After the demise of Pebble last week, many were disappointed to learn that the company’s forthcoming wearables, the Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core, wouldn’t be hitting the market. Luckily, the company did confirm that backers of those products would be receiving full refunds, or so we thought…
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As it turns out, Pebble/Kickstarter seem to be sending only partial refunds to many backers as noted on the Kickstarter campaign comments and in my own experience as well. My own personal example is a Pebble Time 2 which I backed for $179 ($169 pledge + $10 shipping). If Pebble’s announcement is to be believed (and they haven’t said anything to suggest otherwise), I should be getting that $179 back, but instead, my refund is just a measly $70. It’s even showing at $70 on my credit card statement.
That’s also the case for a lot of other backers on Kickstarter, many of which are seeing the same $70 refund as myself, others with higher or lower totals mostly respective to their pledges. There are definitely some patterns in these refunds, such as $179 getting $70, $249 getting $131, and so on. However, some customers are seeing even smaller refunds.
It’s unclear why this is happening, and as far as we can tell, there’s no logical explanation either. It could simply be a mistake. The only thing we can think of is Kickstarter fees, but that doesn’t itself explain why Pebble isn’t honoring the refunds it promised. This is crowdfunding, and backers shouldn’t treat Kickstarter like a store, but in this case Pebble has said directly that backers should be getting full refunds.
Some backers aren’t having problems, however:
Pebble, Fitbit, and Kickstarter have yet to comment on the matter, but we have reached out to Fitbit for clarification. We also reached out to Pebble, but it seems the company’s standard media contact email no longer works.
Here’s a gallery of unhappy crowdfunders: