More than 9,000 consumers can now apply to receive compensation stemming from the Federal Trade Commission’s 2021 settlement with Vivint Smart Home over charges the company misused credit reports to help customers to obtain financing.
Vivint violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by misusing credit reports in order to qualify potential customers for financing for its smart home monitoring and security products, according to the FTC’s previously announced complaint.
The FTC charged that when a potential customer failed the initial credit check, Vivint’s sales representatives sometimes got approval for financing for unqualified customers by using the credit history of another person with a similar name or adding a friend or relative of the customer as cosigner without their permission.
If customers who qualified using these deceptive tactics later defaulted on their loans, Vivint referred the innocent third party to debt collectors, potentially harming that consumer’s credit. After hearing from these debt collectors, many consumers whose credit reports were misused by Vivint sales representatives complained to the FTC that they were victims of identity theft.
Under the settlement, Vivint agreed to pay a total of $20 million in civil penalties and consumer compensation, of which more than $4.7 million will be available for the claims process. The FTC also required Vivint to establish a Customer Service Task Force to assist consumers that were victims of the scheme.
The majority of consumers will be contacted by mail and about 1,400 will be contacted by email. Filing a claim does not guarantee a payment. Following review and approval, payment amounts will depend on several factors, including how many people file a claim. Consumers will have until October 9 to submit a claim. More information can be found here.