The internet of things provides convenience in basically any area of your life, but that technology can also become quite inconvenient when technical issues arise. For pet owners who used an auto-feeding system controlled by an app, that meant their furry friends might’ve missed a few meals when the app’s servers suffered an outage.
PetNet is a $149 “intelligent pet feeder” that users can program to set up feeding schedules, or remotely control from an app.
The company said in an email to customers that was posted on Twitter that the service is “experiencing some difficulty with one of our third party servers. This is currently being investigated.”
The email urged customers to take things into their own hands, and “please ensure that your pets have been fed manually” until the glitch was remedied.
For some pet owners who perhaps are away on vacation, or have busy work schedules, and rely on the automated feeder, that news was quite unwelcome. One customer says the outage has caused major issues.
“This has sent me into a panic as I am a college student with multiple jobs and rely on this device to make sure he receives proper feedings and nutrition,” she told The Guardian. “I have had to arrange for friends to get keys from me at work if needed so he will get his food.”
Even worse, she says, has been the customer service response from the company, which she calls “completely dismissive and unapologetic.” A customer service phone line just rings endlessly, and her emails have been either ignored or answered with a generic response.
She says she’s wary of using the feeder now, and still doesn’t have answers to when the system will be up and running again.
PetNet CEO Carlos Herrera told The Guardian that its third-party server service had been down for around 10 hours and did not have redundancy backups, but that PetNet was preparing to roll out a workaround to the problem.
He said the problem affects about 10% of PetNet users, who can still operate on previously set schedules, but won’t be able to feed remotely or change the feeding schedule while the problem persists.