Re: New Smart Plan Subscription Pricing 12/13/19
I am beyond livid and hence this post which is intended for and directed towards the decision makers at Netgear / Arlo. Long time auto-pay customer here, who has what you refer to as the "legacy" plan or better yet, the plan I agreed to when I elected to sign up with Arlo. I wanted to add recently purchased cameras to my plan and quickly realized that all plan options have changed to ridiculous proportions! Most notably were the customers never informed of any change. That in itself is outrageous, highly unethical, greedy and very sneaky. The new plan choices have features that I cannot use with my Pro and Pro 2's and are of no use to me. Prices at minimum have doubled and if I utilize my planned set up compared to my old plan; quadrupled. On a side note, I noticed a nagging pop up that I could add my two "extra" cameras to my plan for $1.49 each.
I figured, let's give Arlo the benefit of making this right and a swift call was made which I was sure would fix things in a jiffy. Wrong! The customer "no" service is an utter outsourced joke! I had to explain five or six times that all I want is to add two extra Arlo 2 cameras to my existing plan, that's it. Even if it costs an extra $1.49 as the pop up indicated, I don't care. Instead of getting this simple concept, they kept insisting on offering the new plans which I did not want nor need. I explained the situation again but the conversation went nowhere and I was asked to send screenshots of the pop up (are you kidding me). I am beyond frustrated and if this unethical plan shifting, bait and swift is not swiftly corrected, I will dispose of the cameras and return the newly purchased ones and never look back.
Arlo; I will give you one chance to make this right. What you did to your original and early supporting customers is disturbing. I am sure many customers / users feel the same and I think the sentiment is evidenced in your stock valuation.
I wonder...I have added a new camera to my exsisting 4 camera set up and I am still on my original plan. I have seen a billing period come and go with no change. Am I just a lucky one or do I still have a surprise coming.
In fact, there was some text I saw which made me wonder about the plans, that I did contact customer support. I was reassured that Grandpa was alive and well for me [My plan is indeed Grandfathered. I am safe]
I am "grandfathered" into a 20 camera legacy plan. I have 15 cameras (13 legacy Arlo Pro 2 cameras and 3 Arlo Pro 3 cameras, 2 of which have been activated). When my "free" Arlo Pro 3 plan expired in early February my legacy plan essentially kicked all of my Arlo 2 cameras off of the plan. The 2 activated Arlo Pro 3 cameras show up in the plan. I cannot move the Arlo Pro 2 cameras into the plan. They still appear to be functioning as part of the plan, but they show up as not part of a plan. I have been dealing with the most incompetent and unhelpful customer service people for 6 weeks trying to get this fixed. I have sent repeated screen shots showing the issue. The last CS rep essentially said tough luck. You need to buy a new plan if you want the app to work right. SERIOUSLY? The new plan would double my subscription cost. I too am absolutely livid.
Reallyconfused - It appears you are lucky and keep crossing your fingers. I am sure sooner or later you will get hit too, with no warning. At the latest when you reach your camera threshold (either based on your legacy plan or whatever they assign you). On a side note, I reached out to Arlo again in a final attempt for resolution. I yet again entered the never-ending loop of outsourced hell. Result; no issue resolution, inconsistent information, mysterious work-around offers, disconnects, Supervisors refusing to speak with you, etcetera. What is really sad; I like the product and have been very happy with the quality, longevity, ease of use. But, it sure does not make up for the shenanigans.
THESE GUYS ARE CROOKS. SIMPLE AND PLAIN. THEY JUST DROPPED MY LEGACY PLAN OUT OF NOWHERE. I WENT TO CHECK WHAT WAS GOING ON "MY ARLO" ONLY TO FIND THAT THEY STRIPPED US OF ALL OPTIONS. THAT IS SOME CROOKED AND I HOPE WHOEVER REFUSES TO HELP ME.
I said this back in Jan on here to warn people when this happened to me. They turned me off one day before my year was up and told me I had to take a plan and that it couldn't be reversed. Arlo moderators on smart and ultra kept telling me it didn't work that way. I opened four cases with support and every time they refused to give me back my original plan and said the moderators were wrong. If you don't pay for 4K they even take 4K away from you on you SD card. Moderators fought with me about that and kept saying it wasn't true but I had the proof on my SD card and support finally told me they were going to speak to the moderators about it. Haven't seen a denial since. This is totally illegal in many states but as said check the stock, this is tanking them. Arlo's reputation was loyal customers and their fleeing. You don't even see many on here anymore.
I also just called Arlo Support and they told me that I did not have the legacy plan, but I just had the free trial annual plan...
So they cannot restore the legacy plan. She did escalate and talked with somebody else, but no solution yet.
I asked her to keep the ticket open and further examine with management. She did keep ticket open, or at least that was my understanding.
I explained that one of the main reasons I chose Arlo was because of the cost of the plan. $100/year for up to 10 cameras with one year free trial. I believe several others here are in the exact same situation.
I could also point out that I bought the Ultra cameras (8 of them, $2,000) in January 2019 when the Ultra cameras were in "beta" at best. I could have returned them and write a 1-2 star review at Best Buy - because that was the rating that they deserved at the time. I was patient and allowed Arlo to work on the firmware and finally get to an acceptable product.
Shayne, please stay on this and escalate. This is an issue that Arlo can solve easily for some of their customers that they really should want to keep happy.
To top things off, there aren't any plans for 10 to 20 cameras even if one wanted to pay more for that. So, a person with 20 cameras would need to set up 4 accounts and purchase 4 plans. No discounts for supporting Arlo with big purchases. Way to go Arlo! Chase us away by shooting yourselves in the foot!
I bought 8 Ultra cameras based on the fact that the subscription plan allowed the $100/year up to 10 cameras. Now that plan is gone and Arlo now does not allow me to continue that plan because I DID NOT READ THE DECEMBER 13 PRESS RELEASE! Arlo let my trial plan to expire without warning. A few days later I realized by chance that I had no plan and my only options are now the new pricing.
I called Arlo Support and one of the things I was told "we issued a press release in December....".
I am not giving up.
This company need to realize the simple fact that people who want a competitively priced 10 camera plan are the best customers they could ever dream of.
Arlo may find an obscure press release is not legally sufficient in many states, it has to be in a form that can be reasonably expected to be seen by customers. Has anyone actually seen one. Perhaps their legal staff is as qualified as the support staff.
I might add for others considering any legal action. I obviously don't know what Arlo may or may not have for legal staff but anyone with at least a semester of civil law knows of reasonable expectation in a court of law. The fact that Arlo has a e-mail for every subscriber and even uses it for monthly billing would surely hold up in any court as the most reasonable form of notification, not a press release that didn't even make main stream news.
Ok guys so I know you are frustrated as you feel you have been wronged, but have you considered local storage with remote access as a option for those of you with the Pro3 or ultra cameras.
With the base station upgrades back in mid December the Smart Base station is basically a NVR. You only need a subscription for cameras you want rich notifications like info if it is a person or package, or E911 functionality. If all you want to do is run more cameras then just add them and have them record locally on the base. I don't think anyone needs 20 cameras with Smart notifications, or if you do it is really a unique use case.
The ability to use the base station as a NVR also will likely allow much longer video retention.
The folks that are really getting hit hard are those that have the older cameras. If they are on a pro2 base station i believe they are out of luck once they go over 5 cameras unless they upgrade there hub to either of the Smarthubs.
I don't even see on my account how I can choose what 5 cameras get free cloud recording anymore.
The press release isn't the only notification that went out. I know for a fact i got 2 emails about it as well in December. I remember this because they were touting how it was simplified billing compared to what they were doing for the Arlo pro3 and Ultra cameras already. So the press release isn't the only notification. I get people are upset, but I also feel people are being blinded by the fact it is changing and not really looking at the whole picture.
You may have gotten one but it is quite clear many did not and even if they did the implication at purchase was that this plan would be there at the end of the year. Also that 10 not 5 cameras were part of it, that is deception so people would buy more product. Everything about Arlo is clearly about forcing you to the elite plan and paying extra for more than 5. That was not obvious when selling these things and not even on the radar. Not only didn't a e-mail go out to everyone with a plan, it wasn't even mentioned on this forum and in fact moderators on here stated more than once it wasn't true.
as for just using it as an NVR, yes if you are happy to use it only with your phone app and only when on your home network unless you pay for a PVN. Think Arlo isn't thinking "if you have to pay a PVN provider you might as well pay us". Arlo's history is selling equipment with a courtesy plan, not as a primary cloud provider, that was not in any way clear when people began buying expensive beta equipment. But heck if your happy fine but I'm betting it's a business model that won't make it as a stand alone company and their stock shows it.
@Mavrrick I appreciate what you are saying and your suggestions.
I believe @LandJS has summarized my views and reactions well, so I will not repeat.
The reality is that Arlo has a product gross margin of 5% (2019) even after several years of incubation by Netgear. Their service gross margin is 43% for the year, so that looks as the easiest place where to add margin dollars - even though - or maybe because -- service gross margin in Q4 was down to 35% (interesting). Their product gross margin is quite unexplainable to me, but that would be a much longer conversation.
Management might have decided that if that comes a bit at the expense of their Mission Statement "We build trusted, lifelong customer relationships by creating innovative, smart security solutions that deliver an exceptional user experience." , so be it.
I will be OK, but less likely to recommend Arlo.
Just to be clear there is no addtional cost to use the Local base station for your storage for your cameras and have access remotely.
VPN as a service won't do anything for accessing your data at home. You either setup Port forwarding, or a VPN through the router you have. You should be able to have 15 cameras hooked to a single VMB4540 or VMB5000 base station and pay nothing for them. I am doing this with Pro2 cameras as well right now.
I still stand by my question as well about do you really need rich notifications for all of your cameras. I am going to activate smart on a couple of my cameras, but not all of them. I expect 5 cameras will be enough.
port forwarding is not deemed safe by many and PVN service is an additional cost. Some do claim to be free but are not considered safe or efficient. To only be able to see it at home and only on your phone is rather pointless. Also many systems (not just Arlo) are far more than 5 cameras. Unless you are buying the barest of systems most are 12 to 20 camera systems and a combo of wired and wireless. I have 7 and would add a couple if not for the plan change and yes want notifications for all of them or why have them. I'm am however considering just going no plan and paying for a top PVN service since a 2K plan takes away 4K to the SD and the smart service is inaccurate at least 30% of the time anyway. But none of that has anything to do with the fact that what Arlo is now doing is not what they led customers to believe they were buying nor does it change the fact that many were not notified which is illegal and that after being contacted they failed to fix it.
I am not questioning that Arlo needed to be more profitable to stay in business and continuing to provide us with very good cameras. I do want Arlo to be more profitable to protect my investment of several thousand dollars of Arlo devices and if I have to pay a little more for this service, the so be it, although there comes a point that the costs of owning more than 5 cameras outweighs their usefulness. My complaint is that Arlo no longer gives us an incentive to purchase more than 5 cameras and the way Arlo manages having more than one account is ludicrous. I love the Arlo cameras, but I think their business model stinks. I still think that Arlo is sticking it to those that brought them here. I can no longer recommend Arlo to anyone.