Ars Technica is reporting that Charter—also known as Spectrum—is shutting down its home-security service, leaving customers with useless hardware.
According to the report, Charter is shutting down its security service February 5. Some users have spent hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars purchasing Charter’s cameras and sensors. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a good way to migrate to other services or platforms.
In theory, since Charter devices “rely on the Zigbee specification that allows multi-vendor interoperability for smart-home products,” they should be able to be used with another vendor. According to the Zigbee Alliance, however, there’s no guarantee devices will work with other vendors, even if they are factory-reset.
When Ars reached out to Charter, the company says its “lifestyle devices,” the term it uses for thermostats and lighting devices, “will work on hubs that support those devices and can be defaulted and re-paired with that hub.” Security devices, on the other hand, are a different matter. While lifestyle devices can be integrated into other systems, “that isn’t the case with the security devices such as window and door alarms, which account for the majority of Spectrum Home Security devices,” Charter told Ars. “Other home security providers have their own security/alarm devices, software and certifications and those systems wont accept a security device that they haven’t tested or certified.”
Customers who reached out to Charter to ask for a refund, or for a credit toward they service bills, were denied. Given the number of people being left out in the cold over Charter’s decision, it’s safe to say the company may have a hard time convincing customers to trust it if/when it decides to branch into other businesses.