A warning around purchasing an Alkatronic 2nd hand

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Rewd

Rewd

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It's actually irrelevant if you think I should have tested at the beginning. In fact, that is a complete straw man argument. The fact of the matter is, I provided ENORMOUS amounts of proof that I purchased it legally so the topic should have died then and there, but in fact, the individuals at Focustronic treated me like a criminal and refused to help, and also attempted to bury the situation on their Facebook page. And from what I gather via a whole slew of private messages, this is not an uncommon complaint for their company. Thankfully, an enormous amount of outcry from this forum got the situation resolved.
 
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MnFish1

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It's actually irrelevant if you think I should have tested at the beginning. In fact, that is a complete straw man argument. The fact of the matter is, I provided ENORMOUS amounts of proof that I purchased it legally so the topic should have died there, but in fact, the individuals at Focustronic treated me like a criminal and refused to help, and also attempted to bury the situation on their Facebook page. Thankfully, an enormous amount of outcry from this forum got the situation resolved.

IMHO - its not irrelevant - and IMHO - it would have been taken care of either way. If you read my initial post I said 'GOING FORWARD' - it should be a lesson to everyone - including those of us who agreed that its an odd policy. If you buy something used - test it and troubleshoot it immediately. Of course - I wasn't implying you can turn back time. But now that its resolved - its resolved. Its now becoming almost an agenda - of continued bashing of a company. I'm glad you got it fixed.
 
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Rewd

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Really? What if someone buys a piece of equipment but doesn't set a tank up for months or year after purchase? How do you expect they would be able to test it out or follow your suggestion?
 

jcdeng

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just to share part of the story and this is exactly what I did and told the 2nd hand owner that I am waiting for a reply from the registered owner of the unit.

this is the basic rule we need to follow. otherwise, what if some random guy email us and ask to unlink a random number and the actual user would lose control over the unit sitting under their tank?

We are happy to help transfer 2nd hand Focustronic products to the new owner. Whenever selling your Focustronic product, make sure to email our support team to UNLINK the unit from your account so that the new owner is able to re-register it. Otherwise we need to protect our userbase by doing the due diligence on our end, which can take extra time since we will be relying on the previous owner to respond to our email confirming they sold their unit.

hope this solves any misunderstanding. Cheers!

You know that a lot of people buy products base on simplicity right? I am not even focusing on this situation here about the customer service or point about stolen fish equipment, but reading that I need to "email our support team to unlink the unit from account" is enough hassle for me to not buy your product, period.

There are many competitors in the controller field and I am glad you helped to narrow it down and eliminate "tronics" from my list.
 

DopamineKata

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You know that a lot of people buy products base on simplicity right? I am not even focusing on this situation here about the customer service or point about stolen fish equipment, but reading that I need to "email our support team to unlink the unit from account" is enough hassle for me to not buy your product, period.

There are many competitors in the controller field and I am glad you helped to narrow it down and eliminate "tronics" from my list.

Eh, needing to get a used device unlinked isn't really that big of deal. If a simple "hey I bought this and here's proof" had been all that was needed @Rewd would have never have posted about it because it wouldn't have been a big deal. I can understand and appreciate that there are reasons why they wouldn't want people being able to take over devices that are registered to other people. At the same time, many companies go out of their way to discourage second-hand sales since they gain no profit from it.

If they had been helpful and transparent from the beginning this wouldn't have caused a bunch of drama.
 
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just to share part of the story and this is exactly what I did and told the 2nd hand owner that I am waiting for a reply from the registered owner of the unit.

this is the basic rule we need to follow. otherwise, what if some random guy email us and ask to unlink a random number and the actual user would lose control over the unit sitting under their tank?

We are happy to help transfer 2nd hand Focustronic products to the new owner. Whenever selling your Focustronic product, make sure to email our support team to UNLINK the unit from your account so that the new owner is able to re-register it. Otherwise we need to protect our userbase by doing the due diligence on our end, which can take extra time since we will be relying on the previous owner to respond to our email confirming they sold their unit.

hope this solves any misunderstanding. Cheers!

This tells me everything I need to know about Focustronic. I don’t think there was any understanding here as you have just confirmed exactly what the OP said.
 

MnFish1

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Really? What if someone buys a piece of equipment but doesn't set a tank up for months or year after purchase? How do you expect they would be able to test it out or follow your suggestion?
If you want an honest answer - this is why I don't buy things and take 6 months to set them up. For example - lets say you buy a used aquarium - and let it sit in your garage for 7 months - then it leaks. Do you think you can go back to the seller and say - hey - wait this leaks? I think its pretty 'common sense' - that if you buy equipment - you have a certain amount of time by law (not my idea - but the law) to appeal to the credit card company. MOST manufacturers will also work with you as well even after 6 months. So - yeah - if I was doing a build of some sort, I would try to test (especially used equipment) ASAP.

This isn't a criticism of you, per se. It's a general comment. It doesn't just apply to reef tanks. I guess you missed that fact -that buying 'internet of things' products if they are not transferred over to you - is a major problem. Not just with focustronics. So - I was only trying to add some 'education' as compared to 'complaints'. Seems like the complaint part is resolved - in your favor?

EDIT - and to reiterate - I DISAGREE with the company in the way they treated you listening to your side.
 
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I get what you're saying and truthfully I'm not even saying your opinion is wrong--it's probably good advice in all reality--but it puts too narrow a scope on situations that could be affected by any number of variables. At the end of the day, the best "catch all" policy, to avoid drama like this and a hit to a companies reputation, would simply be to accept proof of purchase as a quick means for approving a request to unlink a device.
 

rtparty

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I'm pretty sure the vast majority of us on here have little to no problem with the unlinking part of this story. Is it an unnecessary security feature? Probably. Aquarium gear in someone's home is not being stolen at a high rate. It is probably so miniscule it isn't even worth adding these security features. A thief is going to steal a brand new item from a local store before breaking into someone's home to steal equipment.

But, FT and other companies have decided to implement this so we have to accept it if we use the products. Okay got it.

HOWEVER.....

What is not acceptable is the way it was handled and the way a company rep called us keyboard warriors on high horses. I moderate a group WAY larger than the FT Facebook group and know first hand how things play out on FB (the most vile place for reefing there is.) If I ever said anything close to that, I would be let go immediately. You don't treat current and potential customers that way for any reason. There is no excuse.

You want us to drop $1000 to ONLY monitor alk when other companies monitor multiple parameters for half that. You MUST provide top notch customer service for everyone, no matter how much you disagree with them. Customers aren't always right. As a business owner myself, I know this. I can tell them they are wrong in a very nice way that doesn't upset them and we will find a resolution.
 

MnFish1

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I'm pretty sure the vast majority of us on here have little to no problem with the unlinking part of this story. Is it an unnecessary security feature? Probably. Aquarium gear in someone's home is not being stolen at a high rate. It is probably so miniscule it isn't even worth adding these security features. A thief is going to steal a brand new item from a local store before breaking into someone's home to steal equipment.

But, FT and other companies have decided to implement this so we have to accept it if we use the products. Okay got it.

HOWEVER.....

What is not acceptable is the way it was handled and the way a company rep called us keyboard warriors on high horses. I moderate a group WAY larger than the FT Facebook group and know first hand how things play out on FB (the most vile place for reefing there is.) If I ever said anything close to that, I would be let go immediately. You don't treat current and potential customers that way for any reason. There is no excuse.

You want us to drop $1000 to ONLY monitor alk when other companies monitor multiple parameters for half that. You MUST provide top notch customer service for everyone, no matter how much you disagree with them. Customers aren't always right. As a business owner myself, I know this. I can tell them they are wrong in a very nice way that doesn't upset them and we will find a resolution.
I'm actually surprised that this wasn't moved to the 'vendor forum' - but I guess since Focustronic does not work with R2R - that that doesn't happen.
 
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Right guys … we have now had an eMail from the original owner and this is sorted … for those of you who couldn’t get their head around what was happening .. think about buying an apple phone and the person did not reset it … do you think you can go into an apple shop and ask them to reset it for you ?
Of course not … well the AT works the same way, hence the “unlink” button on the app…
So maybe think before you get on your high horses and become keyboard warriors in the future please !!!
LOL, this is a piece of reef equipment, not a phone with personal info. You're comparison is a joke.

I am like many here, was considering some of your products but not after this.
 

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What is not acceptable is the way it was handled and the way a company rep called us keyboard warriors on high horses. I moderate a group WAY larger than the FT Facebook group and know first hand how things play out on FB (the most vile place for reefing there is.) If I ever said anything close to that, I would be let go immediately. You don't treat current and potential customers that way for any reason. There is no excuse.
Agreed. I was actually impressed with @Rillo Boy's professionalism and seemingly genuine desire to help, but that high horse comment he added at the end was in poor taste and completely unnecessary.
 

MnFish1

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By the way - again - though its not common - the biggest risk here is to the original purchaser - who - did not erase his account/data. So in a way - this 'policy' protects (overprotects?) both parties. 2. This is an international company - and they may have more stringent privacy rules.
 

a.t.t.r

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Sounds more like just bad software design instead of a security feature. This wasn’t in place to prevent theft (they wouldn’t care first off and this wouldn’t stop supply line theft the only type they would care about). This is simply how they link accounts. My NEST can be reset and linked to a new account and self-identifies in the network. They could change their software to do the same. Could also simplify the whole process in fact by not needing unique ids embedded in each build.

However with it built as it is the way they handle it does make perfect sense. I do agree however them seeing it offline for months should be enough to not care about delinking
 

HeyLookItsCaps

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If you want an honest answer - this is why I don't buy things and take 6 months to set them up. For example - lets say you buy a used aquarium - and let it sit in your garage for 7 months - then it leaks. Do you think you can go back to the seller and say - hey - wait this leaks? I think its pretty 'common sense' - that if you buy equipment - you have a certain amount of time by law (not my idea - but the law) to appeal to the credit card company. MOST manufacturers will also work with you as well even after 6 months. So - yeah - if I was doing a build of some sort, I would try to test (especially used equipment) ASAP.

This isn't a criticism of you, per se. It's a general comment. It doesn't just apply to reef tanks. I guess you missed that fact -that buying 'internet of things' products if they are not transferred over to you - is a major problem. Not just with focustronics. So - I was only trying to add some 'education' as compared to 'complaints'. Seems like the complaint part is resolved - in your favor?

EDIT - and to reiterate - I DISAGREE with the company in the way they treated you listening to your side.

I actually bought a power inverter for my car in case I do buy something I can plug it in and function check it. I like buying used/broken stuff for the challenge of fixing it and I’ve been fairly successful with it. With that being said I always want to make sure where I’m at with something before I pass the cash. Online/eBay is obviously different but they have protections for that
 
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HeyLookItsCaps

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I'm pretty sure the vast majority of us on here have little to no problem with the unlinking part of this story. Is it an unnecessary security feature? Probably. Aquarium gear in someone's home is not being stolen at a high rate. It is probably so miniscule it isn't even worth adding these security features. A thief is going to steal a brand new item from a local store before breaking into someone's home to steal equipment.

But, FT and other companies have decided to implement this so we have to accept it if we use the products. Okay got it.

HOWEVER.....

What is not acceptable is the way it was handled and the way a company rep called us keyboard warriors on high horses. I moderate a group WAY larger than the FT Facebook group and know first hand how things play out on FB (the most vile place for reefing there is.) If I ever said anything close to that, I would be let go immediately. You don't treat current and potential customers that way for any reason. There is no excuse.

You want us to drop $1000 to ONLY monitor alk when other companies monitor multiple parameters for half that. You MUST provide top notch customer service for everyone, no matter how much you disagree with them. Customers aren't always right. As a business owner myself, I know this. I can tell them they are wrong in a very nice way that doesn't upset them and we will find a resolution.

This was my biggest gripe too, I told Rewd privately about the lesson I learned in contracting/remodeling from a mentor with far more experience than me.

Sometimes it’s okay to “lose” and move on with little damage than to dig in and cause a bigger problem.

I could’ve sued and maybe won and got the money owed. With lawyer fees, a judge or jury’s opinion, and possibly nothing to show for it. Plus it could harm my reputation, my “stars”, or my companies image. Even though I was right, had the paperwork, got the manufacturer inspection and warranty etc etc

Or I could’ve gone to the customer, appealed to them and the work we did, and see what we can agree to together, happily. Maybe less profit, maybe wasted time, but no damage to the company beyond one contracts profit margin.

Unfortunately peoples egos or “fine print” can over ride the long term effects of taking care of the individual.

Proving you are right is often the most expensive course of action, but it takes the ability to humble yourself to avoid it.
 

MnFish1

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The one thing few (no one) has mentioned - is the security issue from a network standpoint. Lets say I steal a piece of equipment - from House A. And I have the knowledge (which is probably not a lot) - to get the username/password of the network, etc. of the old user. The security makes sense. everyone seems to be thinking about this as 'a fish tank' so big deal - but depending on how its configured - it could allow all sorts of things IF there was no security. (Note - I've already said - that @Rewd proved his ownership).

The piece of equipment is probably not worth much to a thief. The "internet of things" part is a different story. Imagine the reverse story.

Second - I think the responses from Hong Kong - may seem in English more 'terse' than intended. IMHO - again - test your equipment when you get it (with no offense to @Rewd) - and to the company - America is a friendly country (I almost said company) - they do not understand A, B, C. OF course - I have no clue whether Eric is in hong-kong. I may be totally off base.

My opinion (and I learned a lot here as compared to the debate) - I would not buy another networked device - probably at all. One can imagine the reasons. I'll give you one: Here is device xxx. Its reset - except whoa - it is not. People manipulate these devices - aquarium, locks, cams, etc etc etc - all of the time. Just buy a new one. Again - this is not directed at @Rewd - just got me thinking. Perhaps I'm being over paranoid. I think this is a valuable discussion
 
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HeyLookItsCaps

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The one thing few (no one) has mentioned - is the security issue from a network standpoint. Lets say I steal a piece of equipment - from House A. And I have the knowledge (which is probably not a lot) - to get the username/password of the network, etc. of the old user. The security makes sense. everyone seems to be thinking about this as 'a fish tank' so big deal - but depending on how its configured - it could allow all sorts of things IF there was no security. (Note - I've already said - that @Rewd proved his ownership).

The piece of equipment is probably not worth much to a thief. The "internet of things" part is a different story. Imagine the reverse story.

Second - I think the responses from Hong Kong - may seem in English more 'terse' than intended. IMHO - again - test your equipment when you get it (with no offense to @Rewd) - and to the company - America is a friendly country (I almost said country) - they do not understand A, B, C. OF course - I have no clue whether Eric is in hong-kong. I may be totally off base.

My opinion (and I learned a lot here as compared to the debate) - I would not buy another networked device - probably at all. One can imagine the reasons. I'll give you one: Here is device xxx. Its reset - except whoa - it is not. People manipulate these devices - aquarium, locks, cams, etc etc etc - all of the time. Just buy a new one. Again - this is not directed at @Rewd - just got me thinking. Perhaps I'm being over paranoid. I think this is a valuable discussion

Or in a business/public aquarium/office setting. I could see “some” defense needed. However the need to bark to get any movement is the issue. I actually don’t mind the passwords and whatnot. I can choose to add you for example to monitor my reef, modify my reef, or even take over admin of my reef (this is apex but I think it’s a valid comparison). If someone got in there and dumped all my ddr reservoirs into my tank with my dos I’d be screwed. So I GET IT. However the stonewall until public outcry tactic is best reserved for politics imo
 

MnFish1

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Or in a business/public aquarium/office setting. I could see “some” defense needed. However the need to bark to get any movement is the issue. I actually don’t mind the passwords and whatnot. I can choose to add you for example to monitor my reef, modify my reef, or even take over admin of my reef (this is apex but I think it’s a valid comparison). If someone got in there and dumped all my ddr reservoirs into my tank with my dos I’d be screwed. So I GET IT. However the stonewall until public outcry tactic is best reserved for politics imo
Lets face it - the bottom line - the person that sold the equipment made the mistake. the person that bought the equipment didnt catch it, The point - if you're buying an internet based piece of equipment - test it. If your an internet based company - and selling equipment - perhaps - have policies. This is a Company in Hong Kong (from which I wouldn't do business anyway) - but - they may have totally different laws than here - if those from the US can't see that - IMHO they are not reading the news
 

MnFish1

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PS - and this has become a total tempest in a teapot - its solved - thy guy got his equipment. My guess is that it was not all that difficult, and its created a ruckus. On the other hand - the company IDK _ I don't know all the security vulnerabilities of this device.
 
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