Vivint Denied Fla. Door-to-Door License; Claims Unconstitutional
Alarm company says all applicants for peddlers' licenses should be evaluated equally, regardless of what they sell.
The alarm company Vivint has perhaps one of the biggest door-to-door sales organizations in the country. In each jurisdiction, the Provo, Utah-based company must apply for a peddler’s license for each of its thousands of salespeople.
In Lake Wales, Fla., Vivint’s 23 applications were denied, even though the city does allow door-to-door solicitations. Vivint challenged the ruling and won the right to reapply, according to local news organization News Chief.
According to News Chief, city commissioners had some misgivings about door-to-door sales of security systems:
City Commissioner Betty Wojcik said being able to tell a stranger at the door whether or not a home has a security system would require a high level of trust on the part of residents.
Such a basis for denial is unconstitutional, according to Vivint attorney Dylan Rivers of Ausley & McMullen in Orlando.
His final argument … was that there is a legal basis to have the city ordinance declared unconstitutional, since standards must always be applied the same to each person or entity.
He cited case law in Florida and with the U.S. Supreme Court, and said an ordinance that was “identical almost to the word” was declared unconstitutional in a Louisiana federal court.
Furthermore, the city of Lake Wales had denied all 23 Vivint applications on the basis of one bad egg and a few incomplete applications, as well as complaints against Vivint filed with the Better Business Bureau.
Attorneys for the company argued that applications must be judged on the character of each applicant, not on the reputation of the company.
Vivint was granted permission by the city to reapply for the licenses.
The company expects to sell over 200,000 alarm systems this season via 5,000 summer sales associates in 49 states.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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