Arlo Customer Service - too many shortcomings, and what must be either lack of honesty or competence
(This was originally posted in Arlo Community, relocated by someone to a more obscure section, reloaded by the author).
I HOPE THESE PEOPLE READ THIS MESSAGE: Patrick C.S. Lo. Mark G. Merrill, and Matthew McRae so they can comprehend better that Arlo is a good concept but flawed in terms of customer relations.
I first put an Arlo system into service at in Fall of 2016, gradually updating and increasing coverage to two locations. To their credit, Arlo systems stations are quick to deploy, and can be satisfactory when they are charged and otherwise working. I noticed many shortcomings over the years, several which were gradually resolved or bypassed by newer products. I had occasions to contact Netgear Arlo Customer Service, and more recently Arlo Customer Service; these encounters left me considering switching to alternative products by competitors. I also wonder if any of these consumer-oriented products are fully ready for prime time?
I found the Arlo customer service encounters are not something to be looked forward to. It can be time consuming to speak with a human (while listening over and over again to the maddening music short audio clip). As a tech CEO I am left thinking "this is about money - management do not value their customers enough to spend money to hire/contract more staff to shorten customer waiting times".
If/when you do reach a human they all say those same insincere phrases (as if from some playbook) "I am sorry you are having problems..." - for me actions matter. But the people who answer are limited in understanding and capacity to resolve many issues. What is worse it that on recent occasions I was deceived by the answers provided by Arlo Customer Service - this is not only frustrating but is a complete waste of my time.
Furthermore, Customer Service informed me they have no mechanism to forward recommendations for product improvements up channels. Yes I know about the Community Forum, but do not always have time to log in and type suggestions when a phone call could suffice.
1. Recently I observed my Apple Safari browser was not properly displaying my Arlo Devices screen. The cameras and a screen image show up, but the control (play, pause, snapshot, record, etc.) functions were grayed out. When I contacted Customer Service they wasted my time, they were certain the problem was my computer or its browser. They suggested I change to Google Chrome! That really solves the nexus of the problem?
THANKS FOR NOTHING ARLO
2. Later I noted one of the two Arlo Q cameras at my remote location had dropped out, displaying some 'device disconnected' message. I could not access it, I had not been there to change anything; so I suspected Arlo Engineering had problems. I contacted Arlo Customer Service. Again it was time-consuming to speak with a human (while listening over and over again to the maddening music short audio clip), when I reach a human they again said the same insincere phrases. They also explained Arlo Customer Service could not access the cameras, I must be having some problem at that location - call them back when I can again travel the 1000 miles to get there to check my Arlo Q cameras.
Later my second of two Arlo Q cameras dropped out. TWO IMPORTANT CAMERAS USELESS, and I could do nothing to bring them back up.
THANKS FOR NOTHING ARLO, AGAIN
3. More recently I observed my Apple Safari and Firefox browsers were not properly displaying Arlo Devices screens. When I clicked the device display arrow to see "Live View" then an error message popped up suggesting I needed to update Adobe Flash, with a hyperlink directing me to Adobe's web site where I COULD AGAIN DOWNLOAD THE VERSION OF FLASH ALREADY ON MY COMPUTER. Furthermore, device windows were flashing an error warning triangle icon in the orange circle, when I clicked on the warning then the screen displays only an "OK" message. Not only that but the device windows were each flashing two error warning USB Flash Drive icon in the orange circle, when I clicked on the warning then the screen displays some message about my USB Flash Drives needing to be reformatted.
Fortunately my iPhone Arlo app still worked.
I contacted Arlo Customer Service. Again it was time-consuming to speak with a human (while listening over and over again to the maddening music short audio clip), when I reach a human they again said the same insincere phrases. I tried to convey the information to them, suggesting someone at Arlo Engineering had "broken their software". They INSISTED THE PROBLEM MUST BE FIREFOX AND OR SAFARI browsers, suggested I add Google Chrome.
I told customer service it is as though they are peeing down customers backs, all while trying to convince us it is only rain!
THANKS FOR NOTHING ARLO, AGAIN - AND NOT ONLY NOTHING, BUT A MISLEADING WASTE OF TIME!
4. Later I finally contacted someone at Arlo who confirmed ARLO ENGINEERING is aware of the problems I and other are having. They have known about these for some time, and are working to resolve it.
WHY COULD ARLO NOT HAVE PUT OUR SOME MESSAGE TO USERS WEEKS AGO EXPLAINING THIS?
I also offered some suggestions for products improvements, especially so that their Solar Panel might actually charge a camera rather than maybe maintain its charge, and others. Again I was informed they had no way to contact Engineering with suggestions.
5. Two months later, the status:
• my two Arlo Q cameras miraculously came back up and are working OK.
• Safari and Firefox browsers remain compromised and not properly controlling my cameras.
• All is OK however, on my iPhone App.
PS: I have decades of experience with computers and gadgets, good technical competence and a fair understanding of software and user interfacing. I head a technology company so I know somethings about networked hardware, software, and about customer service.
i don’t think the problems you are having are isolated. I have experienced some of your issues, such as remote cameras going offline for no reason and then miraculously coming back. I would add one more issue which is just weird. A number of the Arlo routers (the newer ones, not the originals), will only sho two bars for the connectivity to the camera, no matter how close the camera is to the router. Even right on top of the router, the camera is showing only two bars, even if the camera is right on top of the router. I have this “feature” with all of the new routers..
I have also suffered from the inane stupidity that drives a tech-savvy person mad “Have you tried turning the router off and on?” “Can you replace the Lan cable between your router and the Arlo router?” “Take the batteries out of the camera snd try fresh ones”, “Delete the camera and start again....”, “Delete the App and download it again...”
The customer support seems to be based in the Philippines, so it is not surprising they can’t check Arlo’s network issues. I am guessing that it is outsourced. I think they have a list of “solutions” like the above, that they will go through without any proper comprehension of what the problem is likely to be.
i am not sure, but I suspect that moderation of this forum may also have been outsourced. Maybe the do “escalate” the problems. Maybe a director arrives at work every day, looks at the pile of incoming emails and thinks “I can’t do anything about these - I gave a problem to the IT guys last month and it’s still not solved. I’m powerless.”. I am guessing his co-directors are oblivious to the problems because they don’t own the cameras and don’t read these forums. They just to take their pay, deal with their department and go home to play with the kuds.
I suspect that when Arlo split from Netgear, the parent company kept the best directors, the best employees and the hardest working IT staff, and Arlo technologies ended up with the dross. That’s the way it comes across. Unless Arlo does something about the many reported issues, it will die a death. I own 23 cameras but have stopped buying after the App update issues last year. I think I would easily be at 35 cameras by now if it wasn’t for the various issues that were ignored by the management. It will be expensive to change systems, but I’m not going to make the problem worse by sinking more money into my Arlo setup, even though I need more cameras.
Another bad marketing gripe: Why do you get free 7 day cloud storage for the first 5 cameras, but as soon as you buy a sixth camera, you need to fork out $9.99 per month if you want to put that camera on the same user account? That makes your sixth camera cost $120 per year more than the fifth camera. (I know the obvious work-around of having two accounts, but Why? Why? Why?.)
Lastly, the outrageously high price for the Arlo 4k Ultra camera, ($399), might be justified, if it wasn’t for the fact that you can’t stream 4k unless you are on the same local area network (so no remote 4k viewing), and you not only need a subscription to the Arlo Smart service ($2.99 per camera per month), but you also need an add-on subscription called “Premium video recording” ($1.99 per camera per month), to be able to view the 4k videos in the cloud. So, if you are not prepared to fork out an extra $60 per year, you have just spent an extra $150 compared to the Arlo Pro 2 1080p HD camera ($249.99), for the 4k quality that you can never get.
A 3 camera set for the Pro 2 costs $529.99, whereas a three camera set for the 4k Ultra costs $799.99 plus $180 per year to get the HD recordings. It’s too much for a home set-up.
PS. Arlo are forcing users to download a new version of the Arlo App, as the legacy version will stop working today.
Does Arlo realise that if you own an older iPad, it can’t load any iOS later than 9.32? The new Arlo App can’t be downloaded on iOS 9.2 and can’t be used unless you have a later version of iOS, or a newer iPad.
I wonder how many Arlo users will discover they can’t get their Arlo videos from tomorrow unless they buy a new iPad?
Dear Arlo, my family members all have older iPads to monitor our 92 year old dad. All except me have the older iPad. (iPad 4). They simply cannot afford to buy a new iPad, just to make the Arlo system work.
Dear Arlo, I feel another user backlash is coming. Are you ready for it?
As a followup to my complaints about poor/nonresponsive customer service, it is interesting to see developments of new hardware being announced - even while the software/firmware of existing products is not what we contracted for.
1. It is galling to see my credit card being charged the full $150 for the annual monitoring services, when for months neither browsers of my Apple Macintosh 'MacBook Pro' can operate my cameras owing to software problems within Arlo that were only recently acknowledged to me by the Arlo people.
If Arlo is truly sincere about being apologetic, then how about some tangible expressions of regret?
a. do not charge customers for full services costs when the full services promised are not being delivered.
b. fix the problems, then let the customers know when they can get back to using what have been broken.
2. On 27 September, as a followup to my post (above) we can see Jessica reached out with the standard reply "Sorry to hear the experience you're having with your Arlo system. Let me reach out to you via private message regarding this." However, nobody from Arlo has contacted me since. Neither has there been any explanations of why customer service is so compromised, why the Safari and Firefox browser access to my cameras are so compromised.
Useless insincerity? Or, more likely the problems originate higher up in Management and Engineering.
Sorry to hear that you still have not heard back from the support team. I've escalated your case once more to the team so they can contact you. If you don't hear back from them through call or email, please let me know.
It appears the Arlo legacy app is still working despite the promise to switch it off at the end of last month
They've extended it because the iOS app wasn't stable on iOS 10.3
Likely it will be disabled shortly after they solve that problem.
A followup to my original post: it turns out that other contributor(s) to the forum pointed out problems using browsers to access Arlo cameras; some problems relate to incompatibilities of Arlo's software with Adobe Flash. Work-arounds to some of the problems were posted on the forum by contributors (enabling Flash in Firefox by clicking on the 'Lego block' by the page address bar for example) well before I ever contacted Arlo Customer Support. However, browser access and controls still appear compromised (orange disc warnings of USB-Flash drives needing reformatting still flashing, etc.).
These are problems that Arlo engineering must have been aware of well before I ever contacted Customer Support. So, for no good reasons I wasted too much time with them - no suggestions from them were helpful.
This experience proves to my mind that Arlo Customer Support is truly 1. either being set up for such embarrassments by Arlo engineering, or 2. Arlo Customer Support are incompetent (cannot even search their own forum for solutions?), or 3. Arlo Corp/Customer Support are not forthright with truth.
Since 2016 I have invested in several generations of Arlo cameras. As impressed as I am by the selection of and performance of the cameras from a hardware perspective, I cannot fathom how Arlo Technologies, Inc. cannot get their software and customer service up to acceptable levels.
I also have the same problem. From Windows 10 Pro, on PC, using the Arlo Browser Link, I cannot access 'Live View' as it says my Flash Player is outdated. Following the link to install a newer version does not work. Actually there was nothing wrong with the version I had. Nonetheless, I went back and re-installed the newest versions of Flash and I have the same result---'need a newer version'. This happens on Opera and Chrome. Did not try any other browsers.
The only way I can obtain a live view is via Apple OS or Android. No doubt the software was never really looked at to support Windows.
Arlo engineering is aware of the problem, they are so inconsiderate about even acknowledging the nature of any problems or providing any promise of a remedy that we users are losing patience. As can be read in many threads, Arlo Technologies, Inc. is literally driving current customers away; while potential new customers who read the numerous complaints look more closely at buying alternatives on the marketplace. This is all a shame to customers, including me, who have made quite some investment to buy Arlo products over the years.