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Wyoming imposes large civil penalty on Vivint

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | May 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Wyoming imposes large civil penalty on Vivint

The Wyoming Attorney General's Office recently imposed a $100,000 civil penalty on Vivint. Vivint is a home security and smart home technology company. Vivint enlists large groups of salesmen to canvas neighborhoods door to door to sell its products. It seems that the Vivint salesmen were overly aggressive in the State of Wyoming and failed to comport with state law regarding door to door solicitations.

The matter was resolved through a settlement agreement. Vivint agreed to pay the $100,000 civil penalty within 14 days. More importantly, Vivint agreed to follow certain requirements including:

  • Being more informative about a customer's right to cancel a transaction, and working to coordinate return of equipment;
  • Allowing those with extended cancellation periods their full time to cancel. (i.e. seniors);
  • Salesmen cannot make misleading statements about:
    • Criminal activity
    • Cancellation rights
    • Discounts on insurance premiums
    • Vivint's relocation policies
  • Additionally, salesmen shall not:
    • Approach a residence where a "no-solicitation" sign is posted.
    • Solicit a consumer outside the time restrictions imposed by any municipality
    • Continue to solicit a consumer if the consumer explicitly expresses a desire to stop
    • Enter a consumer's residence without the express consent of the resident
    • Use the name of a consumer in solicitation efforts unless expressly consent is given.

Overall, this settlement agreement does a good job of addressing many of the problematic issues that seem to be inherent in door to door solicitations. 

I note with interest that the Attorney General's Office couched several of the allegations against Vivint as violations of Wyoming Statute 40-12-105(a)(xv). This provision states that it is a violation of the act to engage in "unfair or deceptive acts or practices." It is a catch-all provision that allows one to address acts or practices that are not specifically outlined in the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act.Many states, such as Colorado, lack such a catch-all provision. This allows unscrupulous companies to legally engage in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in Colorado that would be illegal in Wyoming.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Prior to opening Harmony Law, Mr. Hutchins worked in the Wyoming Attorney General's Office for several years where he developed a strong consumer protection enforcement unit. In that position he led over 120 investigations and enforcement actions under the Consumer Protection Act. He worked on numerous joint cases with the Federal Trade Commission and other states, including Colorado, on consumer protection matters. Mr. Hutchins is also a contributing author to Consumer Protection Law Developments, Second Edition. Previous to his work in the Attorney General's Office, Mr. Hutchins was in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska where he was the chief litigator for a firm. Mr. Hutchins represented municipalities on various matters. Mr. Hutchins provided counsel to businesses and investment advisors regarding compliance with securities laws. He was also a bond lawyer and worked on municipal financing matters. Prior to that, Mr. Hutchins practiced civil litigation with a law firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mr. Hutchins devotes his spare time to his family, traveling and enjoying the great outdoors.

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