How to Cancel a Vivint Contract, File a Complaint, & Switch Providers
Kick Vivint to the Curb and Switch Your Monitoring
If you need help with your panel, sensors, gear, or monitoring options, be sure to visit the DIY Forums.
Both the Sky Panel, and the GoControl panel use 2GIG sensors and gear, and both were originally designed and developed by 2GIG. Both panels use the same Installer code (2203), and User 8 code (2580), but only the GoControl can be unlocked, firmware updated to OEM, taken over and monitored by someone else (average cost for monitoring/home automation is around $27/month, no contract).
Typically, to unlock, update and takeover monitoring of a Vivint GoControl (GC2) the process involves updating the panel with a $25 2GIG firmware update cable, and freely downloadable firmware, (if current firmware on panel is below *1.9.6 which is the minimum required for 3G modules), and then by replacing the cell module (average 3G Verizon module cost is like $80), or by obtaining a Broadband/WIFI GoBridge ($80, and requires firmware 1.10 or higher). Finally once backend service is established, the panel is then reprovisioned, and can be remotely reset for Q44 (reset to 0) which provides Programming menu and installer access.
* Current panel and ts1 firmware for the 2GIG GoControl panel as of this moment is 1.16, but since Vivint panels typically run older, outdated firmware, updates should be incremently installed to prevent bricking of the panel/ts1 (e.g., I.9.6, 1.10.1, 1.12, 1.13, 1.14.01, 1.16).
You can check your firmware version like so: security>menu>toolbox>master code>click right arrow>version>firmware version.
Note: Free, up-to-date firmware can be downloaded HERE.
The GoControl panel can then be monitored via telephone (POTS) as a conventional system, or via cellular/WIFI with the following backend services: Alarm.com (ADC); **Telguard; **Uplink; *Securenet; *iControl One.
* added in 1.16 (alarm.com, Securenet, iControl One)
** removed in 1.16 (1.14.01 supported alarm.com, Telguard, Uplink)
You can though, reset a Sky panel, unlock it, and gain installer and programming access by opening the panel, and holding in the panel tamper button. Then you need to immediately disable the installer lockout. But because of the proprietary cell module/WIFI, and panel firmware, it cannot be readily taken over and monitored by someone else. You can though, continue to use the Sky as a local alarm, surveillance, and automation system, and install your own gear to it, (or you can replace the Sky with either the GoControl, or the third generation 2GIG GC3 panel, get it monitored, and reuse all the existing sensors, and most of the gear).
First, you must remove cell unit. Trash it, as it cannot be reused. Do not place it back into a reset Sky panel. The panel tamper switch is also a 'Panel Reset'. Power panel up after cell removal, once at home screen press and hold tamper button for about 30 seconds until the display reads "Panel reset please wait". Display will then go blank and panel will default to factory settings.
How to get out of a Vivint contract
Vivint contracts have automatic renewal clauses, and they are notoriously difficult to get out of (be especially wary of telephone verbal contract extensions!). Even those who successfully manage to cancel, still end up getting billed and sent to collections.
This company has a bad history and is notorious for improperly billing (even those customers still under contract).
You can fight back.
Even if there are no illegalities in your contract, you can still get your contract canceled, then settle the amount owed for less than half... read on for step-by-step instructions on how to file complaints against and cancel their services
Vitiate: To impair or make void; to destroy or annul, either completely or partially, the force and effect of an act or instrument.
A contract can be vitiated if there are any illegalities within it, if it is unsigned, if there are any errors, if it has been signed under duress, or is misrepresentative in any way, shape, or form.
What are the vitiating factors in a contract?
- Undue Influence
Vitiating Factors That Void a Contractual Obligation/Agreement:
- If during sales presentations, Vivint says that contract can be cancelled at any time and without penalty, or that there is a 'military cancellation clause' that allows you to cancel at any time, without penalty, if you move or are deployed. (In fact, you are obligated to pay for unused portion of the service contract.)
- If your contract happened through a telephone solicitor, and Vivint is not registered as a telephone solicitor in your state.
- If your contract agreement fails to include all disclosures required by the FCCPA (e.g. amount financed, finance charge, annual percentage rate, payment schedule, total of payments, total sales price, prepayment, late payment, security interest, contract reference, and itemization of amount financed).
- If Vivint misrepresents that the offer for free installation of alarm equipment was "a limited time offer that needed to be taken advantage of immediately" or misrepresents that "there were increased incidents of crime in the area" where Vivint attempted to solicit business; or in a face-to-face transaction misrepresents that they are "conducting a special sales promotion, a special offer limited to a few persons" or "authorized to place the offered goods or services in a limited number of homes," unless the representation is true and Vivint concurrently discloses to you the specific basis on which the representation is made.
- If Vivint fails in a face-to-face transaction to disclose in writing— before you enter into any purchase contract and before it takes any credit card number or accepts any payment from you— any important detail (e.g. the nature and quantity of consumer goods or services included in the sale, the total cost to purchase and receive the consumer goods or services, all material terms and conditions affecting the sale, a receipt or use of the consumer goods or services including credit terms, if any, the name, their mailing address and telephone number, their policy related to refunds, cancellations, exchanges, or repurchases, if they have a policy that prevents or substantially limits refunds, cancellations, exchanges, or repurchases, and if it makes any other claim or representation regarding refunds, cancellations, exchanges, or repurchases).
- If your area has private emergency response personnel with whom Vivint enters into a separate contract for response to alarm notifications (some jurisdictions require this), and fails to disclose this, or if they fail to disclose to you that you will be charged a fee for the response of the private emergency response personnel in the event of alarm notification.
- If Vivint failed to disclose material terms with respect to cancellation.
- If they misrepresent the cost of the goods or services offered or promoted by them, or fail to disclose material costs payable by you (the consumer), e.g., Vivint asserts that equipment is "FREE" with $99 installation fee, and that the agreed-upon (auto-renewing) contract is for a term of monitoring services of that equipment, then later states you owe for the cost of said equipment.
- If via a telephone contract renewal, Vivint fails to honor or follow through upon any agreed upon material terms. (For example, an agreement for monitoring at a lower monthly rate or for additional "free" equipment when additional equipment is not provided/installed, or monthly the fee/length of new contract in effect is not what was agreed upon.)
- Breach: If Vivint is not providing the services and monitoring as contractually agreed. (If say you make them aware, or they are already aware, that the system is not operating properly, or that the panel is not communicating, and they fail to remedy it. For example, if the contract term length is for monitoring and the panel/system is not being actively monitored, yet you are still billed for the monitoring services that they are aware are not being provided, this is breach of contract)
Summary: The Vivint contract/agreement is legally null and void If Vivint misrepresents that the offer for free installation of alarm equipment was a limited time offer that needs to be taken advantage of immediately (If this is not true), misrepresents emergency personnel response fees, misrepresents material or cost of security equipment, misrepresents that consumers can cancel anytime without penalty (when in fact they are obligated to pay for the unused portion of service contract), misrepresents any other material terms regarding cancellation, fails to make credit disclosures "clearly and conspicuously before transaction is consummated" as required by the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act 15 U.S.C. section 1604, or fails to honor any contractual material terms as agreed upon.
To cancel, you must send the NOC/Revoke ACH authorization letter to both Vivint and your financial institution.
Was your contract misrepresentative in any way, shape, or form?
If so, that's illegal and you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You should also file a consumer complaint with the attorney general of your state via online form (Google your state's attorney general, i.e., "MD attorney general," to get their address.)
Filing a complaint for Improper, unauthorized, or deceptive practices
Is Vivint improperly billing you, taking unauthorized payments, or engaging in deceptive/abusive practices? File a complaint against them.
The CFPB (US Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) has the power to regulate debt collectors and other organizations that have any connection to consumer financial products or services, as well as those who engage in unfair billing practices. It has the authority to make rules and interpret the existing rules associated with any major federal statutes that affect the collection industry, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). The CFPB also ensures that debt collectors and other service providers do not violate federal consumer protection laws or engage in any unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices (for example, attempting to bill/collect on a canceled Vivint account, double-billing, billing the wrong amount, charging for goods/services not provided, attempts to automatically withdraw funds where ACH authorization has been revoked, etc).
The CFPB also will receive any complaints you may have and, where appropriate, will direct debt collectors and other covered persons to respond to it regarding the status of the complaint. For more information about this new government agency, visit the CFPB website or submit a complaint.
Vivint is currently not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). A visit to their site to see their review of this company might be informative, and it's a good idea to file a complaint at the BBB, as well.
Are you military?
Have you been mislead about Vivint cancellation? A contract that you entered into under pretenses that was misleading in any way, shape, or form is illegal and can be vitiated (voided/canceled). Here is their military policy.
Steps for cancelation
For those who find themselves trapped, or locked unhappily into a Vivint contract, there are a few recourses available, and there is a way to get out of the never-ending contract. Please note that this should be done as a last resort, after you have exhausted all other remedies/recourses, because there are consequences: your credit may take a small ding as a result. If you are willing to accept that consequence to be free of Vivint, then read on.
Here Is How to Do It (5 Steps to Get Your Vivint Account Canceled):
First, per the contract, you must cancel in writing. Download Notice of Cancellation (NOC) Letter here: NOC Document. Change the areas in red to your info, then send it certified mail, with delivery confirmation/return receipt. (Having a record of this cancellation, and the receipt of its delivery, may save you from paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars later on, and may even give you grounds to sue Vivint if they disregard it.)
Note: You MUST also send a copy of the ACH Revocation (the NOC Document) to your financial institution (i.e., the bank for the credit card/account you provided to Vivint) if you want to prevent them from taking unauthorized funds from your account (they will try, and if they do your financial institution needs the letter to permanently decline the ACH transaction). This also allows you to dispute and reverse any transaction that may occur. This is a very important step- do not skip it.
In the copy you send to your financial institution, attach a seperate signed cover letter with the NOC document titled "Notice to stop all payments to Vivint/APX Group Holdings" which includes your bank /credit card account number that Vivint draws funds from. This is required under federal law to allow your financial institution to permanently refuse payments to Vivint if/when they attempt to pull funds.
Send it notarized/certified mail/delivery confirmation to Vivint:
4931 North 300 West
Provo, UT 84604
Email scanned copy to: firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Notice of Cancellation)
Fax copy to: 801-377-4116 (Attention Cancellations Dept)
Send a copy of NOC letter and Complaints:
One Utah Center, Thirteenth Floor
Attention: Nathan Wilcox
201 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 8411
and/or fax NOC letter AND Complaints against Vivint to:
801-521-6280 (attention: Nathan Wilcox)
Fax copy to: 801-377-4116 (Attention Dept 160-Legal)
Contact Info for offices of Vivint's attorneys:
email@example.com (atten: Nathan Wilcox, Vivint General Counsel)
Also file a complaint with the Utah Better Business Bureau (BBB). Bring as much pressure to bear as you can. Do this in conjunction with the FTC and if applicable, CFPB complaints (see beginning of article).
The goal is to get Vivint to cancel the contract themselves, then settle the amount actually owed for less than half (if any amount is actually really owed at all), or get them to simply cut you loose, while all the while protecting your consumer rights.
If even those who successfully cancel still end up getting billed and going to collections, they then must dispute it under the FDCPA.
Optional (this is just to stop the annoying calls):
Create a free 'throw away' phone number and change your Vivint and alarm.com contact/home number to this (you will need to call their data entry to facilitate the number change). Because they will call you every day via auto dialer, sometimes every couple hours, you want them to call this number, which you will then block their numbers on so when they call, they'll get a "this number is no longer in service" message. Otherwise, they will harass you with the constant calling/auto dialer calls. If they manage to call via another unblocked number, merely hang up (do not engage in conversation with them!), and block this number also. They will call any number on your account, so remove them all except the Google voice number which you have setup as an intercept.
Create a free Google voice number: It is best to create a separate gmail account for Google Voice, then enter the following numbers in it, and click 'block' (if necessary, call the number, then go back to it, and block it under the voicemail settings of google voice).
Cancel your credit card or report it lost. You must stop the flow of money. Or, alternatively, you can send a 'Revoke ACH Payment Authorization Letter' (to stop them from automatically taking funds).
Remove any stickers/signage for Vivint from your house. Under no circumstances talk to, mail, email, or communicate with Vivint. Do not give them access to your home. Anything you say, no matter how vague, can be used against you, and you may find you have unwittingly locked yourself into a binding, legally enforceable verbal contract.
Remove the panel's ability to communicate with Vivint (watch the video tutorial below). Remove screw at top, open panel, and find card with antenna cable connected to it. Pull this connector up, remove both screws from module, pull module straight up. If you see what looks like a telephone line/jack plugged into panel, unplug it.
You have just removed the cellular module, and/or disconnected the POTS module. You can now replace this if you like with another cellular module (costs around $80), and change your system over to another service provider/central station, or self monitor via alarm.com (average monthly, no contract cost is $14-$27). For step-by-step walkthrough on taking over, unlocking, and fully enabling the Vivint branded 2GIG panel, and switching monitoring, see the forums at suretydiy.com.
Wait approx 120 days for Vivint to cancel your agreement. Then, you will receive a letter to this effect, saying that your account has been turned over to a third party collection company. Every month you get a bill/letter from Vivint. Do not open it. Write "return to sender" on the front, and drop it back in outgoing mail. When you receive the correspondence/collection letter from the third party, DO NOT CALL THEM!, as this may restart the Statute of Limitations for the time they are legally allowed to collect on the debt. Make them validate the debt via postal mail, and prove you actually owe it. Never, ever engage a debt collector via the phone or email.
You have 30 days to mail the FDCPA validation letter. Under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, you are allowed to challenge the validity of a debt that a collection agency states you owe to them. (Never admit the debt is yours, even if the debt is valid. Make them validate it. If they screw up, you may be able to get out of it, and render it non-collectable.)
Use this letter to make the agency verify that the debt is actually yours and owed by you. Keep a copy for your files and send the letter certified mail.
All the below Form letters can be downloaded here (zip file), (including the 'Revoke ACH payments authorization').
Step 1. Send debt validation letter
Step 2. If they do not provide the required info as requested in the validation letter, then send a notice of insufficent validation. See this for minimum debt validation requirements.
Step 3. If they fail to properly validate the debt (or don't respond at all to the validation letter), then send failure to validate debt letter.
Step 4. (Optional) Send a cease communication letter (to stop the harassing collections calls/communications).
Once they fail to validate the debt, they must, under Federal Law, cease all collection attempts and remove all references to the debt, and you are no longer liable for that debt, and the debt becomes uncollectable. If they don't, or if they fail to abide by the cease communication, or if after you revoke ACH payment authorization they pull funds, you can sue (and win).
See letters for federal law references. An actionable violation of the FDCPA is $1,000, or so, and you can tack on actual damages, and punative damages (physical and emotional distress, etc.) as well as any attorney fees. There are tons of attorneys who will take cases against debt collectors for unfair debt collections as it is easy money. So make sure you have a paper trail, certified mail receipts, delivery confirmation, copies of any letters you have sent, and any you have received. Recordings of any calls received (you can record incoming calls with Google Voice, otherwise screen your calls and let them go to answering machine/voicemail).
If they can validate the debt, and the debt is in fact owed by you (this is where your proof of cancellation letter may come into play), then in writing (never talk to them over the phone unless you are recording it), offer to settle for 40-50% of what they claim is owed. This is standard settlement. Sometimes you can go as low as 30%, depending on circumstances.
Final step: Send in a Debt Settlement Confirmation Letter.
You are now free of the Vivint machine. Congratulations!
How to remove/change out the GC2 cellular module
Most get an alarm/security system to protect them from being robbed: But what happens when it's a disreputable alarm company doing the robbing?
Background and cases against Vivint/APX
Vivint is part of APX Group Holdings, which Blackstone holds a controlling interest of.
- Two class actions have recently been certified against Vivint for TCPA violations (and in Benzion, Vivint has offered a settlement for $6 million):
- Christopher Johansen v. Vivint, Inc., Case No. 2012-CH-30597, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
- Benzion et al. v. Vivint Inc., case number 0:12-cv-61826, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (2013) Benzion v. Vivint Settlement.
- On September 16, 2014, the San Diego employment lawyers at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik filed a class action Complaint against Vivint Solar, Inc. alleging that the solar company failed to fully pay their installation technicians and electrician helpers for their work performed under the California Labor Code.
- November 21, 2014: Pending securities class action against Vivint and the Blackstone Group (its controlling shareholder) in the Southern District of New York.
- Vivint's practices has resulted in investigations by at least fifteen states. See: State of Wisconsin v. Vivint Inc.
- On March 15, 2013, the Kansas Attorney General entered into a Settlement Agreement with Vivint, Inc. According to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the company was accused of using a variety of deceptive practices while going door-to-door offering to install new home security systems or replace existing systems. The Attorney General's Office said the salesman failed to advise the consumers of their rights under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and did not disclose all costs associated with switching alarm system providers.
- On April 26, 2013 the State of Ohio Attorney General's Office entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance Settlement Agreement with Vivint, Inc. According to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, consumers filed complaints that the company made representations to consumers that its home security equipment was free, but failed to disclose the existence or amount of installation, activation, and monitoring fees associated with the system. Vivint's door-to-door sales representatives misrepresented the price of continued monthly monitoring fees, made representations that it was providing an upgrade to the consumer's current home security system, claimed that the consumer's current security system company was no longer in business or that Vivint was otherwise part of or authorized to continue monitoring the consumer's current home security system. Vivint routinely installed the home security systems on the same day the contracts were executed and within the three-day cancellation period and failed to orally inform consumers of their right to cancel the contract within three days or misrepresented the consumers' right to cancel by informing them they were signing the contract on a "trial basis" or that they had thirty days to cancel. As part of the Settlement, Vivint shall disclose to a consumer, prior to executing any contract if the consumer has a contract with another home security monitoring company, the consumer may have an ongoing obligation to that company; Vivint's contracts shall disclose the total amount of installation and activation fees, the monthly term of the contract, and the monthly service fee for all services provided; and Vivint shall refrain from continuously advertising and offering its home security system equipment as free as the price has become the regular price consumers are required to pay to avail themselves of the "free" goods.
- On June 3, 2013 the State of Nebraska Attorney General's Office entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with Vivint, Inc. According to the terms of the Agreement, Vivint, Inc. shall not make any misrepresentations and/or false or misleading statements, directly or by implication, which have the tendency or effect of deceiving or misleading consumers, including but not limited to the following: Consumer will receive free or discounted products or services if he/she agrees to place a sign in consumer's yard, or otherwise advertise for Vivint, when no free or discounted product or services are available; Consumer will receive a special of limited-time offer, when no special or limited-time offer will be given; Vivint, Inc. is affiliated with another company, when it is not; Vivint, Inc. would be/is upgrading a consumer's current security system, when in reality, it is not upgrading the consumer's security system; Consumer's current security company has gone out of business, is no longer providing security services or had merged with another entity, when it has not; Vivint's security systems are directed connected to local police or emergency personnel or home health care personnel, and/or police, emergency or home health care personnel will be directly notified without some form of prior verification, if any of these statements is not true; that there is criminal activity in the area, when such a statement is not true; and that a consumer will receive a discount on their home insurance premium rather than stating the consumer may receive such a discount.
- Wisconsin took legal action against the company in September 2012, for deceptive and misleading sales tactics. The judgment ordered Vivint Inc. to refund up to $148,000 and cancel almost $450,000 in consumer debt. The judgment requires Vivint to pay refunds to consumers who were misled about their ability to cancel their alarm service contracts, as well as consumers who were misled about false alarm charges. Vivint also will remove affected consumers from collections and the company will pay forfeitures and attorneys fees to the State as well as improve their disclosures to consumers about their services and charges, making it easier for consumers to cancel their contracts if they so desire.
- Arkansas fined Vivint/APX $40,850 for over 40 violations in 2009.
- On September 10, 2010 the State of Arkansas Attorney General's Office charged Vivint, Inc. with violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Vivint paid $125,000 for the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the complaint.
- In 2008 and 2009, Vivint paid a total of $65,850 in Arkansas using improperly licensed workers.
- The states of Washington, Louisiana, South Carolina, Minnesota and Tennessee have all fined Vivint/APX for violating state licensing codes.
- In Washington, police cited Vivint/APX seven times in 2008 and 2009 for having unlicensed workers install alarms.
- Louisiana also fined Vivint for violating a Cease and Desist Order, and engaging in false, misleading, or deceptive practices.
- State and local prosecutors in California, and Oregon have also charged Vivint with engaging in deceptive trade practices, misleading customers, and engaging in improper collections tactics. To settle these charges, Vivint has entered into consent agreements. Vivint paid $425,000 in fines in California.
- Oregon fined Vivint/APX $60,000 for "targeting elderly Oregonians with misleading and high-pressure sales tactics".
Vivint techs are not HVAC certified or licensed in most cases, and thus may not be qualified to install/wire thermostats, yet they do it anyway, and as a result there are many online consumer reports of tstats that are inoperable or improperly functioning for many customers.
Word of warning- verify that your Vivint tech holds a valid HVAC license prior to letting them touch your HVAC/thermostat unit!
Costly repair bills (say for a reversing valve that is improperly wired that causes the system to go into cooling mode in the dead of winter) are on the customer. Vivint is quick to point to the contract terms which state you agree that they are not liable for more than 12x the monthly fee, or a $1,000 (whichever is less), even if the loss is due to improper installation. Not to mention that the 10 year warranty from manufacturer is now almost certainly voided on your HVAC system.
March 19, 2014
"I had some problems with my furnace this winter. When HVAC examined it, it was noted that Vivint had hooked it up wrong. So for over 6 months I had been paying sky high electric bills and my heat pump was overworking, potentially causing damage. I discussed this issue with Vivint, as I was very upset. The initial guy I talked to essentially [said] "well that sucks," [and] [o]ffered nothing to try to make things right..." Source
When a customer requests service to resolve many installation related/other issues, the wait time may range in the weeks and include a hefty "service" fee.
May 5, 2014
"Have had no system since Friday of last week and all I get is the support team telling me lies. We will email you with a time get your system fixed and guess what. ... No email ... Today they tell me they will call me and make it a priority and guess what... NO CALL!!! Talk with support again tonight and guess what....They are all off work at this time." Source
Vivint/APX has had approx 10,000 complaints filed against them on various major consumer complaint sites within the last six years or so; over 3,500 complaints have been filed against it with the Better Business Bureau and consumer reviews and complaints on the Consumer Affairs website, where the number of complaints against Vivint/APX may well exceed 50,000.
A number of states have taken legal action against Vivint/APX for engaging in "fraud, misleading sales tactics, misrepresentation, and improper collections practices" The amount of complaints filed with various State's office of the Attorney General is unknown, but the numbers must have been significant enough for the States to initate actions against Vivint.
Customer complaints are one thing, but when you have in excess of ten different state governments coming down on you for various violations of consumer rights laws, then that should serve as a wake up call that something is very, very wrong.
When you're looking for an alarm company, your best bet is choosing one that is UL Listed, CSAA Five Diamond Certified (central station training standards), and IQ Certified. IQ Certified alarm companies abide by a rigid set of standards and guidelines, and they also offer you the best possible system and the most professional installation.
Alternatives to Vivint
Vivint (like a myriad of others) is/was essentially just a dealer/provider for alarm.com (ADC) and 2GIG. This also means that nearly all the equipment is the same across the board for all providers/dealers (e.g., 2GIG sensors, GoControl panel, ADC cameras), so...
- You can easily switch to someone else for a fraction of the monthly fees charged by Vivint
- Or go DIY monitoring/self monitoring with no monthly contract at all (like a pre-pay cellular plan).
With the Sky panel, Vivint has moved to more exclusively proprietary gear and equipment, but for now the (2GIG) sensors used are still the same, which means you can switch out the panel, and still keep all the door/window sensors, motions, leak detectors, garage door sensors, zwave locks, etc installed.
Note: Vivint locks its customers into long-term auto-renewing contracts and charges them over $70/month for services (home automation, cameras, central station monitoring, etc.). For the same (if not better) services, you can go elsewhere and spend $20 - $32 month-to-month, with no contract... do the math.
In my opinion, a better option is SuretyCAM/SuretyDIY. They are geared towards the 'do it yourself' crowd, and offer top tier tech support (whether you are a paying customer of theirs, or not) via their DIY Forums, they offer low cost monitoring options without requiring you to sacrifice anything. There are no contracts, or long term obligations. You can cancel anytime, and they don't care where you get your equipment, whether you get it in their DIY store or elsewhere.
People get systems to protect, and make life easier, for piece of mind. It shouldn't have to cost an arm or a leg. or ruin your credit in the process.
A company that is month to month, no contract will work hard to keep your business, because they know you can easily leave if you become dissatisfied.
Some low cost options for obtaining panels, gear, and sensors are ebay, amazon, suretydiy, and buy2gig.
Whose panel and equipment Is It, anyway?
When both Vivint and 2GIG were recently (and for a short while) owned by Blackstone, Blackstone gave to Vivint the 2GIG Go2.0 panel, which they used in the 'net zero' automated home (2GIG Go2.0 panel Is also commonly now referred to as the "Vivint Sky Panel"). Blackstone then sold 2GIG to Nortek/Linear. Linear was instrumental in the original development of the 2GIG Go!Control system. 2GIG has a new third generation Go3.0 panel out (the 2GIG GC3).
VIivint customers with the GoControl panel are not regularly (if at all) provided with OTA firmware updates. This provides critical/other bug fixes and gives you the newest functions/features available. For example, any panel with firmware below v1.9.4 is only able to use the now discontinued 2G GSM cellular modules, and when carrier supports ends shortly, they will discover they are paying for services that cannot be provided.
Vivint customers cannot readily obtain Image Sensors (second generation alarm.com camera enabled PIR motion detectors that do not require a video plan to use), zwave energy meters, or Geo Fence location services, or even the newer 2GIG DW40 bypass sensors. Vivint charges outrageous prices for remote interactive services/ monitoring (the average price for these same services elsewhere with interior/outdoor cameras, geo location, and image sensors is $27/month for CSAA Five Diamond, UL listed, IQ Certified central station monitoring, which includes zwave home automation, etc, and $5/month more gets you the video package with up to 5 cameras).
As for their central station monitoring, they actually use what was a wholly owned subsidiary of Protection One in St. Paul (which they purchased control of, and subsequently renamed). Vivint has another central station in Provo. Vivint lacks IQ Certification (as of 1/1/2014, but this may have changed).
It is recommended to seek the advice of an attorney or JAG. If you feel your Vivint contract is vitiated, or that your consumer rights, etc., have been infringed or violated, file complaints everywhere, contact your State Attorney General, submit formal complaints to the Government, in other words, make noise and lots of it, and don't stop. (note also that I am not an attorney, and information provided herein is as a public resource, and for reference only, and should not be construed as legal advice).