Update July 2018: If you are a Canary purchaser upset how they scammed you and other customers, please get in contact with me as quickly as you can.
Update: If you’re a customer affected by the Canary camera scam, please file a report with the New York State Attorney General where Canary’s main office is located. Here are seven other ways to fight back against Canary for scamming its customers.
On September 5th, a realtor showing my condo stole a few personal items. Certainly, I’d taken precautions securing valuables, but it’s difficult to do everyday on an ongoing basis. This also happened to be the day that my Canary security camera became inoperable. The camera hung all day and there was no way to see what happened. Canary support confirmed the outage but offered no regrets. This may have been the day that the company’s growth overwhelmed its networking capacity leading it to cut off all pre-existing customers from most features shortly after.
Canary basically shut down the major features of its devices shortly after October 3rd. Customers like me that had purchased its products because they did not require subscription fees suddenly were worthless unless you signed up for a $120 annual subscription.
Canary now blocks access to security recordings of intrusion events, providing only useless ten seconds clips. They call these “previews,” but now you can’t view them or download them without a paid subscription. A realtor entering my property (on business) recently set off the device but never made it into the frame before the clip ended:
Canary ended night mode access which turned on monitoring in unoccupied rooms as you slept. Customers complaining online are calling the company’s changes “bait and switch“, saying it turns their devices into paperweights.
Canary began with $1.96 million in crowdsourced funding, Shaf Patel contributed $580. The company even cut device features from its earliest funders. He’s angry that they “almost bricked our devices…they screwed all of us.” He’s blind and relies on Canary for its audio feeds. Whenever he’s asked them to improve accessibility on their app, they’ve ignored him. “This company is disgraceful and have lost my trust.”
@JmHorowitz tweeted ironically, “the only robbery most @Canary users will see is committed by @Canary itself.”
— jmhorowitz (@jmhorowitz) October 10, 2017
I’ve asked Walmart’s Jet.com to issue a refund for me and stop selling these devices. They’ve rejected my request. I have seen a tweet indicating that Amazon is granting refunds and a comment that BestBuy is asking its customers to call them. Both sites continue to sell Canary devices.
The company has also disabled its support channel, prompting Brian Kappus to tweet, “Can’t the @canarysupport team handle the volume of complaints from your bait and switch program?”
The company’s founders have shown little regard for its backers and customers. I found Canary’s CTO, Chris Rill, retweeting an Onion article about Equifax defrauding customers without any thought to the scam he’s perpetrating on his own customers. Canary’s other founders include Adam Sager and Jon Troutman. Canary’s Series B was funded by “Walden Riverwood Ventures, with participation from Cota Capital, Khosla ventures, Flextronics, Two Sigma Ventures and WTI.”
Canary may have violated the implied warranty of its product. Customers purchased the devices expecting them to behave as security devices without future costs. The company disabled this feature without notice. It’s possible there will be a class action lawsuit against the company, but there’s no indication of this yet. Owners are banding together in comment sections and anonymous @canary_scam and @scameraaa have begun gathering contacts for affected customers.
If you’re a scammed Canary customer, I encourage you to contact the retailer where you purchased the product and share this article on social media. You can follow @canary_scam and @scameraaa on Twitter. You can also follow me @reifman and I’ll update you if I learn anything more. If you feel strongly motivated, email me with facts about your situation and I’ll gather these for any attorneys that contact me about Canary.