Our story last week on QU-BD, the Little Rock group that used Kickstarter to market a $200 3-D printer, mentioned that the company has had some issues with fulfilling its orders.
It turns out it goes a bit deeper than that.
Specifically, QU-BD (pronounced “cubed”) in early 2013 solicited pre-orders for a beta version of its RPM printer, a $2,000 model that can machine some metal parts as well as the usual plastic.
The printer was intended to be released in May 2013. However, according to some customers who contacted Whispers, the machine has yet to reach those who made the pre-orders.
One customer, who asked to remain anonymous, said 65 to 85 customers pre-ordered the RPM. Of those, 15 or 20 have since requested refunds and have not yet received them.
Another customer, who also requested anonymity, said a class-action lawsuit was being considered and he was displeased that QU-BD appeared to be putting more focus on its current Kickstarter customers than the ones who pre-ordered RPMs.
Some of his correspondence has never been answered, he said.
“It’s not just the money; it’s a far deeper thing,” he said.
So what’s the story?
Co-owner Nathan Myers admitted to Whispers that the company was “horribly behind” on shipping the RPMs. The initial reason they were not shipped was the shipping process was physically knocking the printers so far out of calibration that customers could not fix them.
“We’ve contracted a company to develop a custom packaging system so they’re protected in transit,” he said. “Until that’s done, we’re not going to ship them.”
But he was quick to add that anyone who doesn’t want to wait can receive a full refund.
As for the customers who haven’t received their refunds, he blamed communication issues.
“Part of the problem was that initially, when people were requesting refunds, they would say something on a forum,” he said. “They weren’t submitting anything — they weren’t going through the proper channel.”
He said a refund requires going through QU-BD’s ticketing system, and then takes one to two weeks for the check to go through. He also said some people who “aren’t even customers” were spreading “disinformation.”
Finally, Myers said he didn’t have a solid date for when the RPMs would be shipped.
“We’re not guaranteeing any time frame,” he said. “We’re telling customers that if they don’t want to wait, they can get a refund.”