Categories: Small Dog Safety-Published On: December 17, 2023-

1567 Words, 7 Minute Read. A review of our experience using the Fi collar for small dogs. We discuss the realities of comfort, tracking, and customer service.

My mission is to help small dogs live long, happy, and healthy lives through providing educational content to their human parents. To support these efforts, this page may contain affiliate links allowing me to earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Karen Lena Izzo, The Small Dog Rules

The Promise of the Fi Collar for Small Dogs

Red Havanese wearing Fi collar next to text asking whether the collar is a good fit for small dogs

As a dedicated (okay, overprotective) small dog mom, I’m always open to technology that enhances the safety and wellbeing of our small pups, Phoebe and Scout. 

That’s how I happened upon the possibility of using the Fi collar for small dogs. 

I found their updated technology, which they claim to be light and comfortable for dogs of all sizes, a major selling point. With the promise of tracking their activity and offering peace of mind, especially when leaving them in the care of someone new, the Fi collar seemed like a dream solution. And, I love Fi’s collaboration with “approved” collar vendors like The Foggy Dog, which would allow me to select lighter-weight, thinner collars appropriate for little canines. 

Fi’s heavily advertised 30-day money-back guarantee gave me a safety net, as well, with nearly every page of their website promising “Free Shipping. Try Risk-Free.” 

Key Takeaways

  • My Concerns About Comfort: Despite its claims of being light and comfortable, I found the Fi collar to be heavy and uncomfortable, particularly for my fine-boned, small dog, Scout. It was fine, however, for her twelve-pound sister, Phoebe.
  • Inaccurate Tracking Performance: I experienced significant inaccuracies with the Fi collar’s tracking. It often showed my dogs on divergent paths even when they were right next to each other and failed to accurately track their real-time location.
  • My Struggle with the Return Process: The return process was complex and far from the advertised “risk-free” experience. It took multiple attempts and escalations on my part to initiate the return. And, I had to pay for return shipping.
  • Frustrating Communication with Fi: I faced delays and a lack of effective response from Fi’s customer service. My repeated requests for assistance through social media and email were often met with generic, unhelpful replies.
  • Challenges in Canceling the Subscription: Canceling the GPS tracking subscription was unclear and complicated, leading me to intervene with my credit card company to avoid further charges.
  • Varied Feedback from Other Small Dog Owners: In my conversations with other small dog owners, I received mixed reviews about the Fi collar—many positive, but just as many echoed my negative experiences.
  • My Advice to Potential Buyers: I advise anyone considering the Fi collar to thoroughly research and weigh the customer service quality and product’s suitability for for their particular small dog before making a purchase. Maybe the company is going through some personnel issues right now, as many businesses are. They may well improve in coming months. And the tracking issues may just be unique to our area. The product itself is very well-made and looks like it could survive anything a dog could dish out.

To Be Fair and Balanced

My review of using Fi collars for small dogs, laid out below, serves as a warning to small pup owners thinking of trying it. To be fair to the company, I reached out to several small dog Facebook groups to which I belong, asking for others’ experiences. As a result, I spoke with multiple small dog owners who LOVE their Fi collar and say it works beautifully for them. 

But I heard from just as many with experiences very similar to mine. So, when making your own decision, please do additional research. Ask around and review current insights on using the Fi collar for small dogs. The company does seem to be evolving the device, and perhaps they will sort out what I perceive to be major lapses in consumer support. 

First Impressions and Initial Use

Close up of Fi GPS device on pink collar being held on human palm

When the Fi collars arrived, my excitement soon turned to concern, especially regarding Scout. Despite her 12-pound muscular frame, she’s quite fine-boned, with a delicate neck. The weight of the device was more substantial than I anticipated. Would it be too heavy for her? We put it on, and Scout didn’t seem to object. However, the device clearly interfered with her comfort when cuddling or just lazing around the house. The unbending metal edges and impressive construction are wonderful, if you’re a bigger dog with a thick neck. 

But for Scout? The steel device seemed to poke and prod her. It made ME uncomfortable just looking at her. 

And then came the real test: the accuracy of the tracking. Both girls, sporting their new tech, were supposedly ready to have their movements mapped with precision. 

Yet, the reality was far from it.

The Fi device, in our experience, struggled mightily with accuracy. Both Phoebe and Scout would be right beside me, yet the app showed them on divergent paths, sometimes even bizarrely cutting through neighbors’ yards. Clearly, something wasn’t right. Of course, it’s possible you may have a much better experience than we did. We may just live in an area with poor satellite reception.

Graphic of how GPS collar tracking works

The Decision to Return

While I had high hopes for this safety tracker, using the Fi collar for small dogs wasn’t meeting our needs.

The tracking inaccuracies were too significant to overlook. And, in my mind, the tech is still just too heavy for more delicate small dogs.

So, less than a third of the way through our 30-day return window, I hopped on my email, planning to initiate a return.

But this is where my journey with the Fi collar veered even more off-track than the GPS.

Returning items is a process we’re all familiar with; it’s usually straightforward and user-friendly. Not this time. While I’m all for supporting businesses, and I recognize some consumers abuse return systems, here I was the one who felt abused.

In my mind, the experience with Fi was unnecessarily complex and consumer-unfriendly. It was almost as though they erected barriers to legitimate returns. The process was fraught with challenges, far removed from the usual “click and return” ease I’m used to.

And, I am not alone. A brief search of Fi collar reviews shows hundreds of consumers complaining about the customer service and tracking.

The Fi Collar Return – A System As Off-track as the GPS

Returning this Fi GPS collar became a lesson in patience and persistence, far from the straightforward process implied by the company’s “try risk free” marketing messages.  

I began the return process on November 29, clearly stating my reasons: the collars were too heavy for my delicate, small dog, Scout, and the tracking was inaccurate, often showing the dogs on different routes despite being together. I expected a prompt and straightforward response, but I received no response. 

When I emailed again a day later, someone did get back to me. But they weren’t giving me any information on the return. Instead, they gave me homework: answer this litany of questions (the ones I’d already answered for them in the first email).

I took a deep breath and answered their questions again. And again, my email received no response. 

Social Media Outreach

Screenshot of conversation on Facebook with Fi as described in text

In my efforts to return a product to Fi, I encountered significant delays and ineffective responses. 

After a week without answers, I took to Fi’s Facebook page to express my frustration about the difficulty in getting help with the return. Each time I posted, Fi responded with an apology and repeatedly advised me to email their support team for urgent attention. 

Despite following their instructions and sending multiple emails, my requests received no response, leading me to post again on Facebook. Fi kept apologizing and asking me to email them again, which I then would do, to no avail. I only received a detailed response after I publicly expressed my disappointment and indicated I would involve outside agencies. 

This long-awaited reply came several days later, with Fi’s Customer Success team stepping in and apologizing for the delay due to high volume. They finally agreed to process my return only after I had made several attempts and escalated the issue.

Finally, The Return Instructions

Fi’s instructions have what I’d call an unfriendly tone, as though somehow a customer is trying to get away with something. And I hope that hasn’t been the case for them. 

But the worst part? Forget about the “no risk” “try it out!” attitude on their website and ads. Nope. It turns out they also expect customers to cover return shipping costs. 

Oh, and you have to write a “return permission” code number on the outside of the package. I found the process overly complicated and, frankly, almost punitive. 

This experience with returning the Fi collar for small dogs was a stark contrast to the initial excitement and ease of purchase. It highlighted the need for companies not only to focus on the quality of their products but also on the efficiency and empathy of their customer service and return processes.

Humorous graphic of return to sender with list of items, including first born and blood type

Canceling the Subscription

As if the drama of returning the actual collars wasn’t enough, I also had to cancel the GPS tracking subscription. Like the hardware return, this experience was not easy. 

While I had initiated the cancellation through the app as instructed, I didn’t receive any confirmation that they’d actually processed my cancellation. This lack of confirmation concerned me, as the app still appeared active, leaving me uncertain about the status of my subscription.

Facing ambiguity and unwilling to risk unexpected charges, I took matters into my own hands. I went to my credit card company and severed the connection to Fi. This step was a precaution to ensure that we would incur no further charges, reflecting the lengths I had to go to for peace of mind. It’s a step I believe most consumers wouldn’t expect to take.

Wrap-Up

This ordeal with using the Fi collar for small dogs is one I wouldn’t want others to stumble into. It seems like such an easy invitation: “try risk-free.” But if you value your time and your money, I’d argue their slogan needs reworking.

If you’re using a GPS tracker for small dogs, and you love it, I’d love to hear. Leave a comment below!

And, if you’re interested in more information on safety gear for small dogs, you might like Are You Using A Dangerous Car Harness for Your Pup?

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  1. Elizabeth Ball December 17, 2023 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Thank you for your evaluation of the Fi collar.
    I am sorry that you (and Scout) had to suffer through the experience,but I am thankful to know that quality control and customer service may not be top rated.
    Gratefully yours~e

    • Karen Izzo December 17, 2023 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Thanks so much for the comment, Elizabeth! I hope the company can improve their service. The idea is wonderful, and the product itself would be great for a larger dog who lives in an area with strong signals. Unfortunately, that’s not us :). Enjoy the day!