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  • FIRST POST
    • chris_n
    • By chris_n 13th Nov 17, 9:34 PM
    • 11Posts
    • 2Thanks
    chris_n
    Owl intuition con
    • #1
    • 13th Nov 17, 9:34 PM
    Owl intuition con 13th Nov 17 at 9:34 PM
    Owl have been selling online monitors for a number of years and have suddenly decided a subscription is needed. They say it has always been in the Ts&Cs but surely it is not ethical and is certainly outside of government guidelines. Until today there was no mention of subscription (other than buried in Ts&Cs) anywhere on the website. Their helpdesk also stated no subscription. Basically I have a heating control that I bought a year ago that is a brick unless I subscribe!
Page 1
    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 13th Nov 17, 10:29 PM
    • 1,661 Posts
    • 2,188 Thanks
    silverwhistle
    • #2
    • 13th Nov 17, 10:29 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Nov 17, 10:29 PM
    I'll have to go and have a look. Not seen anything coming up on mine (4 years old). Perhaps they changed the T&C?
    • Derham
    • By Derham 14th Nov 17, 1:47 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Derham
    • #3
    • 14th Nov 17, 1:47 PM
    Me too
    • #3
    • 14th Nov 17, 1:47 PM
    Yes, just received the same email yesterday asking for £20 for 2 years subscription.
    The terms and conditions at the moment say that they will give 3 months notice of any change but say that if you don't subscribe then it will be turned off on the 1st January 2018 - that's 1.5 months in my book.
    The principle of it is what grates now after 4 years of excellent service. They could change this at any time and I feel that it's just like being held hostage. At the moment I don't know if that means my heating and hot water is going to stop working in the New Year (middle of winter) or it will carry on 'as is' but not be able to change things.
    I'll start looking for a replacement straight away.
    • Mel Frank
    • By Mel Frank 14th Nov 17, 2:02 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Mel Frank
    • #4
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:02 PM
    That's Not all, they are broke
    • #4
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:02 PM
    Not only are they charging a subscription but the company is broke, this from a company check:
    OWL INTUITION LIMITED
    12 DEVONSHIRE DRIVE, CAMBERLEY, GU15 3UB
    ACTIVE 07885068
    Cash: £0 Net Worth:]£-66,040 Assets: £22.3k Liabilities: £26.8k

    Looks like even if you subscribe they could go under and the units will be useless.
    • Derham
    • By Derham 14th Nov 17, 2:24 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Derham
    • #5
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:24 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:24 PM
    Well spotted Mel. Which is a shame because the system has worked fine for me and I think is one of the best around. I've disconnected my gateway now to see how it works without an internet connection. It works ok when pressing the 'more heat' button but I don't know if it will turn on at the scheduled time. I should know this evening. Has any else tried this?
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 14th Nov 17, 2:28 PM
    • 30,306 Posts
    • 18,123 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #6
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:28 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:28 PM
    Just seen the email

    I knew it was one of the risk at the time but liked the hot water control and realy like it fort he time I have had it
    (subscriptions kick in or they go bust)

    I also knew I should have reverse engineered the network protocol just in case.

    Lets hope someone has and able to share if they do go bust or the company comes clean and publishes it so people can continue to use their hardware.

    here is the companies house link
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07885068

    EDIT: seems there is a OWL protocol spec last update 2014
    https://theowl.zendesk.com/hc/en-gb/articles/201284603-Multicast-UDP-API-Information
    Last edited by getmore4less; 14-11-2017 at 2:43 PM.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 14th Nov 17, 3:01 PM
    • 30,306 Posts
    • 18,123 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #7
    • 14th Nov 17, 3:01 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Nov 17, 3:01 PM
    The heating controls said there could be a subscription.
    IIRC it might have been on the boxes, I still have them somewhere.
    • Mel Frank
    • By Mel Frank 14th Nov 17, 3:09 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Mel Frank
    • #8
    • 14th Nov 17, 3:09 PM
    What we need
    • #8
    • 14th Nov 17, 3:09 PM
    What we need is a wizkid who can produce a simple GUI for windows to allow changes to the schedules and simple monitoring.
    • Derham
    • By Derham 14th Nov 17, 4:46 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Derham
    • #9
    • 14th Nov 17, 4:46 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Nov 17, 4:46 PM
    Well, my heating came on at the correct time after disconnecting from the internet. That means that the timer functions are stored in the devices somewhere (probably the gateway but I could be wrong). Not having the internet connected means that the ability to change settings and view daily/weekly data will be lost but it should carry on working (unless they nobble it that is).
    • Mel Frank
    • By Mel Frank 14th Nov 17, 4:57 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Mel Frank
    Summer Time
    The question will be do the sensor do the DST, if not, come March schedules will be out by an hour. I'm looking round for a replacement, Yet to find one with the same functionality at a decent price. Most don't do hot water temperature control. Will probably go back to a manual clock on hot water and grab a second hand Hive stat of ebay.
    • Mel Frank
    • By Mel Frank 14th Nov 17, 8:48 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Mel Frank
    No dst
    A friend of mine just got this statement from OWL
    "The room thermostat and tank sensor will hold their schedules indefinitely. DST will not be controlled however. "
    So no DST, units useless after DST needed, unless you pay their demand we are screwed
    • chris_n
    • By chris_n 14th Nov 17, 10:35 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    chris_n
    You also can't change any of the settings, i.e. temperatures, timers etc.
    They are also ignoring my questions about what is going on and how hiding things like this in Ts&Cs is outside of Government guidelines. You can see where the www should go > gov.uk/guidance/unfair-terms-explained-for-businesses-full-guide
    Quote under the heading Common myths about contract terms
    “You can hide things in the contractual small print”
    You must make it easy for customers to read the important terms in a contract and highlight anything that could come as a surprise or may have a significant impact on them. Otherwise the term may be unfair and unenforceable.
    Last edited by chris_n; 14-11-2017 at 10:43 PM.
    • ij21
    • By ij21 15th Nov 17, 7:53 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ij21
    When I had my solar panels fitted by Hannergy (based in IKEA) OWLintuition was fitted to monitor the system. Early last year after receiving an email from OWL (their webshop page is no longer) I bought a thermostat and relay and added them to the system myself. Cost me £100. It was a nightmare configuring them and when finished the system dropped out continually to the point that when British Gas offered me HIVE after servicing my boiler I cut my losses and had it fitted. After receiving that email I suspected that they were finished and that it was a cynical perhaps illegal attempt to rescue the business. If it’s going bust maybe it’s because its crap and Hive are doing for it. This attempt to get this amount of money off customers is a disgrace and you may be throwing good money after bad. I don’t know what I am going to do now with my solar monitoring system. Any ideas would be welcome.
    • chris_n
    • By chris_n 15th Nov 17, 8:40 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    chris_n
    Just to be clear, the webshop is still there and fully functional.
    Since I received the email they have changed the homepage and the support pages to reflect the change to a subscription model.
    I don't object to paying for a service but do object to the fact that this was hidden away in the Ts&Cs. There are still numerous outlets selling these on the net that state no subscription is required.
    • ij21
    • By ij21 15th Nov 17, 8:59 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ij21
    Ok. I just followed the link from their original email which did not work
    I agree that perhaps a very small charge may be appropriate, but the way they are doing it is blackmail. Equally - none of this was explained to me when I signed on!
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 15th Nov 17, 9:26 AM
    • 30,306 Posts
    • 18,123 Thanks
    getmore4less
    looking a bit further

    OWL is the holding company for the real one behind the products

    2 save energy Limited
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05626628

    looked to be solvent in the 2015 accounts(net equity £52k), loads of finance juggling through 2016 as a lot was due through 2016, with the 2016 accounts showing(negative equity of £36k).
    P&L : 2015 £14k, 2016 (£74k)

    That's a big turnaround.

    Dec 16 they changed registered address from the manufacturing place in Basingstoke to a private house in Camberley.

    note the director departures looks like Business development director and sales director bailed out in 2016
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/6kqa9TJkiJwLHdvLiLz4XXiRy9A/appointments
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/M07a6K1T_9kqtV5UZLJJVSeAHIU/appointments

    The later moving onto a new product EcoPilot.

    then there is the Telepure Limited which they say developed the cloud platform

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06038597
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 15th Nov 17, 9:46 AM
    • 30,306 Posts
    • 18,123 Thanks
    getmore4less
    AS long as they don't cripple the devices and the network protocol is known it will be possible to change the DST.


    When I researched smart options it was clear to me there was a potential for subscription.
    I like the product enough to put the effort into keeping it working

    Also knew the risk of them not surviving was VERY high as the Hive, Nest options were on massive advertising budgets, with BG behind Hive and the current heating control manufacturers that could go smart very quickly and have the support of the plumbing industry(plumbers like their brands) the little boy new entrant had no chance if they did not have a get bought out strategy for the platform.
    • Alpha 5
    • By Alpha 5 15th Nov 17, 2:04 PM
    • 36 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Alpha 5
    I got my heating controller for free a few years back when First Utility were doing a customer trial. I certainly won't be paying the subscription though.

    I've found it quite temperamental, some times it wouldn't switch on, other times it wouldn't switch off - I woke up to find the house a sweltering 27° earlier in the year. The other half will be pleased though - she's always struggled to work it.
    • Mel Frank
    • By Mel Frank 16th Nov 17, 7:04 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Mel Frank
    I've Decided
    Well I think I've decided after searching the web etc.
    The company is now run by a one man band,
    The business is now being run from a private house.
    All other Directors left last year about the time the debts went up
    The technology is way behind the competition,
    The others don't charge for Internet access.
    The company had over £66k of debts in the last company accounts.
    They Haven't released or updated any software or hardware for ages.
    Same old web site, same old APP.

    For me, it's time to ditch Owl and get some up to date gear, I need stability in my home control.
    I'll take the hit for happiness and peace of mind
    Last edited by Mel Frank; 16-11-2017 at 8:50 PM.
    • ij21
    • By ij21 17th Nov 17, 6:16 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ij21
    I think that may be a good decision Mel. It’s effectively what I did when I had OWL removed and Hive installed. You have to have full control of your heating and the constant dropping out was leaving me cold at times. I live in an old house and it’s necessary to boost the system. It seemed to drop out at the same time every day which I think would indicate a bug in their software. When I got a bit snotty on Twitter they blocked me. I’ve been in touch with Hannergy who supplied my PV system, I am the first to contact them. Of course they deny any responsibility. Hannergy say OWL will switch off services to people who dont pay. If they aren’t doomed I would be very surprised!
    Last edited by ij21; 17-11-2017 at 6:22 AM.
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