Owners of a device designed to dispense food for pets say their animals were left hungry during a week-long system failure.
Petnet enables owners to schedule and control feeding through a smartphone app.
When we contacted Petnet on its marketed email address, the email bobbed back with a delivery failure notice.
One pet owner used twitter to vent out: “My cat starved for over a week”, while others criticized other hardware issues.
“My three Gen2 feeders always jam and won’t give out food,” wrote another.
Some voiced relief that the feeders were now back online.
Petnet has two Twitter accounts. The official one has last tweeted on 30 August 2019, but the support account dispensed four tweets between 14 to 21 February about the complications experienced.
In the first tweet, it said a “system outage” was disturbing second-generation devices and asked customers not to turn off their feeder even if it appeared to be offline.
System Update: We are investigating a system outage that may affect customers using the SmartFeeder (2nd Gen). Scheduled automatic feeds will still dispense on at the desired time although SmartFeeders will appear offline. Sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.
— Petnet Support (@petnetiosupport) February 14, 2020
Four days later, it tweeted again to say it would “release more information” soon.
It told automatic feeds would “still dispense”.
On 21 February, it said smart feeders were “coming online again,” and a “system reset” was in progress.
Some customers tweeting to the support account complained of not having gotten a response.
‘Things will fall over’
According to Crunchbase, US-based firm Petnet has got $14.9m (£11.5m) in funding since it was founded in December 2012.
The device is retailed for £222 on the Amazon marketplace in the UK.
Almost 60% of the 554 customer reviews left on the US site have given the device a score of either one or two stars.
“As we go towards a more automated home, you have to admit that, somewhere along the line, things will fall over,” said Stuart Miles, founder of the tech site Pocket-Lint.
“Robots and automated systems have hitches along the way, it’s something we need to get used to.”