A company selling home alarm systems door-to-door is attracting complaints for its high-pressure sales tactics.

A sales rep from Vivint, a US company set up here in 2012, knocked on the door of 82-year-old Peter last month. Peter said the rep stayed for “quite a time” even though he explained he already had a security system.

The sales rep told Peter that Vivint’s system used the “latest technology” and the equipment would be provided “free” if he signed up that day.

Feeling pressured, Peter said he eventually agreed to have the system installed. The installer arrived shortly after and the alarm was “installed in a flash”.

Peter’s contract with Vivint required him to pay an activation fee plus $57.49 a month for 42 months, a cost of more than $2500. In hindsight, Peter said he didn’t really need Vivint’s service and felt annoyed and disappointed at the way he’d been treated. He was also concerned about the cost of the system.

After he signed the contract, Peter contacted us for advice. Our consumer adviser Maggie Edwards told him he had the right to cancel the agreement.

“The Fair Trading Act gives consumers protection from pushy door-to-door traders. If you buy goods or services from a door-to-door seller, you have a five-day cooling-off period to cancel,” Maggie says.

Peter promptly cancelled his agreement with Vivint. The company confirmed to us it’s processed the request and refunded Peter for the amount he’d paid.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard complaints about Vivint’s sales reps. TVNZ’s Fair Go programme has also reported on complaints from people who have been door-knocked by Vivint. The company, which has been operating in Auckland and Wellington, is being investigated by the Commerce Commission.

Peter now has a Consumer NZ “Do Not Knock” sticker on his front door to avoid problems with any other door-to-door traders.

Your rights

Everybody has an implied licence to enter your property and knock on your door. But you have the right to take away this licence. You can revoke a salesperson’s licence to enter your property by displaying a “Do Not Knock” sticker. If a door-to-door seller ignores the sticker, they’re likely to be trespassing.

Contact us for a free “Do Not Knock” sticker if you don’t want door-to-door sellers to call. We’re distributing the stickers as part of our campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door dealers. The stickers can be put on your letterbox, front door or anywhere prominent to warn door-to-door traders not to knock.