Petnet SmartFeeder owners were in a fit of rage over the weekend after the company sent out an email detailing the woes that have forced interruptions with its service, signaling an imminent shutdown of the company. The result of it all is the inability to remotely dispense food to pets using the mobile app, which meant that some four-legged friends were left unfed.
Customers reached out to the company for comment, but received little to no response. Earlier on April 14, Petnet reached out to customers about the ability of one of their third-party vendors to stay online.
Over this past weekend, however, Petnet sent out another email informing customers that the business situation at Petnet has grown dire. In an attempt to lessen the damage, the company has furloughed the rest of its remaining staff, ceased all future product development, and terminated its office lease. However, Petnet is also asking customers to sign up for a subscription plan at $4 per month to continue receiving services.
Customers are, understandably, not happy with this decision. Digital Trends reached out to Petnet for a statement regarding the situation but did not receive a response. Here are just a few reactions on Twitter from users.
@petnetiosupport I received an email today about PetNet's financial struggles. I'm sympathetic to them. However, I'm concerned about the prospect of paying a subscription to something that is not currently operable. What assurances would customers have that connectivity will be
— Gerard LeConte III (@GerardLeConte) April 25, 2020
Just got and email from #petnet and it’s shady af. Response is BS and using the virus as an excuse for their ineptitude. A subscription model! Really. Why not from the start then. I’ll take my business elsewhere take your feeder and shove it! @Petnetio @petnetiosupport
— Matthew Joseph (@matthewpjoseph) April 24, 2020
I just got a BS email from petnet ask subscription. I still can't understand why do you need a ssl service to control a device, and you cannot even connect to google home. What's the point to make it connect to your end.
— siu (@msw13224) April 25, 2020
Many people have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration. One tweet stated, “Petnet finally admitted that it’s out of money, has no staff, and can’t afford to keep its services running. They’re asking if paying customers are willing to PAY $4 PER MONTH to keep their pet feeders going.”
After paying $130 for the smart feeder, customers are understandably bothered that they are asked to pay more after all this time. This situation reflects the danger of using an unproven company or brand. Then again, even established companies sometimes encounter unfortunate events like this, such as was the case with Best Buy’s Insignia brand.
Petnet says the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame. Many companies have taken a hit as a result of reduced spending and sales, but smaller companies have been hit the hardest. If Petnet and other companies like it are to survive the current economic climate, steps will need to be taken to retain customer loyalty and increase revenue.
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