Kickstarter success Znaps is ignoring its backers, and selling directly to the public

Back in 2015, a Kickstarter campaign for a product called Znaps managed to comfortably beat its funding target, raising CA$3,000,370 in the process. We covered it at the time, as did dozens of other tech sites including Cult of Mac, Gizmodo, CNET, Pocket Lint and Engadget. I actually backed it myself.

The devices were originally due for release in November 2015, but not only has the company provided no updates since September – no backer has reported receiving their finished product, and the company has started selling directly to the public through their website, via Touch of Modern and on Amazon.

Suffice it to say, the product’s 70,122 backers are none too impressed about this development, and have taken to the comments section to complain vocally. They say the company has stopped responding, and Kickstarter is offering no assistance. 21,146 comments have been left on the Kickstarter since the crowdfunding campaign launched, and the most recent entries are a sea of complaints:kickstarter_znaps_

Angry backers have launched a petition for Kickstarter to issue refunds alongside a Facebook group to rally support around a potential class action lawsuit.

The product does seem to exist, however, as one backer discovered when he cut out the middleman and purchased directly through the new look shop. The video he created shows a product which seems considerably weaker than the Magsafe, and which is extremely fussy about how it’s attached:

In one final interesting twist, one Reddit user said that he had received an email from Znaps saying his order had been lost in an administrative mix-up. He was promised a refund (not received at the time of his account) and the chance to reorder the connector with a 20% discount. Even with the 20% discount applied, the new cost was $5.38 more expensive than the original pledge, and the “lost order” story doesn’t quite add up, as buyers can still track down their order information through myshopify.

At the time of writing, nobody from Kickstarter or Znaps has responded to our requests for comment. However, Kickstarter support did reportedly reply to one backer who complained directly saying “while we’re disheartened that they have not yet updated backers on the status of their project, we’re unable to force them to do so.”kickstarter_znaps_support_responseWe’ll update this piece if either party responds after the piece is published.

This, unfortunately, seems to be another lesson in buyer beware, with the fate of CA$3m of crowdfunder money unknown.

Our general advice is always to treat crowdfunds with a pinch of salt. From now on, I’ll be adding this disclaimer to any crowdfunding news I write up – it’s unfortunately the only sensible precaution for us all to take.

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