Maker of smart garage door opener bricks customer’s device in retaliation for negative review

The essential function of a door is to be closed when you want it closed and open when you want it open. Things can get complicated when you start adding internet connectivity to these most basic of objects. Case in point, one man who owns a Garadget smart garage door struck a nerve with his negative Amazon review a few days ago. The creator of Garadget overreacted a teeny bit and deactivated the customer’s door in response. He literally turned his customer’s door into a wall.

Garadget was launched earlier this year on Indiegogo, where the startup sought a mere $30,000 to bring the device to market. The campaign more than doubled that, too. Garadget is a small Wi-Fi device based on the Particle framework that’s essentially a garage door opener with internet access. That means it can be instructed to open the garage door over the internet via the mobile app, and you don’t need to replace the existing garage door hardware. Your phone becomes the garage remote. It’s not actually a new idea, but Garadget does seem to have a more streamlined implementation than some similar devices from the past.

A customer by the name “R. Martin” was not impressed with the quality of Garadget, which sells for $99 on Amazon. He posted on the Garadget community boards to complain about the app failing to pair with the opener. He then took his frustration public on with the following 1-star Amazon review.

Junk – DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY – iPhone app is a piece of junk, crashes constantly, start-up company that obviously has not performed proper quality assurance tests on their products.

That’s harsh, but hardly the worst thing anyone has ever said about a product on the internet. Garadget founder Denis Grisak replied to the review publicly with the following.

Martin,

The abusive language here and in your negative Amazon review, submitted minutes after experiencing a technical difficulty, only demonstrates your poor impulse control. I’m happy to provide the technical support to the customers on my Saturday night but I’m not going to tolerate any tantrums.

At this time your only option is return Garadget to Amazon for refund. Your unit ID 2f0036… will be denied server connection.

Grisak basically punished a customer for disliking the product by killing the product remotely. In an update to the review thread, Grisak attempted to justify his actions by claiming the customer’s review was toxic and he simply wanted to distance himself from that. His comments have since been deleted, but the internet never forgets.

Refusing to do business with someone is usually defensible, but breaking a device someone bought because your feelings have been hurt is something else entirely. It comes off as vindictive and impulsive. How can anyone trust a company with something as basic as a door after this?

Let this serve as an example of how not to conduct PR for your fledgling company. Anyone searching for Garadget will see these reports, whereas before they may have glossed over a few negative reviews. It should also give you pause when it comes to integrating IoT technology into your home. I like my doors to keep working, regardless of who I upset.

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