PROVO, Utah (ABC4) — Thousands of consumers may be eligible for compensation after allegations that a Provo-based smart home company misused credit reports in order to help customers obtain financing for their products.
The Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday more than 9,000 consumers will be receiving notices they could be eligible for compensation from Vivint Smart Home. Affected customers will have until Monday, Oct. 9 to file a claim through the FTC website.
Vivint Smart Home agreed to pay a $20 million dollar settlement to settle allegations from the FTC in 2021. The charges alleged Vivint employees had violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by “improperly obtaining credit reports” in order to qualify otherwise unqualified customers for financing for their products. Employees allegedly found another consumer with the same or similar name using white pages and using that consumer’s credit history to qualify the potential customer.
As a result, the FTC said people who had never interacted with Vivint found Vivint accounts on their credit reports. Some people were even reportedly contacted by debt collectors for accounts they didn’t open.
“Vivint’s sales staff stole people’s personal information to approve others for loans,” said then-FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Acting Director Daniel Kaufman after the settlement. “For misusing consumer credit reports and other sensitive data, and harming people’s credit, this company will pay $20 million.”
After the settlement, a Vivint Smart Home spokesperson said the company was pleased to have reached a resolution regarding past sales practices by some sales representatives.
“In addition to cooperating with the DOJ, we have addressed the issues and continue to strengthen our compliance policies, practices and procedures,” Vivint said in a statement.
Of the $20 million settlement, more than $4.7 million will be available to consumers for the claims process. Most consumers will be contacted by mail and about 1,400 will be contacted through email.
The FTC said filing a claim does not guarantee a payment, as claims will be reviewed and verified. The amount of compensation reportedly depends on several factors and there is no available timeline for when payments will be distributed.
Anyone with questions about the settlement can find more information on the FTC website here. Consumers can also contact the claims administrator by phone at 1-833-472-1996 or by email at email@example.com. Vivint Smart Home also established a Customer Service Task Force to assist consumers who were victims of the alleged credit report abuse.