12.01.2015

My Adventures in Crowd Funding


Most of us have backed a project in the last few years. It's amazing that there are such sites as Kickstarter and Indiegogo where we can help make someone's dream come true and get a awesome product that we believe in, a product we need, or in most cases something awesome that just takes up more space.

I have backed a few project and I have had a mix of situations come along with it. I have backed project that kicked butt, updated so much, and in the end delivered when they promised (Espionage Cosmetics). I have backed project where I knew the items would get delivered at a way later date, were good at updating, but lately have been lacking (Bee and Puppycat).

There are a few that promised the items at a certain date but their production have fallen behind, the updates could use some more work (Playroom Entertainment) and I did have one project that completely failed, they admitted it is failing, and refunded us all. (Insta photo project)

But nothing, NOTHING has been so frustrating, so annoying, so draining as the one I backed on Indiegogo. It was a company named Axent Wear and they were creating these obnoxious cat ear headphones. They light up, the ears are speakers, they would come with a gaming mic, It was ridiculous!


And I wanted them.

The project got funded and of course the wait began. I understand, you have to wait for things. The updates were pretty good and communication was fine but they stopped. It stopped for 5 months until they finally made a update to let the backers know there were some delays. Someone posted something about the factory they were going to use in China did not hold the environmental standards one of the "co-founders" wanted so the project was stopped.

6 months ago a update was made that Brookstone was going to take over and make the headphones. Okay, Brookstone stuff can be iffy sometimes but I can get behind it. Four months later they finally posted a prototype of the headphones. They did a few more posts in that month saying they are listening to the backers comments and will change the head phones.

Radio silence until sometime in Oct where they stated they have them ready and will begin shipping. This is where the fuckery began.

They were shipping now through UPS.  I needed to change my shipping address. I was told to e-mail Brookstone directly. A week later I got a reply saying they will ship that day (day of their reply) to my original address (PO BOX) and they will use Priority Mail. I kept asking for a tracking number. Weeks of no response and I still didn't get them. It was getting close to Thanksgiving so I called and the person at customer service couldn't do anything, just kept telling me to email them. I finally got a CS who gave me a tracking number but the only thing listed was a label was created.

By this point, a year of waiting, no real updates, and getting told that only a shipping label was created I called my credit card company and asked for a charge dispute. I explained the situation and they went ahead with it. While I was waiting for my headphones I read the horror stories on Brookstone's facebook page. The lights didn't work, the cords were broken, people needed to buy an audio split-er  to use the gaming mic, people having them for a few days and the speakers blew out, the headphones stopped working etc.


Out of the blue yesterday  a pair of purple headphones arrived through UPS to the address I needed them to go to. Fine. I decided to test them out and see if they even work.


The purple light isn't as bright as I have seen from others but they both glow the same. I'm okay with that. The headphone sound pretty good, like my skullcandy ones so they get a point there. When I turn on the speakers, the music flowing through the headphones stay on but  starts emitting a hissing sound. If I turn on the speakers to the loudest setting they fuzz out. If there is any kind of talking happening, it crackles. Oh and the cord is busted. I have to wiggle it or hold it in my phone jack to listen to the music.

Now do I return the headphones and deal with them again or do I go to amazon to find a new cord and just live with the hissing/cracking noise coming from the speakers? Amazon is looking like the best option. Brookstone is terrible at answering e-mails and I just don't want to wait another month or two for them again. I hate that the speakers don't really work but I can still use the headphones and that's what really matters.

So a year and 2 months later I have my headphones. They are not the greatest but really, lets be honest I got them for the look. Also this experience had thought me a lot and now I'm going to be a bit more cautious when backing things.


I do have a few more back project I am waiting on but I will take a break for a while from searching both kickstarter and other crowd funding sites. They promised these guys in six months since they said they had everything lined up. I understand things happen but the lack of updates and then the lack or information and faulty product from Brookstone, a well known company kinda pushed my buttons.

What has been your experience with backing projects? Have you waited longer then promised? Has anyone ever not gotten anything?

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