day, then the next day (Saturday), to the point where the family member felt uncomfortable.

Not a good start for a new business to get a rep like that.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 864033 23-Jul-2013 07:57
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timbosan: I heard from a family member they where pushing these hard in Ranui, and part of their sales pitch was the control of the system via an iPad.  However in Ranui you would struggle to find a large uptake of high-end  electronics like iPad's so I would love to know the basis of their  pushing such a system in lower-income areas.

I was told the guy was very very pushy, and when told by the family member they had to go out, he said he would come back later that day, then the next day (Saturday), to the point where the family member felt uncomfortable.

Not a good start for a new business to get a rep like that.

THey must've taken aboard sales reps from HRV

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  Reply # 864130 23-Jul-2013 10:50
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timbosan: I was told the guy was very very pushy, and when told by the family member they had to go out, he said he would come back later that day, then the next day (Saturday), to the point where the family member felt uncomfortable.


Not unheard of. I had a Genesis Energy guy knocking at our door here and I was clear that we weren't looking at changing power company. I actually had to tell him THREE times that we do not want to change provider.

He left but at dinner time he knocked again - probably hoping my wife would open the door. When he saw me he came up with "oh, did I stop here before?"








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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 864148 23-Jul-2013 11:09
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kingjj: Did they offer any other contract options other than the 60/42? Like pay for kit (or part thereof) with discounted monitoring?

An alarm is on the list for our home after a break in a while ago (while my partner was asleep), our "guard dog" acquired after this doesn't scare anyone except himself. VIVINT's NZ website offers a different price, so I'm guessing there are different packages on offer? Any photos you have would be great (of the install and kit). Looks promising as an entry level HA solution and ticks all the boxes for the better half.


To be honest I didn't really ask - just assumed no and that the 42 month was the shortest/cheapest I could get it for.  Also now that I'm out of bed and have checked my contract to confirm the costs it is actually $60.99 + GST I'm paying so $70 per month and $2945 in total over the 3.5 yrs (Grrr fell for the GST excl trick!!).  From mem the basic security plan is $50+GST per month.  The wife also got the extra fire/ambo/police/panic option on top of that.  Sorry for the rough figures - at that stage of the speil I was still in the "Hurry up and get the hell out of my house!!!" mood so wasn't paying that much attention. 

I'm still within my 7 days right to cancel period so thats why I've been researching hard before I'm stuck with it.  Got until the weekend to tell them to take everything away leaving me with all the holes in my wall but still pleased and will keep it unless something major pops up before then.  Walking up my street this morning I saw another 4 houses that got it too so they seem to be doing pretty well around here (Henderson Heights).

Also if you are technically inclined don't bother with the more expensive Energy/Home Automation options. You can buy the same bits third party and add/configure them yourself.

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  Reply # 864341 23-Jul-2013 15:27
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The GST exclusive quote 'trick' sounds downright dodgy if not illegal under the Fair Trading Act. As a door-to-door sale in a residential area, they would have known that it is a business-to-consumer transaction thus GST is very relevant.


IMHO I would be telling them where to shove their sensors, regardless of how good the kit is, dealing with such a unethical company is never going to end well



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  Reply # 864436 23-Jul-2013 16:31
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Hmmm I don't know...I'm still pretty happy with my Apple and Microsoft purchases :)

Just to clarify the salesman probably did mention GST and it was all over the forms I signed - I just wasn't paying attention. And while I do agree VIVINT are just another greedy money grabbing company with demanding shareholders, pushy salesman and poor customer support overseas, I'm really only interested in (and reporting on) the actual product and the price. Balancing morales, ethics and "door knocker rage" I'll leave entirely up to the reader.

Anyway back to the product, after a bit more research I'm going to lower my evaluation of its Home Automation capabilities down to "satisfies the needs of 75% of the people out there".  Seems because the sensors are part of the alarm and not the z-wave network, they are not able to be used as triggers for automation.  And the VIVINT panel doesn't play nicely either as a primary or secondary controller to another z-wave controller.  Once again mostly just a problem for the DIYers.

However one benefit I see for all NZ Home Automation DIYers is that there is now a new local source of z-wave and 345MHz wireless alarm devices from the US, modified for the NZ market.

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  Reply # 878433 14-Aug-2013 22:33
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These guys are bad news. They're currently targeting retired folks in the Western Heights area. Replacing perfectly good alarms systems unnecessarily. Using scare tactics as well. They’ve been telling folks that their alarms systems will stop working soon because the phone lines are going from analogue to digital. What nonsense! The phone system has been digital for decades.

Elderly neighbours have been conned into it and now can barely use the system. It’s extremely dodgy that someone is waiting around the corner to start the install very soon after you sign up. Folks should be given a chance to change their minds.

They’re also offering ‘free’ alarm system if you advertise for them on your property. They supply you with a sign to put on your postbox or gate. Installation isn’t free though and you need to sign for a contract.

Tell your elderly folks out West to look out for these persistent, insistent men.

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  Reply # 886017 28-Aug-2013 17:17
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Great thread - Thanks. Found after a door knocking and heavy discussion and reappointment (later tonight) - Te Atatu Peninsula 28/Aug.

Pushy indeed, soo much that one can smell the likely consumer suck out. Salesman did not want to liaise much information with me, the more techsavvy resident, only un-savvy homeowner/relative. Would not take "no signing tonight only information and clarifying please for some time to think about it" as an option; would not come back next week.Sign and install today. - Too fast for me.

Upon reading I have decided to wait to DIY and take my time browsing technologies available and potential future developments from competitors. 60 months is minimum offered and whilst it sounded simple and affordable ( "less than a flat white a day" - I don't buy a flat white a day bro) I'm confident it will cost more somewhere along the line; contract  is too long and hazy regarding unsubscribing. Was told system would add an additional $5000 to house value...and only AA insurance offered discounts but then later in conversation said all insurers would.   Disappointed to pay more for additional options, over priced additional sensors and panic button facility etc. and limited future/potential compatibility issues. Does not align with any energy or lighting. The salesman argument for older and current systems vulnerabilities are similar to VivInts vulnerabilities also - in my opinion. Would of much preferred some information to (at least temporarily) retain and review; salesman would not let me look at his resources on hand, only for his reference.

I'm sure it would be a deterrent but if someone wants in,they will get in. Once again thanks for all posts, truly helpful - whats wrong with postponing for a week VivInt, I ask? just want to research etc...Gosh. 

 

FYI - the NZ Phone # (VivInt site) connects to a North American call center....communicating is hard despite fluent English speaking from both parties.
They cannot contact NZL salesman etc without badge numbers and full (first&Last names). My salesman introduced himself as king or Kink but his badge read a longer name so nu luck for me.

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  Reply # 886024 28-Aug-2013 17:31
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These guys came around to Royal Heights area today (28th August).  The products looked impressive from a video they showed me on their tablet. I had never heard of them before, so I asked for some brochures, etc so I can do my own research first. He said he can answer whatever questions I had right there and wouldn't part with any more info and offered to sit down with me for 1-2 minutes to go over the details.

I insisted that I need to do some research first and asked for his contact details, but he was rather persistent and wanted to come back in the evening or next day. He said the prices he was offering was good for one day only. That really p*ssed me off because I don't tolerate this kind of pressure selling. In the end he just walked off without giving me any brochures or contact details - his loss because I would have considered giving him a call later after checking out the company as I thought the products were impressive and I was looking for a wireless home alarm system... however, I wouldn't have signed for a 5 year contact (corrected from 3, thanks), it's just too long.

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  Reply # 886025 28-Aug-2013 17:33
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Scuzzy2010: These guys came around to Royal Heights area today (28th August).  The products looked impressive from a video they showed me on their tablet. I had never heard of them before, so I asked for some brochures, etc so I can do my own research first. He said he can answer whatever questions I had right there and wouldn't part with any more info and offered to sit down with me for 1-2 minutes to go over the details.

I insisted that I need to do some research first and asked for his contact details, but he was rather persistent and wanted to come back in the evening or next day. He said the prices he was offering was good for one day only. That really p*ssed me off because I don't tolerate this kind of pressure selling. In the end he just walked off without giving me any brochures or contact details - his loss because I would have considered giving him a call later after checking out the company as I thought the products were impressive and I was looking for a wireless home alarm system... however, I wouldn't have signed for a 3+ year contact, it's just too long.


 

Agreed! (100%) 60months...5years

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  Reply # 886173 28-Aug-2013 21:03
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Considering this company has been fined by thirteen states according to their Wikipedia page for doing exactly what you describe here, I'd be telling them to shove off, and warning your elderly relatives. Might we worth a couple of calls to the Commerce Commission too.

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  Reply # 886186 28-Aug-2013 21:13
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Fressh1er:
Scuzzy2010: These guys came around to Royal Heights area today (28th August).  The products looked impressive from a video they showed me on their tablet. I had never heard of them before, so I asked for some brochures, etc so I can do my own research first. He said he can answer whatever questions I had right there and wouldn't part with any more info and offered to sit down with me for 1-2 minutes to go over the details.

I insisted that I need to do some research first and asked for his contact details, but he was rather persistent and wanted to come back in the evening or next day. He said the prices he was offering was good for one day only. That really p*ssed me off because I don't tolerate this kind of pressure selling. In the end he just walked off without giving me any brochures or contact details - his loss because I would have considered giving him a call later after checking out the company as I thought the products were impressive and I was looking for a wireless home alarm system... however, I wouldn't have signed for a 3+ year contact, it's just too long.


 

Agreed! (100%) 60months...5years


That's the thing I don't get - I can understand dealing with a dodgy company for a one-off transaction if they have a good price and you trust the product, but why on earth would you agree to shackle yourself to a dodgy company for 5 years??

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  Reply # 889229 3-Sep-2013 20:33
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I would be very careful of any security company selling door to door.  There are some great main stream wireless alarm systems on the market, the latest with CCTV cameras integral with the movement sensor and sending a picture to your phone on activation. The pics are stored on the cloud and you can arm disarm the system with your phone.
The security industry has a track record of gung ho door to door companies selling security systems for two to three times the market rate. None of them last very long and then disappear along with any support. The contract will last 5 years, the question is, will the door to door security company?



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  Reply # 889349 3-Sep-2013 23:56
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Securitypro: I would be very careful of any security company selling door to door.  There are some great main stream wireless alarm systems on the market, the latest with CCTV cameras integral with the movement sensor and sending a picture to your phone on activation. The pics are stored on the cloud and you can arm disarm the system with your phone.
The security industry has a track record of gung ho door to door companies selling security systems for two to three times the market rate. None of them last very long and then disappear along with any support. The contract will last 5 years, the question is, will the door to door security company?




I'd be interested in some ideas around this. What products are you speaking of ? 


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