Some time ago I backed a project on Kickstarter. It was a 3D printer made by, Billy Zelsnack, and it was looking pretty good. The price was fine, he had set a realistic goal, a limited amount of printers, and a bit aggressive time table. The campaign got funded pretty fast, and he went on to purchase all the parts needed.
During the process of collecting parts and such, he kept us all updated on the progress, and ended up getting a bit over the shipping date he had decided on. Still, it was within reasonable amount of time, and still a good experience over all.
If Billy shows up with a new kickstarter with something I wanted, I would not hesitate to jump right on it without thinking twice. If just everything on Kickstarter went like this. 🙂
But wait, what about the curse?
It all started fine, the campaign went fine, updates on what was going on, the printer shipped a bit after the estimated shipping date, and then it all went wrong…
Here in Denmark we got a pretty expensive, pretty slow, and very inflexible postal service. And this time it really rolled out some of the big guns in delays.
After Billy gave me the tracking number, I put it into an app on my phone to track it, and after only 4 days it got transported from USA to Denmark. As expected it ended up in customs clearance, where they updated tracking to “Need documentation, contacting receiver”, so I waited for the letter to arrive.
The letter from customs to me got send a Monday, and one week later I called them to ask if everything was fine, because I still had not received the letter. The message from their support was that everything was fine, and it would take some time, so I should just wait.
Thursday the same week, I decided to call them again, because if I remembered it right, they would only hold on to the package for 14 days. And when I finally got hold of someone, they also noticed something was not right, and it turned out they actually put in the wrong address, so there was a reason for me never getting the letter. They then gave me info on how to send them the documentation they needed, and I did so right away.
Friday, the day after I send all the documentation, I decided to call them again, to check if they actually did look at it the day before, like they said they would, and sure enough, they hadn’t. But now it got marked at urgent, and it should be looked at right away. Later that evening, 30 minutes before closing time, I decided to call them again to check if they had looked at it, and this time they had processed it, and the guy could give me the amount I had to pay in customs and all, but he could also see that if he followed the normal procedure, the package would get returned before I got a chance to pay for it. So instead, he set the system to send it by email instead, and yep… That didn’t happen either, and now they had closed, and would first open again Monday.
Sunday I then got a manually send mail, where I could see he had printed out the letter, grabbed it and scanned it in again, then mailed to me, with a message about they had some problems with their system. But now I finally had the numbers I needed, so I could finally pay the customs on my package, and it should be shipped to me…
Tuesday, the tracking number shows it to still be in for customs clearance, so I called them again. Turns out they also got problems with the system processing payments, so they could not see any of the payments, but they would look at it when they could… This is where I started to get some impatient, and ended up with I could send the receipt for the payment in, and they could process it manually then. Later same day I decided to this time write to them, both because I was at work and cant run around and talk in phone all day, and because their waiting music is driving me insane. I wrote the whole story from the very beginning, and got a stupid default “It is being processed, just wait a bit longer.” reply back. I then once again had to teach them about how their system worked, and what was broken (automated email and payment processing), and she wanted to check again and get back. A bit later she got back to me again, with a message about they had registered the payment now, and my package would be send in 3 days. 3 DAYS?! This is where I started to get really annoyed! Since they got the package it has been mistake on mistake, things haven’t been done when they promised me to look at them right away, and now they want to take 3 days more? And look at the day… Tuesday… 3 days later, it is Friday. So ship Friday, it will be on the way over the weekend, Monday they don’t deliver, because reasons apparently. Then Tuesday next week I should have the package. That is over 3 weeks it has been in the country. 3 weeks to get it the last 250 km from customs to me, where it took 4 days to get it from USA to Denmark.
But at least our postal service gets more and more expensive to use, with less and less service for every time they give the price an extra bump up.
So back to the main question… Is Kickstarter cursed? A perfect campaign, ruined by the postal service instead.