An open letter to my $4,070 on Day 1004 of its captivity


#1

Dear $4,070,

I do not know if you will be allowed to see this in the interest-bearing bank account in which you are being held, but I hope you are well.

It is now 1004 days since you began your captivity. You’ve now been held 2¼ times as long as the Iran hostages. So much has happened since you left. David Bowie and Gene Wilder died. John Boehner isn’t Speaker of the House anymore. You wouldn’t believe who’s president. No, it’s not her.

I have lost track of how many times your captors have told me your ordeal would end soon. Today they pushed it out another three months to September 30, 2018. If that were true, you’d be held there for about as long as the Korean War lasted, but I don’t believe it; if there’s one thing I have learned about your captors in these long months, it’s that they can’t be trusted. Remember when they said they would begin shipping before the end of 2015? Remember when they said I’d be getting a $4,005 discount over the eventual retail price? Remember when I deferred my laser order last September and they said the filter would be ready by the end of the month? None of it was true.

Like anyone in this situation, I find myself asking: why? But they won’t tell me. They did hint at production problems this month, which is more information than they’ve given in a long time, but they won’t say more than that. Do they know what the problem is? Is it major? Minor? Does it require retooling of the whole thing? A small part? Is it a question of design, performance, certification? They say that to make even such vague statements would reveal critical intellectual property. Does that sound right to you? Me neither.

To be honest, I blame myself. How did I let myself get hooked into this? How have I let it go on so long when it’s long been clear the benefits roll only one way, and that’s not toward either you or me? I feel roundly exploited and still I stand waiting around like a dope for someone to make it right. It bothers me.

I wish I had happier news for you. Know that you are missed. You should see the kids now! They’re so big.


#2

Try being an international customer. Mine was pushed too. October 1st is my new date


#3

Wow, mine did not move!! IT is still november 1st for Norway, a month later for the filter. Maybe It’s a symptom of the Stockholm syndrome, but I am actually happy the delivery didn’t move to 2019(yet):stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#4

I love this hilarious letter, I’m glad that you can still find the humour in life! But… I really hope you get your toy soon! For what it’s worth, the machine is amazing and I just hope you get yours soon!

Best!


#5

Canadian customer here.

(sigh) I checked on my delivery date this morning, lo and behold, it changed yet again from Sept. 1st to Oct. 1st. I’m trying to stay positive but I will admit, it’s getting hard to do so.

Would it be possible to know what exactly is stopping the deliveries? What I mean is, what law or regulation is stopping us from getting our GF? Knowing so, maybe someone in the community can have a solution the GF didn’t think of?


#6

Par for the course… No information. No followup. Person after person, country after country ask.

Look at the links, I bet I could double that list in less than an hour hunting for more posts about delays in international orders being ignored.


#7

I’m sure it’s no consolation, but you can be pretty sure that your $4,070 has been long spent. It’s freely circulating in the wild now.


#8

I’m sure a lot of people have this dilemma: after investing a lot of money and patience, do I pull the plug or I stay on course and wait a few more months. Even the compensations don’t even sweeten the wait at this point. And I’ve read a thread that there are problems for Canadian customer to order from Inventable.

I will be waiting. Again. What’s a few more months, eh? :slight_smile:


#9

Maybe not. All crowdfunding $ went into escrow so they could guarantee your refund if you wanted it before delivery. So it’s likely still sitting in that account (which I don’t believe is interest bearing).

I don’t know though if offering you your unit constituted an escrow release triggering event. So it’s possible that since a unit was offered but not accepted they triggered the escrow release and it has been sucked into the GF expense maw :slightly_smiling_face: My bet is that it’s still sitting. They had north of $35M in VC funding and have legitimately released millions more for shipped units.


#10

actually, if GF is being truthful, the money collected from each person in the preorder campaign was placed in an interest-bearing account until their unit shipped and they used other investor money to do the development. so his money is likely tucked in it’s spot in its account.


#11

Thanks! I misunderstood the funding situation. I thought the whole point of crowdfunding was to help source development and manufacturing. I guess, though, that the money can no longer be considered captive, and now it’s just sort of abandoned. Like a kidnap victim whose family has paid the ransom, but never picked them up from their captors…


#12

That usually is the greater part of the point. In this case it seems like it was only a play to show potential investors how strong the market was (or perhaps it became that after they got more preorders than they expected).

They would seem to have ample investment at this point, so the only remaining rationale for insisting on holding pre-order customers’ money in order to keep the ever-cheapening pre-order discount is that it shifts the risk of Glowforge’s continuing production problems to those customers. That and the interest on the cash.

Dan often says how sorry he is that he’s let us down, but he’s apparently not sorry enough to match Dremel’s deal with its preorder customers and let us keep our money until the product is ready to ship.


#13

How many people would have handed over money in September 2015 if we knew what the situation would be in June 2018? The business model seems to be based on duping people with the fallacy of sunk costs. And then as a customer you feel like an idiot because it worked, and you’re still in this exploitative relationship with a company that’s proven you can’t trust it.


#14

i get that you’re unhappy (and i don’t blame you), but not sure what you’re expecting. are you expecting that GF would refund everyone, hold their places for international shipments, then notify you and have you pay again if you still want it?


#15

Interesting. I know that one reason to crowdfund is to make sure you have enough orders to justify and obtain bulk discount on parts, labor, etc. But obviously this is a difficult case since the GF is ready to ship, but the filter isn’t. From a GF perspective, I guess they figure that you are declining delivery, but if you can’t use it without the filter, it might as well be shipping without the tube. Not sure what I’d have done in that spot… probably take the GF, cancel the filter, and find some other filtering solution. But I’m impatient like that.

I hope they work the filter issues out soon for everyone’s sake.


#16

Why not? Dremel is not asking preorder customers to pay until their orders are ready to ship.

Glowforge is not using the money for product development or anything else other than to shift risk to the customer and collect the interest. For three years. Because of their own failure to deliver on their promises. Why is it more reasonable for them to continue to sit on that money indefinitely and with no explanation than to admit that this is not what anyone signed up for and put the risk on themselves rather than us?


#17

*shrug

to be fair, you can easily get your money back, you just lose your place in line and what little discount is left at this point, so it’s not held hostage the same way it would be in most crowdfunding campaigns.

again, i feel your pain, but i don’t expect that’s a realistic expectation of GF. or any other company, for that matter. would it be a nice gesture? sure. but i don’t think many, if any, company would do that.


#18

Yes, that is Glowforge’s argument: you can have your money back any time! Sure, you’ve lost $220 just in inflation while we’ve hung onto it collecting interest. Sure, the sunk opportunity cost that you’re walking away from was put in because you continued to trust what we were telling you.

Lots of companies don’t charge a customer for a product until the product ships. Companies that are not fly-by-night Kickstarters run out of a fraternity house generally don’t keep customers’ money for three years without a decent explanation. I’m just saying it’s not too late for Glowforge to change its mind about who it wants to be.


#19

but that’s not what you’re asking. you’re asking GF to REFUND your money, keep your place in line, and then allow you to pay again if you want to when they ship.

this is a very different thing than what Dremel is doing. Dremel can afford to do this during initial preorder because they have deeper pockets right now as they do the preorder. they probably didn’t need to seek out VC to fund their implementation. hell, they didn’t even have to do the up-front R&D, they just bought that from Muse.

don’t disagree that this sucks for you and for everyone else still waiting. if i still had 6+ months on my wait (and no guarantee that it won’t be delayed again) at this point, i’m not sure i wouldn’t have gotten a refund now.

there’s no good answer to make everyone happy at this point that’s realistically going to happen. you’re right to be angry.

again, FWIW, at least you can get your money back (granted, less whatever currency adjustment may have happened). lots of people have made some big crowdfunding investments and gotten nothing out of it.


#20

Actually your money has increased in value by almost double as I paid $6,000 in August of last year, alternatively you could have a Glowforge plus delivered by Amazon in a couple of weeks for your $4k and just miss out on the passthrough gates.