HOME ALARM SYSTEM PROVIDER VIVENT SAYS THEY CAN’T GET CUSTOMER’S EMAILS OR FAXES SO THEY CAN’T STOP CHARGING HER FOR SERVICE
There’s an old saying that goes, “A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more money than 20 men with guns.” Boy, if that ain’t the truth.
I thought about that last week when one of my clients told me how she is being ripped off. This client, named Gerry, is being robbed according to a set monthly schedule, and her robbers have every right to take her hard-earned cash. Luckily, there was a solution to her problem.
The situation was, Gerry had an alarm system in her home, and the alarm company refused to cancel her service even though her contract was finished. Like with most alarm companies, Gerry was required to have her monthly service fee charged to a credit card. With her credit card info, this alarm company, Vivent, had went right on charging her card even though she repeatedly told Vivent that she no longer wanted their service.
When her contract was about to end, Gerry called Vivent to notify them not to renew the agreement. The monthly fee was $45, which is extremely high for a basic alarm system. Gerry had found other alarm companies that were way cheaper, so she wanted to go with one of them.
Well, when she called and told Vivent not to renew, which she did by the deadline in her contract, the shenanigans began. Vivent didn’t just give her a runaround, they gave her a marathon. First, they made her email a signed letter, requesting the cancellation. Gerry emailed this letter, but it came back as undeliverable each time she sent it. And she resent it several times over a month.
“I called and they told me their email server was down so I’d have to fax it,” Gerry said. “There was no other email address I could send it to.”
Now, not being able to get email, even for a day, is a big problem for a business. And if you don’t know, Vivent is a huge company. And you’re going to tell me that this company is not able to receive any email for an entire month? In the year 2012, when most communication is electronic? Sure.
But Gerry did as they instructed and faxed in the cancellation request. I’ll give you three guesses what happened, and the first two don’t count.
“I faxed that letter 10 times, and each time their fax machine was busy,” she said.
Whoa, big surprise there! So then she tried emailing again, and of course the emails all bounced back to her as undeliverable.
“Then I called and they told me to mail the cancellation request,” she said.
“Let me guess.” I said. “They didn’t get your letter?”
“No! And I mailed it three times,” Gerry said.
Gerry didn’t have to worry about her house getting broke into, but she was getting mugged on a monthly basis by Vivent.
There was only one solution. Call the credit card company, get a new account number, and order the bank not to allow any more charges to Vivent.
You got to hand it to them. A lot businesses will do this. Once they sign you up, they make you jump through a million hoops to cancel your business with them. And the requirements to cancel are, I’m sure, all spelled out in the contract. In legalese, and in very small print of course.