The app-driven, cloud-connected "smart" pet feeder from Petnet recently suffered an outage that knocked units offline for a week, leaving pets hungry and customers angry. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from Ars Technica: Petnet began posting messages on Twitter on February 14 advising customers that some of its SmartFeeders "will appear offline," although they still would nominally work to dispense food. Of course, when something doesn't work, most people will try to turn it off and back on again, as that's the first-line repair for basically everything with a power switch. That, alas, was not the solution here, and Petnet explicitly advised against turning feeders off or on, adding, "We will continue to provide updates on this matter." The next update to the company's Twitter feed came four days later, on February 18, when it said it was working with a third-party service provider and would "release more information as we learn more." Finally on February 21, a full week after users began to notice something was amiss, Petnet said it had resolved the problem and would be pushing a reset and an update to affected customers.
Users were distinctly unhappy, not only with the outage but also with the company's lack of response and a clear lack of avenues for contacting them. "Does that same third party pick up your phones, answer your emails, pay your lease (property address is available for rent) and support your customers?" one customer tweeted on February 18. Another, on February 21, said, "Why were your emails not delivering? Why isnt anyone answering the phone or returning calls? Your website still claims support Mon-Sat by phone email and twitter. You've been silent for a week." Customers aren't the only ones unable to reach the company. Ars' request for comment sent to the press contact Petnet lists on its company website bounced back with an error indicating the email address does not exist.
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