My Experience with Coop Tender Automatic Chicken Door

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jenny8675309, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. jenny8675309

    jenny8675309 Hatching

    Jul 5, 2015
    I thought I discovered the holy grail of chicken doors when we decided to add an automatic door to our coop and I came across "The Coop Tender" in my search. This particular door actually offered wifi and the ability to get notifications from my door....don't get excited...that's where the good news ends (at the concept).

    We ordered the door on August 17th and were told we could expect it in 2 weeks. After 3 weeks we began making phone calls to inquire about the doors whereabouts. Beware, calls are routed to an answering service for the company who were never able to provide any real information and could only deliver a message to the company who may or may not get back to me days later with a generic email. After a month of stalling, Coop Tender finally gave us a tracking number...for a package they admitted they hadn't shipped yet and a number fed ex said didn't exist.

    In the meantime, all chicken coop building plans were on hold, my carpenter went on to his next job, and my coop became prey to a mouse infestation due to the opening where a door was supposed to be.

    Frustrated and feeling totally jerked around, we finally cancelled the order and filed a Paypal dispute to get our money back. The day AFTER we cancelled the order and filed the dispute is the day this company finally decided to ship.

    Things didn't get any better once the door finally arrived....well beyond the promised deliver date. The wifi was constantly going on and off line (which coop tender blamed on my internet service that functions perfectly fine in and outdoors with absolutely everything else). Then I started getting notifications the door was open when it wasn't! Once, around 3am I received such a notification and got out of bed in my pajamas to check the welfare of my chickens to find the notification to be incorrect and the door was actually closed. After several "software updates" on Coop Tenders part, MY wifi suddenly improved and the door was no longer giving me incorrect messages...just repeated messages. After more, "software fixes", I wasn't getting as many incorrect notifications, but was frequently getting repeat notifications or no notifications at all. I would like to add here that I am above average tech saavy...I have built and maintained several websites for more than one business/organization.

    Just when the wifi and software issues began to operate at a somewhat functional level (not perfect, just acceptable), the door mechanics started acting up. One night we hear this horrible noise just outside the kitchen window where our chicken coop is. I go outside in the darkness (something I had become pretty accustomed to with this "automatic" coop door by now) to inspect. I discovered the motor was continuing to attempt to run and close the door even though it was already shut. There was no stopping it other than to turn off the power and attempt to contact Coop Tender the next day and hope they'd return my call in under a week...something I already knew I couldn't hold my breath over. In the meantime, when I turned the power back on the next morning, my door would not open. When Coop Tender finally got back to me, the man suggested the problem could be one of 2 things, both of which required that I partially disambe the door to diagnose and fix myself. He also informed me the door wouldn't open at this point because it must have come off it's tracks and advised me to force it back on...I know, doesn't sound "healthy" to my door, right?? To my surprise, the door actually closed on it's own that night. If the problem was either one of the things Coop Tender suggested, it apparently fixed itself without me attempted to demonstrate my lack of knowledge in either electronics or coop door fabrication (both good reasons why I paid someone else big bucks to do BOTH these things!). Things were okay for a few days until the same thing happened again. Coop Tender's explanation now was that when the door was built it was constructed improperly --the magnet that tells when the door is shut should be NO MORE than 1/4" away from the other magnet and ours was substantially more than that. The suggested fix?? For US, to get out our tools and nail/screw a piece of wood to the right side of the door in such a way to FORCE it to the left so the magnets will be closer together since it wasn't constructed properly to begin with. My father always said "measure twice, cut once"...what was he thinking when you can just force a $300 door back into place with shims and nails and hope it holds up over the years. When I inquired about the possibility of a refund at this point, that's when communication stopped.

    Back to PayPal for assistance (thank God for PayPal). Since the first dispute was "resolved" when Coop Tender provided tracking numbers and proved shipment (even though they didn't ship until AFTER the order was canceled and the case was filed), I had to open a new case. This time it was for "item not as described". After waiting to the very. last. day. (10 days later to be exact) to respond to my complaint, Coop Tender's counter to PayPal was "we do not accept returns on merchandise". Luckily for me, PayPal disagreed with that defense and took my side. Today is December 5th, 2015. I was advised to ship the door back and I will be receiveing a refund. YES, I did say December. Flashback to the beginning of this ordeal, I ordered the door in AUGUST. I was been screwed around with this long. What should have been a happy hen house before fall hit is still an ordeal heading into winter. Now, I have to get out in the cold, snow and ice to remove this door, ship it back, wait for my refund, buy a new door, reconstruct the door opening that was custom designed for THIS door to accomodate a new door to finally protect my coop. This has been the biggest hassle ever!! We were more than patient over and over and over again and more patient than anyone should ever be asked to be. I actually hated that we had to finally give up and throw in the towel after all we had been through to have to go back to square one. But, when the issues keep coming and you're asked to refabricate your own door, you've got to consider that if this is what's happening right out of the gate, what am I going to be looking at in a year from now...when I don't have PayPal to protect us. I'm happy, but angry, to say after 4 months of WASTING OUR TIME and dealing with this unending CRAP, I am finally able to move on and am hoping for a better outcome with a different door (again, thank God for PayPal).
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  2. lynnehd

    lynnehd Songster

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.

    Oh no. What an ordeal. Thank you for sharing, as I am toying with the idea of a second auto door. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  4. jenny8675309

    jenny8675309 Hatching

    Jul 5, 2015
    Sounds like some of their experiences were similar (poor communication and delivery time) and some without problems SO FAR. After all we were through, this is defintely not a company I could ever recommend or trust. Like I said, with this many issues right out of the gate, I can only imagine what additional could go wrong as more time passes. That was what caused us to finally give up after so much time lack of trust and confidence in the company and it's product.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  5. Why Did The Chicken Cross

    Why Did The Chicken Cross Chirping

    May 23, 2010
    North Carolina
    Well it wasn't because they didn't have your number.....Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?

    Sorry I couldn't resist. I just finally saw your user name.:D.

    A simple thing to see if the door is open or closed is to get one of those WiFi internet cameras from Amazon. For around $50. Plus they have infrared (see in the dark). You do need household current although I think you can do power over Ethernet with some of those cameras.
  6. cooptender

    cooptender In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2015
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Greetings fellow chicken lovers.

    I want to apologize for any of the inconvenience our product and service caused. We strive to provide the highest quality products and excellent customer support.

    I would like to take this opportunity mention out that we introduced our door, Coop Tender in 2014. After introduction, we experienced relatively high defect rates (in the 10% range). Many defects upon delivery were incurred by the shipping process, which we have managed to resolve by implementing a number of changes to how the product is packed.

    Throughout 2015, we quickly reacted to defect reports by reviewing and updating door designs, electronics designs as well as firmware code updates. You can read about the design and product enhancements which we have incorporated into our product on our blog post from December of 2015:

    Our in-house production capacity quickly became overloaded due to the popularity of our door. We also encountered delivery delays on some of the over 200 parts which go into a Coop Tender door.

    We contracted with a circuit board manufacturer in Texas for our electronics assembly towards the end of 2015. It was important for us to use a U.S. based service provider to ensure high quality electronics production of our chicken coop doors. This helped to increase quality, reduce defect rates and reduce the amount of time necessary to build each door (from 7 hours to about 5).

    We still custom manufacture and assemble each door here in western Pennsylvania with a very limited staff. We don’t make very much profit on each door. Our goal is to provide our chicken coop door at a competitive price so that our customers can reap the benefits of advanced technology.

    I realize that we have made some mistakes along the way. We have done all that we can to learn from those mistakes and always do our best to ensure that our customers are happy.

    We are chicken lovers too. We have our Coop Tender doors on our chicken coops for over a year now and they are still operating.

    We hope that more customers post their experiences with our door as we know that the vast majority of our customers in the US, Canada and Europe are very happy with their Coop Tender automatic doors and Internet accessories.

    Thanks for listening.
    Kind Regards,
    Jim Miller - Owner
    1 person likes this.
  7. BY Bob

    BY Bob Songster

    Jan 1, 2016
    Hershey, PA

    I have recently installed an Arlo battery powered camera in my run. It takes no wires. Comes with the base station which attaches to your router. Set up took me 5 minutes. Now my whole family logs in and checks up on the chickens. If you don't have power at your coop, this would work to monitor your door. It has a motion detector and can alert you if something triggers it to turn on. You can check the door without having to leave your bed from your phone or tablet.
  8. 1nightrain

    1nightrain Hatching

    Jun 23, 2016
    i am experiencing the very same thing, now their website is down, it seems they make an awesome product but are terrible business people. i told them i need this door at a certain time before i go on vacation but they tried to tell me they would have to charge extra to pay for overtime. communication is terrible with these people, its really a shame cause like i said the product looks awesome. I haven't gotten it yet to actually put my hands on, guess we will see
  9. basssy

    basssy Hatching

    Nov 13, 2016
    Wish I'd seen this thread before I bought my cooptender in the spring of 2016. Almost the exact same problems except I can't reach anyone at the company. Just as the cold weather is arriving the door electronics are fried. Can't get the display to stop blinking. I don't think this think was made for the outdoors or any wet weather.

  10. Buckethead71

    Buckethead71 Hatching

    Jan 9, 2017
    Unreliable, horrible customer service, constantly malfunctioning. We've experience stranded birds in run and trapped birds in the coop due to constant malfunctions. Backyard Birds message board and other off the grid website also has many negative reviews for very same issues we experienced. I didn't do enough research before purchasing. For the cost you would assume a better product.

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