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Call Kurtis Investigates: Expensive baby monitor switches to subscription model, parents are ticked

Expensive baby monitor switches to subscription model, parents are ticked
Expensive baby monitor switches to subscription model, parents are ticked 02:26

SACRAMENTO — First-time dad Geoff Mayfield spared no expense in buying the top-rated Miku Pro smart baby monitor. It uses sensors to track his son's real-time breathing and sleeping patterns.

"It was important to us to kind of have that peace of mind," Mayfield said. "You may not be able to see the child move and may not be able to know what's going on in there, but you can see there's a little breathing indicator at the bottom – like, okay, they're still breathing. We're good." 

The system sells for $399, and Mayfield says he bought it for a little less during Amazon Prime Day in July 2022. He found its sleeping logs especially helpful.

"It would track how long he slept, what time he fell asleep, and give us an estimation of 'this is how good of a night's sleep you got last night.' "

However, the company ran into financial problems. Innovative Health Monitoring took over Miku, and in mid-September, the company switched to a membership model. To access those same tracking features, owners like Mayfield would have to shell out $9.99 a month.

"It was super frustrating," Mayfield said. "It felt like robbery to me, honestly." 

Without the subscription, the device is essentially a camera, Mayfield said.

"That's it. Like, it's the technological equivalent to a $40 baby monitor," he said.

Other upset parents posted in online forums things like "This is unethical and infuriating."  One person compared it to buying a refrigerator, and a year later, "charging a subscription to keep your food cold."

Consumer Attorney Stuart Talley says if a company files for bankruptcy and another company buys just the assets, that new company is free to change the business model.

"It's one of these situations where you really should only buy products like this from companies that you trust, that are big companies that you don't think are going to go bankrupt one day," Talley said.

He says customers can try to guilt the new company into honoring the old terms. It's what Mayfield wants.

"I think that the right thing to do would be to grandfather in any customers they had prior to this October subscription rollout date," Mayfield said. "Anyone who bought the monitor prior to that date should get the subscription for free."

We repeatedly reached out to Innovation Health Monitoring. They never got back to us.

Planning for a second child, Mayfield hoped that baby could also benefit from his pricey investment.

"Unless they decide to do the right thing, well, we'll take our business elsewhere," he said.

We also reached out to Amazon, which sold him the device. They never got back to us.

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