During these pandemic times when people are staying at home and some workers are losing their jobs, a lot of brands are making their services or content available for free. But apparently we’ve come to the point where companies are passing on to their users the pinch they are feeling during these times. Wink has shocked users of their smart home devices as they announced that they will now be charging a monthly subscription fee or users will not be able to use their hardware.

Wink has been around since 2014 with its smart home hardware systems. You only had to pay a one-time fee for the devices and that already included cloud services. There were no hidden fees or anything. But now it looks like they are experiencing difficulties because of recent economic events even though there really was no specific explanation as to what part of their business has been affected.

All we know now is that if you want to continue using their smart home hardware as well as the platform that you use to connect other home gadgets, you will now have to pay a monthly fee of $4.99. What makes this news worse is the immediacy. You have to start subscribing by May 13 because all the devices will not work. This is such a short time for their users to prepare or to adjust to this new reality.

Of course users can choose to not pay the monthly fee. But that means of course they’ll have to say goodbye to their Wink devices and purchase other brands. Or if they’re using other brands, they’ll look for other platforms to use as a hub for these devices. But if you don’t want the hassle of having to do all that, then you’ll have no choice but to shell out $5 per month to keep your house smart.

While Wink says they had no choice but to start charging the monthly fee, the timing of it all, not to mention the timetable itself, has not endeared itself to the public. We’ll see in a few months if this gambit will keep them in business.