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Monday, May 1, 2017

Is the Nuzzle Collar a Scam?

I've been an enthusiastic supporter of Nuzzle and their incredible smartcollar for a few months now, but things have changed and I am now seriously concerned that the whole thing is a big scam. Is the Nuzzle collar really as great as they claim? Can it really do everything advertised? Is the company being honest with their customers. In a word, no.

Open and Honest

In the beginning, everything looked great. The Nuzzle collar sounded amazing. It was going to have highly accurate GPS tracking, alerts when your dog left a specified safety zone, a virtual leash to let you know when your dog strayed too far, activity monitoring, and temperature alerts. 

It was the temperature alert feature that really got my attention. Still, I had some questions, so I reached out to the Nuzzle team. I ended up spending an hour on the phone with one of the developers. By the end I was convinced this was going to be the greatest smartcollar, the yardstick by which other smartcollars would be measured. 

When I ordered my collars in January, the shipping date given was in February. When that date rolled around, I received an email explaining how a manufacturing flaw was going to delay shipping by a couple of weeks. We were given a very specific timeline as to when they would be leaving the factory. The collars were supposed to ship out on March 13th.

Hiding Something?

The promised shipping date came and went, and eventually we got an extremely vague update. There were some minor software issues that needed to be addressed, but the team was working hard to get them fixed and would give us a shipping date as soon as they were able.

That was well over a month ago. No details or further updates have been given. Attempts to contact the company have been met with either generic responses that they would be shipping within a week or two, or no response at all.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Look, I understand that product development is a rocky road. I understand that Nuzzle is supposed to be breaking new ground. What I don't understand is why they continue to aggressively promote their product when they have yet to ship any of them to anyone beyond their original IndieGoGo backers. They are busily doing giveaways and sweepstakes. They are aggressively advertising on social media. They still have not shipped a single collar.

Most disturbing is the prominent claim on their website that "new orders ship in approximately ten days". That claim has been up for weeks. Multiple people have messaged the company via Facebook, asking them to remove this blatant falsehood from the website, but it remains up. Nuzzle is lying to sucker in new customers, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying.

Nothing But Disappointment

The limited reviews available from the original product backers reveal some disturbing details about the Nuzzle collar. You won't see those on the website though, as the company is heavily censoring both reviews on their own site and any negative comments on their Facebook page. They don't currently appear to have a lot of audience engagement on social media, aside from angry customers asking where the collars are.

Fortunately, the company cannot censor the Amazon reviews for the product, which are universally bad. The battery doesn't even last one day, the boundary notifications are a joke, and the temperature monitoring was an outright bogus claim. The comments from the IndieGoGo backers aren't any better. The Android app has nothing but bad reviews, and the iTunes store isn't much better.

Buyer Beware

I finally asked for a refund for the three collars I ordered when the social media team spent an entire week claiming there would be an email update with a shipping timeline either "today or tomorrow". That was over a week ago. There is still no update.

They delete negative comments on their Facebook page very quickly, but if you're quick you can read some before they delete them. Some people placed their orders and gave Nuzzle their money well over a year ago. To date, nobody has received a Nuzzle collar except the original IndieGoGo backers.

The Nuzzle website and Facebook are designed to deceive you into thinking you are buying a finished product that is all ready to ship. When I bought mine, I believe I was just waiting for the manufacturing process to be complete. However, it turns out that Nuzzle is still very much a product under development. It is by no means a finished product. It is not a functioning smartcollar. 

When you give this company your money, you are not purchasing a smartcollar, you are funding product development for a project that may never be finished. Like Buddy and DogTelligent, this amazing dog tech project appears to be slowly sinking. If you purchased a Nuzzle collar, I advise you to get a refund quickly before the company goes under. No matter how much you want a Nuzzle collar, please be aware that it is, in fact, too good to be true.

13 comments:

  1. I think you said "The collars were supposed to ship out on May 13th." When I think you meant "March". :-) Just thought I'd let you know in case you can edit.

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  2. Nuzzle is a scam that preys on the worst fears of responsible dog owners. Don't give them any more money than they have already taken from us. #hellonuzzle

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  3. I too am worried that this is a scam. The only thing preventing me from requesting my refund immediately is the connection Nuzzle has to the development company Ammunition. Ammunition is a legitimate developer who actually lists Nuzzle on their website. That connection alone is making me think that this is legit. I've thought about contacting Ammunition to ask them about Nuzzle, but haven't done so yet.
    I'm worried that all of the negative comments on the Facebook page, etc, will cause a mass exodus of customers, which will pull the company down.
    I've been involved in tech product development in the past, and it's very much a matter of "we've almost got it!" and then the next day, you find that you broke something else in the process of repairing the first thing. And the last thing you want to do is release something to the public that harms their pets, or worse.
    I really really hope that I haven't flushed $200 down the drain.
    I'm hanging in there.

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    1. I have contacted Ammunition to ask them about Nuzzle, but did not receive a reply.

      Negative comments on their Facebook page won't kill a good company with a good product. What will kill them is the lack of communication and the shady censorship they have engaged in, which is the entire reason they have negative comments to begin with.

      While I can understand the trials and tribulations of tech development, there is a right and a wrong way to go about it. Falsely advertising features your product doesn't have, and selling a project in development as a finished product are outright dishonest.

      That's all the legions of disappointed Nuzzle customers ever wanted from the company, honesty.

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    2. After waiting since Jan for my paid-for collar I demanded a refund. I got it. They booted me from their page. Their customer interface is deplorable. If they cannot act ethically now what makes anyone think they will ever act ethically. They are technically marketing a device that doesn't exist. Get your money back now.

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  4. So it looks like a big part of the Nuzzle is to funnel customers into buying pet insurance via the app. www.ammunitiongroup.com/work/nuzzle/

    Also, Ammuntion group works with a lot of companies, so they will probably be able to survive saddling themselves with one bad bet. Hopefully the other people Ammuntion works with are less shady in their marketing/publicity/spinning tactics.

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  5. I ordered a Nuzzle collar in Jan 2017. In Jan 2017 they emailed me in Feb and said they were working on improving battery life and would ship by the end of the month. In Mar I got another email saying they were working hard to improve function and would ship in two week. In mid-Mar I got a Facebook PM that there was delay and it would ship any minute. Two weeks later I contacted them and got the standard, "We are confident we will ship in a week." In April I contacted them again, same message. In late April I demanded my money back. They booted me from their FB page and two weeks later I got my refund.

    If it's a scam it's a very poor one. They are simply incompetent and they lie.

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  6. This product is a JOKE!!! After waiting 5 months after ordering to receive it, the small was too small for my puppy because she had grown in the time it took me to receive it. And if your pet's neck size is between 11-14 inches then you are SOL because the small only goes up to 11 and the large starts at 14. I used the attachment it came with to attach it to her regular collar and I tried it out for a week. The battery lasts 8 hours max. It sometimes will not connect to the next battery when you change it, despite the fact that it is fully charged, and you can't get any updated data. And there is NO accuracy to it whatsoever! One day it showed my puppy had visited at least 2 different counties in one day spanning hundreds of miles (she was with me all day at home). Today, again with me all day at home, showed she had been across the highway, down the block, over at the neighbor's somehow bypassing their barbed wire fence! And right now as she lay by my side, about 10 feet from the base unit with a fully charged battery, it says she is across the highway again. And there is no way to clear the screen of all of these inaccurate locations and paths that she didn't take in order to start a fresh map. My rating: 0/5. I'd rather pay a monthly service fee than have a completely bogus product that doesn't work!

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  7. I've not had this experience. The collar took a while to arrive, which was disappointing, but now that it's here, I think it's great. Works as described for me. And yes the battery life is about 8 to 9 hours, but they've been upfront about the fact that firmware updates will improve the battery life. I think this is almost always going to be the case when you're an early adopter of new technology, when it is a race between competing developers. I personally, have a very high tolerance for the hiccups that occur when you're an early adopter, largely in part because I've been on the other side of the equation, creating new technology. The encouraging thing I see about this company is that they are following through on fixing what is broken.
    It's tough, because you've got all these people screaming at you "hurry up! Hurry up!", and then they're mad when you haven't tested it to the nth degree and bugs are found. And for me, they're just bugs. I don't have a dud. I have a collar on my dog that is working the way it is advertised (with some bugs).
    I find this blog very helpful. Hopefully my 2 cents here is helpful as well?

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    1. Yes, thank you for sharing! I definitely understand the bugs that come with developing technology. My biggest issue with Nuzzle is really the way it has been advertised and sold. I'm baffled as to why they would advertise 5 days of battery life when they only had 8 hours. I think they would be treated a lot kinder by their customers if they were honest and up front about the level of product development.

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  8. I was shocked when I heard this news. My friend bought a new one for her dog. But she isn't happy with this product.

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