A cautionary tale for any IoT ecosystem (Wink subscription)

I got the email Sunday morning around 7. That’s May 10. The subscription starts on May 13. So it’s actually less than three full days, for me.


I got the email Sunday May 10 at 7am. The subscription service starts May 13. So technically, not even three full days’ notice. NFW.


Why do you think that WYZE is any different in ability to cut you off from the device until you pay.
Anyway - it is not the coincidence that WINK “updated” the firmware a month ago to allow them to cut people off their devices, neither is coincidence that QUicken did the identical same. But there is nothing in the WINK nor in Quicken licenses that allows them to do that. In addition it is against the Copyright/Patent law to use the granted licence to extort people.
All this is happening now - as everyone is preoccupied by COVID-19 and the federal courts and lawyers operate at limited capacity.
But a class action against Quicken and WYNK may certainly come sooner than they think.

This is why, before purchasing a Wyze camera, I researched and determined that (1) They support RTSP, at least in the beta software available at the time, and (2) The camera firmware was hackable/replaceable. And then once I purchased the camera, but still within the time that I could return it, I did significant testing to make sure the camera (3) Would still be usable in total absence of the internet (but still connected to a LAN).

Yes, even with the above, the camera might lose some functionality (the Wyze app) if Wyzw were to go rogue and start charging people, but there are plenty of other software solutions available that can work with RTSP.

Someone mentioned above a potential class action lawsuit against WINK. But in order to screw customers, Wyze would not have to start charging money for access. They could just turn their servers off and re-purpose them for some new company venture. I don’t recall any guarantee that those servers would be available to their customer base.

I have been very happy with Wink Hub. It’s really easy to use and does a good job. I also have a wink relay that I love - it controls my front porch and entry lights.

Unfortunately, it looks like the company is in dire financial shape or I’m guessing they would not have decided to brick my devices with less than 3 days notice. If they had done the right thing and given me at least 30 days notice - I would probably have subscribed - but I would never subscribe to any companies subscription scheme based on a threat to brick their products I paid hundreds of dollars for. I will throw them in the trash before doing so.

I have already loaded up a Rasberry Pi 4 with HassIO and purchased a zigbee/z-wave dongle that runs off one of the USB ports on the PI. I’m going to let them brick my stuff and then re-connect everything to my Home Assistant hub running on my Pi.

Good luck to other Wink users - I know that Home Assistant isn’t a product nearly as easy to use as Wink hub was - but HassIO is a pretty good open source solution to consider.

I literally had one switch that matters running through Wink and had bought a a Hubitat six months ago but never got it swapped in. Did that finally over the weekend and it was a PITA, mostly due to my own ineptitude.

I saw mention in a different board that the email landed in a lot of peoples’ spam folders.

Update: I went searching and my email arrived May 10. I had seen it earlier in a notification from the Wink app on my phone.

Did Quicken do something? They’ve been subscription model for a year or more, and have been warning they’d turn off integrations for older releases.

I’ve used Quicken since the 90’s and it’s always required a fairly current release for all the data to move properly. I used to buy a new version every other year.

If I remember in 2017/2018 Quicken was sold. I think the 2017 was last non-subscription edition. Those who bought 2018 were only offerred subsription. But all those who bought Quicken back in early 1990’s did not have to and updates were provided. In fact after 2017 Quicken did not provide ANYTHING worth money over and above what was available before. To the contrary despite many promisses nothing was imporved. Including feature for which we paid already did not work properly for years on end. Now in January 2020 Quicken made a forced “upgrade” to all 2017 edition which allows Quicken to block our ability to download bank data directly. Thus rendering Quicken totally useless - just like WINK makes their hardware useless in 5 days. Quicken makes your 2017 Quicken useless for the purpose you bought for in two weeks.
Thru the years the only reason for updating or paying for a new version was to obtain new functions. If you did not need new functions - you did not need to buy new version. The basic function of downloading from banks did not change from the 1990’s. Now Quicken illegally is taking this function away or else you must pay a ransom yearly. Not even every other year as was your choice. This is wrong - very wrong.

This sounds exactly what Banks do to their customers on a regular basis.

I cancelled my Wink and instead started using Samsung SmartThings (no fees). $60 direct from Samsung.

Note: You might have to release/disconnect/remove some of your devices from the Wink hub before they can be added to a different hub.

Also, your old Wink has some resale value on eBay.

For now.

Probably not for long.

I hope Wyze doesn’t follow in Wink’s footsteps. I am prepared if they do. But I hope they don’t. Wink is not long for this Earth after their recent money grab. They will be out of business shortly. I know it’s tough when a company can’t even pay their employees (like Wink experienced). But screwing over and pushing your customers away is no way to recover from that. It’s corporate suicide.

They Lost Me :grinning:

If you bought late then I could see it being a surprise, but they warned about this coming for at least a year.

My recollection is that for the last decade they only supported downloads on the last 3-4 releases and I seem to remember at least once when they redid the download method and required an update for it to keep working. I may be conflating downloads and bill pay, though.

My view is that there have been some speed and stability improvements as well as some minor feature improvements under the current owners, and that although the subscription is too expensive, I don’t mind paying for it so Quicken infrastructure continues.

Quicken online is actually usable and worthwhile for the first time, too.

I think what will eventually happen is kind of an IoT Bill of Rights type thing. In essence there is literally no reason a camera can’t continue to record to SD card and display live view and even deliver motion notifications without having a cloud connection. Or a contact sensor report open or closed etc.

There is some functionality provided by cloud connections that certainly goes away if you don’t have a connection. But the basic features of a camera, contact, motion sensor, scale, watch, etc should be able to function without anything other than a lan connection. After all we lived with that for years.

For a device to require an internet connection is one of two things, bad sloppy programming or an intentional effort to bind you to an ecosystem.

I have no issue with a value add proposition for enhanced features and functionality provided by a cloud connection. And in many cases I would happily even pay for it.

Where I do have an issue is if a company fails, is bought, or otherwise changes their business model, or like Sonos/Wink just decides to be a prick, and Devices I bought and paid for become paperweights.

The company’s changed owners a few times, according to what I read online the current owner is Will.i.am

Not to belabor the Quicken thing. I was on Quicken since 1983 and it was in DOS.

It was sold in 2016/2017 and there was no talk about subscription. The subscription came in 2018 but only to those who bought subscription software.

Nobody questions Quicken’ s ability to sell subscription to their NEW service. But nowhere in the licensing since 1983 there is an agreement to be forced into subscription. The license to use the software since 1983 did not include that.

They had Quicken on-line an it was a disastrous product that was discontinued in 2010. Under the current owner the improvements were negligible, largely cosmetic and mostly consisted of “job security” for programmers changes. Banks – not Quicken – decided to on security changes which forced some adaptations on Quicken. But blocking the non-subscription software owners into subscription by disabling ability to use the software’s basic function such as downloading bank data through a simple data file download from the bank without use of Quickens “infrastructure” is simply as honest as selling video camera and blocking ability to view/save pictures without use of the camera manufacturer’s infrastructure.

How would like to buy a car today and tomorrow be forced into a subscription paid to car manufacturer in order to be able to pump air into the car’s tires. All cars sold today can be disabled under the guise of car’s service. Your car (or even a TV) is not your chattel anymore – it has plenty of licenses attached to it which can be converted into subscription model anytime.

It is time for some legislation in the smart-home industry.

The reason I have not expanded on my WYZE network, is precisely because of the issue like with Wink… Without getting into some complicated set-up, the WYZE device must “phone home”. So, for most users, we are vulnerable to suffering from the same thing that Wink users have experienced. And there are other, even bigger, companies that have done things like discontinuing a smart home product support or just going out of business.

The smart home industry is very different from other single-use devices. These are integrated into our home, and should expect to be used for well over 10 years. And while I would like to upgrade my decades-old X-10 system to something more contemporary, there is no way I will spend $1,000+ on a new setup, with the possibility I may have to abandon it in the future.

Certain features, as basic as turning a light on/off really has no need to access the internet, neither for daily functions, or to pair the device with your smart phone. Though, I realize that something like voice recognition and people detection need a lot more computer horsepower. So, those benefit from servers, though perhaps it may be viable for a vendor to create a specialized hub, or even be setup to run on an old computer.

I don’t think that control over the internet truly needs servers, though nearly all vendors make it so it must go through their services.

So, I think it is time for some legislation in the smart home industry. Perhaps require that packages be very clearly labeled on the front, with “Warning, the following features could be disabled in the future…” This may provide some motivation for providers to build more features that don’t require their servers. If a device requires it to “phone home” for even basic operations or just to set up, then the warning should be stronger, “Warning, this device may no longer function in the future, and without notice.” I am sure consumers would be properly concerned about investing too much money for such a device, and products without such a warning will likely earn the consumer’s dollars.


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Re Quicken, I think we may both be referring to slightly different events.

I bought a non-subscription release of it under the new owners, because I wanted to support them and hopefully see some bugs fixed. I agree, there was no talk of subscription. They started offering it later - I could see 2018 being right.

I think it was maybe a year ago now that they started saying that they were going to a subscription-only model, and that you’d ultimately need to subscribe for downloads to continue working. My point is simply that they gave ample warning that they were going to a subscription-only model. Not 3 - 10 days like Wink. You may not like it, but it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Intuit/Quicken has occasionally forced an upgrade for things to keep downloading before.

I think one time might have been because they were shutting down the modem banks, though, so it’s been quite a while. There was the time they changed from QIF to OFX (?) for all the downloads too - that also required an upgrade to keep working. Yes these were feature changes that made sense, but they still didn’t support old software forever.

So far as Quicken online, it and the Quicken phone app have become an extension of desktop Quicken and it’s handy. I’ve entered transactions to Quicken from my work laptop via the web and it works.

Thank you – but I guess my point was not clear enough.

They did not have to brake the ability of the software to import the file prepared by the bank and downloaded directly bypassing unsecure Quicken.

Most banks stopped supporting Quicken interception of transactions downloads for security reasons and at least 50% of banks now have only direct download to my computer. Quicken in two weeks will block my computers ability to import those transaction.

The only reason they do that is to extract subscription payment for using the software permanent license that had the license already paid for in full.

Their choice always was to provide real improvements and price them right. They chose highway robbery way. I guess – the sign of times in USA.

Wow. I’m a SuperUser on the Quicken forum and I thought I was free from all the arguing about the subscription model when I come over here to escape. I guess not.

Please take the Quicken discussion over to the Quicken forum. Here’s a link: