Summary of multiple chat attempts; heavily paraphrased exchanges dripping with sarcasm:
Ring CS: Hi! I’m Mandy, your Ring Customer Service expert. What’s your problem?
Me: Hi, Mandy. I need to know more about video recording length. I had a delivery today that came while I was away, and my camera failed to record it, although it did record both my departing and coming home events. Your camera doesn’t seem to record more than :30s at a time, rather than continuing to record until an initial motion event ends.
Ring CS: I certainly understand your concern…
<I play along with the Ring PIN validation exercise.>
Ring CS: Great! Well, if you don’t answer an alert, then :30s is about all you get. If you answer each and every alert you get on a windy day, or like when the Christmas parade passes by your camera’s field of view, then you’ll get lots of footage, and will enjoy the world as it saunters past your location. So, what time was the event your camera didn’t record?
Me: Hmm… I wasn’t home, and it wasn’t captured, so I’m hard pressed to answer that question. However, I left at 1445, and returned at 1840. And as for answering every alert, I have a life, and a job. Ring’s job was to record every event detected, not just the first :30 seconds of it.
Ring CS: Uh… And how do you know your Ring camera missed an event.
Me: Because there was a box on my porch when I got home, that wasn’t there when I left?
Ring CS: Well, you could have been hacked. Or there could have been a network outage. You should turn on 2FA (two-factor authentication), and change your password to something really hard.
Me: I’m a Network Engineer and Security Professional. I have a Spotlight Camera with two batteries and a Solar Panel, augmented by two wireless lights connected through a Ring bridge and grouped with the main camera to extend its motion field of view, which sits next to my Internet router, both of which are powered by a UPS, to insure there is a low probability of losing network connectivity (unless of course, Ring wants to own up to an unreported loss of service this afternoon). Also, I have two firewalls at my location, and my password is already 22 characters long and sufficiently complex.
Ring CS: Uh…
Me: I’d like to escalate this trouble ticket to your tier 2 engineering team so that we can communicate about this in more technical terms than your script seems to allow.
Ring CS: We don’t have engineering support. I’m trained to handle all likely problems.
Me: Oh, so you’re saying this behavior is by design?
Ring CS: I understand your frustration. Perhaps if you can give me more information, I can investigate this better.
Me: So, you’ve asked for the timestamp of an event that wasn’t captured, when I believe I’ve made it pretty clear that your product does not perform as advertised. Perhaps we should be discussing an RMA and refund?
Ring CS: <conveniently disconnected while I changed screens to confirm starting and ending timestamps. When I reconnected, I got a new agent, who was once again, insistant that they could solve my problem…>
What a CF. Having run a help desk once upon a time in my career, I can tell you that Amazon has lowered the bar for staffing requirements, and prohibited any agent from deviating from the anointed script. If the product does not work as you planned, it’s your fault, not theirs. You can’t modify recording times. You can’t stream your video to your own repository. You cannot download videos in bulk, only one at a F’n time (really? That’d be so 1995!). And not applying the transcoding timestamp until the user downloads the video with their application keeps wiseguys like me from using a bulk downloader and nabbing my own videos. I can get them in bulk (because I know how), but without the timestamp, making them worthless.
This solution is proving to be a huge joke. For someone who graduated from Princeton University in 1986 with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, I cannot believe Jeff Bezos invested a dime in this company. Thank G-d he’s only the funding angel for Blue Origin (the aerospace startup he founded, with plans to begin commercial suborbital human spaceflight in the near future).
I know I’m regretting it, embarassed to admit I drank the Kool-Aid before I spent my money. Goes to show that even smart people make dumb mistakes. Should have gone with a self designed system, but Ring already cost me over $500 for this crap, plus the annual ‘plan’. On the bright side, if they want someone to help them fix this crap, I’m a consultant for hire.
John M. Schneider
M.Sc. Computer, Information and Network Security
DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Certified Information Security System Professional, specializing in Information System Security Engineering (CISSP-ISSEP)
Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)