• Report:  #1509285

Complaint Review: Circle Media - Portand Oregon

Reported By:
Disappointed Customer - Dalonega, Georgia, United States

Circle Media
1104 NW 15th Ave Suite 400 Portand, 97209 Oregon, United States
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I purchased the Circle Media Parental controls device to provide parental controls in our home.  This device is marketed as a device that provides filtering on any content coming through your router.  The benefit is supposed to be that it will detect any and all devices, including mobile devices on your wifi and allow you to set profiles and filter content, including things like youtube and facebook.

The first problem is with the setup instructions.  According to the little booklet I received, I was to download the app, login and follow the prompts.  I tried that and got the message "subscription has expired".  Since I had paid for a lifetime subscription, that didn't make sense.  I could not find any way around this so I went to the website and tried to find a support line.  It doesn't exist.  The company does not provide phone support.  So the only thing I could find was email support.  I sent an email and was told there was a chat line.  It turns out you have to click a bunch of things in support online and eventually, buried in there somewhere is a way to chat.  This is already looking to be bad if they have to hide how to talk to them.  Finally I got to a chat rep who sent me a canned response with a bunch of stuff to do. At that point, my decision was to return it.

After I calmed down a bit, I looked at his canned gobblegook and found how to trigger the setup in the app.  So I got it set up and was able to configure my child's Chromebook to filter stuff in the browser.

However, I also need the thing to block content on our phones, because this is a lifetime subscription and we plan on getting phones for our daughters.  I took my wife's phone, and tried to set up the system to block content there.  No dice.  Nothing is filtered out.  I tried a bunch of stuff to no avail. 

So I contacted chat again and explained the problem.  Apparently they know this is an issue, because immediately the rep had me change the mac address setting to not use Randomized Mac.  This already seems to be a problem because it would require me to change settings on the phone I am managing.  A savy teenager could definitely figure this out and bypass the setting.  But although this allowed filtering of browser content, it did not filter youtube or facebook. 

The rep did not seem to know how to resolve this.  Finally, they had me install the circle app mobile app on the device, and also delete cache and all data for facebook.  After fiddling around with that it finally was able to filter out facebook content.  My problem with this is it is NOT what is expected from this product.  It is marketed as a device that works with the router to filter out content.  Having to have direct access to mobile devices to fiddle with settings and download app to it, defeats the purpose.  There are plenty of systems out there that do this and dont cost 300+ bucks.

So I asked the rep if we can accomplish this without the manipulation of the mobile devices.  They tried but could not get it working.  I asked for instructions to return the item.  They could NOT provide this information.  The answer was that they would get back to me within 24-48 hours.  This of course is unacceptable since they also promintently market a 30 days no questions asked return policy.  Now they are stalling and delaying on the return.  I suspected at this point that they get return requests often and this was their way of stalling in the hopes of getting the customer to not return.  Of course, phone support for the same reason would be cost prohibitive because I bet their lines would be jammed packed.

I asked for this to be provided as soon as possible.  Three days later, I had not heard a peep from them.  I used the chat to inquire on my ticket for return.  The chat rep had no info other than they were waiting on the order department.  I insisted that this had to be resolved now.  I had waited three days and was not going to continue to wait on them to provide what they promised.  I was on the chat line for about 45 minutes, insisting for the chat rep to leave it open while she spoke to whoever needed to resolve this issue.  Finally I got an email from Lucy in the order department who asked me to send her two photos of the QR Code on the device, one with the number showing and one black out - more stalling and delaying.  After sending the email with photos, I finally got an email that they had refunded my purchase.  I now have to wait and check my bank for the return.

My experience with this company was pretty bad.  The product is seriously flawed and does not provide the service that is promised, especially with mobile devices.   In addition, there is no phone support.  Chat support is all you will get.  There is a possibility you may be able to schedule a call, but of course that is at their convenience not yours.  Then when it does not work and you request a refund you will have to jump through their hoops and deal with stall tactics to get that refund.  

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