As Retro Computers Ltd fails to deliver its long overdue handheld ZX Spectrum Vega+, crowdfunding platform Indiegogo calls in the debt collectors.
A long-running and ill-fated crowdfunding campaign appears to be on its last legs as Indiegogo call in the final boss for Retro Computers Ltd (RCL).
The UK based company run a successful crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo platform to produce a retro handheld ZX Spectrum console. Titled the Vega+, RCL initially announced that orders for backers would be fulfilled by the summer of 2016.
Whilst early backers waited for their consoles to be delivered, RCL continued to raise funds and take orders both via their own website and through Indiegogo.
In March 2017 Indiegogo embargoed the campaign from receiving any further funds which, by that point, had already raised £512,790 from 4700 backers.
Two year after launching the campaign and with backers still waiting for their product, Indiegogo issued a deadline for delivery. Units must ship by the end of May 2018 or debt collectors would be appointed. Incredibly, RCL managed to eek out a further two weeks with a provisional extension pushing the final date to June 15th.
But it seems that patience has worn thin and time has run out as Indiegogo issued a statement explaining that RCL have failed to adhere to the requirements set out in the agreement.
Dear Vega+ Backers,
As you are aware, we recently provided the Vega+ team a provisional extension (June 15th) to fulfill, based on some requirements from us. These included sending us contact information of Sky representatives, and refunding backers immediately upon request, as well as providing Indiegogo with a review console.
Unfortunately, these asks have not been met and we are unable to further provide the Vega+ team an extension. This has been a challenging situation for all involved, and one we thought would be resolved with the backers receiving their game consoles.
This week, we will be working with a collections agency to attempt to recoup funds disbursed, in an effort to be able to refund backers. Please note that, while we are pursuing collections, this process can take considerable time and the Vega+ team still has the opportunity to fulfill on their obligation of shipping the consoles to backers. We refer you to the Vega+ team for any updates on shipping. The campaign is still open to the Vega+ team, and they continue to have the ability to update you all via our platform.
We hope that the Vega+ team follows through on their promise, and that any remedial efforts on our part will be rendered obsolete.
Thank you for your understanding, and patience.
Trust & Safety, Indiegogo
In their statement Indiegogo state that RCL have failed to issue refunds upon request to unhappy backers and have failed to provide them with a functioning unit.
In addition, information of representatives at Sky have been requested. RCL are reported to have complained that Sky are partly responsible for holding up the project as the company, best known for its television broadcasting network, delays signing off on quality control checks.
Sky owns another historic British computing firm, Amstrad, who in turn acquired marketing and merchandise rights for Sinclair as far back as 1986. However Sky insist that they are also still waiting for a functioning unit to be delivered and state that they have nothing to gain from delaying a project which will not benefit them financially in any capacity.
In speaking to the BBC, a sky spokesperson is quoted as saying: “We would love to see these consoles in the hands of fans, that’s why we gave RCL permission to use the Sinclair and ZX Spectrum branding on the console in the first place, despite the fact there will be no financial benefit to Sky,”
Unfortunately the whole campaign has turned into a shambles with RCL seemingly content to attribute blame as a smokescreen for delaying fulfillment. And whilst debt collectors have been appointed, the company still has time to make good on the Vega+.
In fact brining in debt collectors will not provide a conclusion in the likely event that RCL fail to ship units. It won’t be until Indiegogo resort to court action that assets could be seized and money recouped if a court rule as such. There’s more twists to come in this story.
Backers. I wouldn’t hope to see your units, or money back, any time soon.