The bottom line: TeleRead now recommends that people not donate to any Good e-Reader campaign on Indiegogo or similar sites – due to the issue of undelivered merchandise. – D.R.
It’s been about two years since Good e-Reader launched a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a 13.3″ e-ink Android tablet, and just over one year since our last look at the campaign’s status. But in the intervening months, some questions have arisen about the campaign’s status, and a number of readers have suggested the matter merits another look. And after having taken that look, I am forced to agree.
I will admit that, early on, I was pretty optimistic about the prospects for such a device. I even got the story Slashdotted, which might well have resulted in a number of further backers. There simply wasn’t anything like that available at the time—or at least, nothing that had the full Android capabilities the Good e-Reader device was intended to have. And if this was the only way to get such a device, I thought it might well be worth doing. Certainly, if I’d had that amount of money free myself, I’d have strongly considered kicking it in. And so the tablet funded, and Good e-Reader launched another campaign (this one on Kickstarter) for a smaller version of the same tablet. (This campaign subsequently tanked, with only $18,000 of the hoped-for $48,000 pledged, but Good e-Reader was able to start selling the model anyway via Indiegogo.)
Now it’s two years later, and the Indiegogo campaign page and the Mobileread forum thread about it are full of comments from unsatisfied campaign supporters who still haven’t received their tablets yet—some of them with two-digit order numbers, placing them among the first hundred backers. Some backers also claim that the Indiegogo campaign has deleted negative comments from the Indiegogo page, and the same forum member observed that one of the campaign’s runners actually changed his Indiegogo profile to remove his name from it. Some of the MobileRead comments are from backers who have been able to receive refunds, while some have had difficulties. (Refunds have to come from Good e-Reader itself, as Indiegogo’s terms of service indicate it cannot provide refunds on campaigns that have already completed.)
And in what may be the final straw, Good e-Reader has started selling the 13.3″ reader for $599 on its own site, while possibly as many as 155 of the 620 backers who placed $699 orders from the Indiegogo campaign have not yet gotten their devices. (The most recent comment from Good e-Reader editor Michael Kozlowski on the Indiegogo campaign, 1 month ago, indicated that 3/4 of the orders had been fulfilled.)
I’ve reached out to Michael Kozlowski asking for comments, and he has replied:
Almost everyone has received their e-reader on Indiegogo. We keep sending out new units to people all the time. There is just a tiny vocal minority that has not received it yet. I am expecting a new shipment in the first few weeks of May, where even more units will be sent out to people on Indiegogo.
Our latest shipment was delayed by about 1.5 months because we developed an Android 4.4 update, bringing it from 4.04 that shipped on the tablet inititally. The OEM has to to put it though countless rounds of certification to insure everything is working properly.
Indiegogo remains our highest priority, but there are more 6.8 e-readers outstanding than 13.3, which is why we have never discounted this model.
He added in a further email:
To be honest we have too many 13.3 coming, not only will all the remaining units on Indiegogo be fulfilled, but we have so many extras.
He didn’t say exactly how many orders have yet to be fulfilled, but if “almost everyone” actually has received it, and they have “too many” tablets coming, the shipment in May should be the end of it—and the $599 sales on the Good e-Reader site would account for those extras.
Crowdfunding is Not Pre-Ordering
It is worth remembering something that all too many people forget: crowdfunding is not pre-ordering. It’s investing. You’re not buying stock or kicking in a million dollars in venture capital, but you’re still putting your money up in the hope that you’ll get something out of it—and unlike with pre-orders, that “something” isn’t always guaranteed to arrive. You pay your money and you take your chances.
Even as optimistic as I was, in my original post about the 13.3″ reader I did advise caution:
That being said, in some respects it seems a little too good to be true. As with any crowdfunding project for expensive hardware, I do have to counsel caution. Even granting Kozlowski has the best intentions, hardware Kickstarters can often run into unanticipated obstacles along the way, especially when their runner is inexperienced. For example, Robert X. Cringely recently posted a look at a number of unexpected excess costs accrued by his sons’ Minecraft server Kickstarter. It’s not impossible that something similar could happen here.
There have been plenty of ineptly-run crowdfunding campaigns through the years, both for high-tech devices and for media. A couple of years ago I looked at the one for Lawrence Lee Rowe’s Tempus Fugit revision, which ended up earning all of $77 toward its $25,000 goal.
Then there were the campaigns associated with the TV series Robotech, one of which I looked at on my personal blog. Robotech owner Harmony Gold ran a campaign that asked for $500,000 to animate a pilot episode of a new TV show, which was considerably more than they should have needed and it only drew about $195,000 before Harmony Gold pulled the plug less than a week before it was due to end.
But arguably worse was a campaign run by Palladium Books for its BattleTech-like Robotech RPG Tactics miniatures game, which initially succeeded beyond its wildest dreams—it took in $1,442,312 on a $70,000 goal. But the campaign ended up being unable to fulfill the rewards it had promised to its backers before Palladium lost the Robotech license.
Siembieda said that his company burned through the $1.4 million in Kickstarter funds three years ago. Palladium’s current revenues don’t provide enough capital to actually finish making the product line it promised back in 2013.
The reward fulfillment was torpedoed by unexpected manufacturing costs, and more so by the higher-than-expected price of shipping all those miniatures. (At one point Palladium sought investors to front it the $625,000 it needed in order to complete the campaign, ultimately unsuccessfully.) Stresses having to do with the campaign, and complaints by unsatisfied backers, even led one of the game’s designers to attempt suicide in early 2017.
All of the static and fan complaints these campaigns generated didn’t go unnoticed by Harmony Gold. Over the last couple of weeks on my Space Station Liberty Robotech podcast, I learned that Harmony Gold’s current licenses of the Robotech intellectual property to game companies expressly forbid the use of crowdfunding campaigns. I suppose the burned hand learns to fear the fire.
There was even one Kickstarter hardware campaign that succeeded to the tune of $3.4 million, but failed so badly to produce any products that Kickstarter itself hired a journalist to produce a report on what went wrong. So, it’s not exactly unexpected that some projects that succeed nonetheless fail to ship any product. At least Good e-Reader has filled nearly all of its orders so far, according to Michael Kozlowski, and he says that the rest should be completed soon.
In any case, the two year delay has broadened the number of market choices available. When the Good e-Reader campaign kicked off, there weren’t any comparable products on the market—so if you wanted a 13.3″ e-ink Android tablet, Good e-Reader was the only game in town. But in the years since, products like the Onyx Boox Max 2 have become available. The Boox Max 2 can offer much the same capability as the Good e-Reader, with some even better features such as Bluetooth capability and a more recent version of Android, for about the same price. And they’ve even got a smaller version, which Onyx has promised they’ll send along to me for another review when they have one available.
If you found this post worth reading and want to kick in a buck or two to the author, click here.
I wish I’d been more careful, I invested thousands on a 3D printer (and one for a friend), which has not come yet, three years later.
I think that most people understand that delays and unexpected costs can and do occur. That’s why it is incumbent upon campaigners to inform their backers of what is happening. And that’s exactly what Michael and Peter failed to do despite repeated requests from their backers for just that.
And then there were the deliberate deceptions. Michael initially pretended that they had voluntarily closed their Indiegogo campaign to focus on clearing existing orders. However, Peter then let it slip that they were shut down due to complaints from disgruntled backers. They then immediately started offering their devices for sale on their website and on Amazon. And it was shortly after that that Peter changed his profile so that it now reads simply “p” when he had previously been using his full name. Such are not reputable business practices.
I hope that Michael is telling the truth this time and that all their backers will shortly receive the perks for which they offered up their money and their trust. But I wouldn’t put money on it.
If Indiegogo backers truly were Michael’s highest priority, then how is he able to offer any product to new customers on his website when he still has unfulfilled obligations stemming from his Indiegogo campaign?
If there is truly only a small minority of vociferous backers, and if Good Ereader truly is shipping out product all the time, then shouldn’t it be easy and advantageous to shut those cantankerous individuals up by providing them with a device?
I notice also that Michael did not respond to the fact that some of the earliest backers have apparently not yet received a device. How is it that devices could be shipped so wildly out of sequence? Is it gross incompetence or something else?
Michael’s claims cannot be accepted at face value.
Yes, there is always some inherent risk when backing a crowd funded campaign as you rightly point out. One of those risks is that the campaigners might turn out to be incompetent or con artists.
That’s precisely why I didn’t back their campaign even though I had the funds and was in the market for just such a device. And am I ever glad that I didn’t. For a multiple of reasons.
On another note, I think that you will find that the Onyx Note, when you eventually receive yours, is truly a remarkable device. I’m certainly enjoying mine. It’s not without its issues, but it is a joy to use.
“If Indiegogo backers truly were Michael’s highest priority, then how is he able to offer any product to new customers on his website when he still has unfulfilled obligations stemming from his Indiegogo campaign?”
I got the sense that the reason he’s offering them to others is that he expects to receive enough in the next shipment to fill the rest of the orders plus the orders for the ones he’s selling.
And I get the sense that he’s planning to shut those vociferous complainers up by providing them with the devices they’re owed in May.
Yes, two years is a pretty long time to wait for fulfillment after you pay your money. But if Michael is to be believed, it seems that at least some of the blame can be laid at the foot of the OEM, which is apparently just shipping him small batches as they get them built. And, as I said, that’s one of the risks you take when you crowdfund something.
I can’t agree with everything Michael does—in fact, I’m still rather annoyed at his habit of covering stories that originate on other sites (like TeleRead) without ever giving the other sites any credit. And those deceptions such as closing the site down are more than a little questionable, too, and fulfilling the orders out of order is a puzzler. But leaving the deceptions aside, he might be doing the best he can.
“I got the sense that the reason he’s offering them to others is that he expects to receive enough in the next shipment to fill the rest of the orders plus the orders for the ones he’s selling.”
But they were already selling them to new customers on Amazon and on their website in September of 2017, shortly after they were closed down by Indiegogo. See posts #87 and #88 of the MR thread:
So if they had product, which it seems they did, that product should have been going to their Indiegogo backers, particularly if those backers were their “highest priority” as Michael attempts to claim.
“And I get the sense that he’s planning to shut those vociferous complainers up by providing them with the devices they’re owed in May.”
If it’s only a small vocal minority as Michael claims, he could have shut them up ages ago by providing them with the product he had in stock. They posted pictures of the boxes on their Facebook site quite some time ago and indicated they were for immediate sale.
“But if Michael is to be believed, ”
Therein lies the rub. Michael has demonstrated time and again that he should not be given the benefit of the doubt.
For example, in addition to the instances of deliberate deception noted in my previous post, Michael claimed in an update which was dated April 7th, 2016 that they were getting a proper USB Host Controller system on the device so that people could hook up an external keyboard to it.
Not long afterwards, buried deep in the comments section on his blog, he quietly acknowledged that this was not going to happen when directly asked about it. However, he never updated the Indiegogo page to let people know this was not going to happen.
Backers were posting in the comments section on Indigogo about how they were looking forward to hooking up an external keyboard via a cable to the device, and he never alerted them to the fact that they would not be able to do so despite his knowledge about this.
There were numerous other instances of deceptions during the campaign, not to mention the various other deceptions they have been known to engage in on their blog. So he is not to be taken at his word.
My guess is that Michael realized that, coming from quite a number of diverse countries, there wasn’t really all that much that the Indiegogo backers could do to get their money back once the campaign had been fully funded and the money dispersed. It would have cost them more in legal fees than they had already paid with no guarantees of a successful outcome. Consequently, his priority seems to have been new sales.
Now that he is becoming unable to make any new sales in the face of the formidable competition from new and better products on offer from companies such as Onyx, he may eventually start fulfilling his obligations to his Indiegogo backers. But I don’t believe for a minute that they are or ever were his highest priority. His actions speak very loudly in this regard and are further confirmed by the way Peter Carotenuto changed his profile to try and distance himself from the campaign.
Guess I can’t really argue with that, Ian. I just try to give people the benefit of the doubt whenever I can. Maybe they just weren’t able to afford to send them all out at once without selling some of them to earn more revenue to finance the rest. Shipping and overhead costs can be tough to calculate and account for in a Kickstarter, as Palladium discovered to its chagrin.
In any case, hopefully the next month will bring an end to the matter.
Ian, I want to publish a post over on The Digital Reader that delves into the broken promises of the crowdfunding campaign. You are more familiar with it than I; would you be willing to help me?
Sure thing. Just let me know how I can be of help.
Oh, we already knew Michael could not be trusted even before the Indiegogo campaign. Kozlowski is a known liar who had invented multiple “exclusive” hardware leaks for devices like a Liquavista Kindle – devices that never existed.
Chris neglected to mention that point in this post and in the earlier post, which is a shame. I was really hoping Chris and David would fully own up to their role in Kozlowski’s scam. They screwed up by not telling the whole story, and they still haven’t apologized for that error.
I also usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt… unless, of course, they have a proven track record for deliberately deceiving people in addition to a financial interest in the matter.
Not only has Michael played fast and loose with the truth, deliberately misleading people in order to procure more sales, he has been caught out in open lies such as his assertion that Good Ereader voluntarily closed their Indiegogo campaign to focus on fulfilling existing orders, and then immediately started selling those devices elsewhere. So why would you give him the benefit of the doubt?
It could be that there were some unanticipated costs. That could have been easily explained. It wasn’t… Not even when you questioned him about it… which suggests that the only reason they were offering the devices for immediate sale to new customers was to line their own pockets as they knew that the Indiegogo backers really couldn’t do much to come after them.
In the comments section of their Indiegogo campaign page, backers continually asked Michael and Peter to list which order numbers had been fulfilled and which order numbers were expected to be fulfilled in the subsequent batch which they were perpetually assured was on the way.
A simple request… which was actively and repeatedly ignored. Why?
My guess is that they did not want people to see how few devices they had actually sent out, and how out of sequence they were shipping them.
Without providing the order numbers which had already been fulfilled, they could claim that hundreds had been shipped out or that 75% of orders had been fulfilled when possibly only a few dozen had gone out. They could even give the contact information for one or two people who actually received a device to an inquiring reporter as “evidence” that their product was shipping. Unfortunately, such limited “evidence” would not indicate how many units had shipped.
Had they publicly posted the order numbers which had already been fulfilled, it would have made it much more difficult misrepresent how many devices had been shipped.
Clearly, Indiegogo found something very wrong in the way the campaign was being managed otherwise they would have been unlikely to close the campaign if the vast majority of orders had been fulfilled and if Good Ereader could offer evidence that more devices were on the way. It would have been in Indiegogo’s interests to keep a successful campaign going.
And Michael and Peter still have not posted which order numbers have been fulfilled. There is a reason for that, and for Peter Carotenuto for attempting to distance himself from the campaign. Neither he nor Michael should be given the benefit of the doubt, particularly when other people’s money is involved.
A further example of why Michael cannot be trusted to tell the truth, especially where other people’s money is concerned:
Originally on their Indiegogo campaign page, Good Ereader promised to make the source code for their 13.3″ device publicly available. Later, that comment was removed from the Story section of their campaign page.
Fortunately, the information was preserved on a July 2, 2016 blog post on their site:
“We intend on making the firmware for the 13.3 inch e-reader available to the entire community. This is important because people want creative control in order to make software enhancements or even upgrade to Android M.
Each unit will ship completely unlocked, which means you can install your own apps via ADB and Fastboot. We will also be making the full factory image available, so you can see what we did to make this device work.”
That promise predictably led to a number of people getting behind the campaign as can be seen from various comments in the comment section of the Indiegogo campaign page.
A year ago, a backer named John Ingle asked:
“The Story page says that you will be releasing the full factory image after all units are shipped. Do you have any ETA for those of us waiting to work on custom firmware and OS fixes?”
To which Michael replied:
“We are currently working on this, the priority right now is Android 5.0”
Notice that Michael didn’t say that they would not be able to make good on that promise. He likely didn’t want to jeopardize other potential sales and so he evaded the question.
About a month later, another backer, Gustaf Bjorklund, asked:
“Michael and Peter, I backed this project based on your promise to make firmware open source. When will you make the firmware open source to the community of users?”
Again, Michael evaded the question:
“We are in the process of upgrading Android and working out the kinks with our custom UI, once this is done we will be able to post the firmware for anyone to download.”
And just 19 days ago, John Ingle asked again:
“I’m back again to ask about that OS and firmware source code that was promised during the campaign. When can we count on this being released? I’m eager to hack on this thing and fix many of the bugs. At this point I’m looking at alternative ereaders that support an HDMI monitor mode that I can simply hook up to a RasPi to get what I want.”
But Michael continued to be evasive in his reply from 5 days ago:
“We have a 4.4 update in the works, its going through final certification. It literary fixes hundreds of bugs, in addition to increasing the responsiveness of stylus when drawing or taking notes.”
And just 4 days ago, Gustaf Bjorklund was back to ask:
“Michael, when will bootloader and firmware be released as open source such that we can take a collective approach to sorting out the bugs.
The open source bootloader was the one promise from your original campaign that took me over the fence and made me place the order.
On my previous comments you said that the source would be released with the future update, however, I have seen no such information as part of the recently released upgrade. Will the source code be released?”
So, after making a tantalizing promise that he likely knew he would be unable to deliver on in order to procure more sales, Michael edited the story page, and then studiously evaded answering direct questions from people who had backed his campaign primarily based on that promise. He should never be given the benefit of the doubt because he continuously proves that he is undeserving of it. And the same goes for Peter Carotenuto, who cowardly tried to distance himself from the campaign, and is now apparently the “director of ecommerce at Good e-Reader”.
Peter is the director of ecommerce at Good e-Reader. His primary task is to make sure that everything runs smoothly and everyone receives their purchases quickly.”
I didn’t order an e-reader through Goodereader or support the crowd funding campaigns, so really I don’t have a personal stake in this issue. However I do find it interesting, and disturbing that Goodereader just unveiled a $99 7-inch Android 6.0 tablet. IMO if there are any crowdfunding orders remaining from the e-reader campaign(s) they ought to fulfill those orders before rolling out a brand new product, if for no other reason than it looks bad.
After a 2 month hiatus, Michael has finally found the time to post an update to the shuttered Indiegogo campaign which he has claimed to be his “highest priority”.
In addition to information about the new update to their devices, Michael remembered his many unfulfilled backers from the campaign:
“We are receiving a shipment at the end of May to help fullfill more orders. I realize we are late with some of you guys, but you have not been forgotten.”
Notice that he continues to avoid providing details such as how many units of either device they are expecting to receive and which order numbers they hope to fulfill. Notice also that he does not say that all outstanding orders will be fulfilled, or even that all 13.3″ orders will be fulfilled.
All he needs to do to fulfill that statement is to fulfill two outstanding orders. Weasel words until proven otherwise.
Here’s another object lesson in how hardware crowd funding projects often fail. Say what you will about Michael’s behavior, at least he has actually managed to deliver to most backers—rather than going bankrupt without shipping a thing after taking in literally millions of dollars.
You said, “Say what you will about Michael’s behavior, at least he has actually managed to deliver to most backers”.
I’m curious as to what evidence beyond Michael’s own words you have to back up this claim.
I think it has been well established that Michael cannot be taken at his word. So surely you must have seen some credible evidence that Michael has fulfilled most of his orders.
If Michael has indeed fulfilled most of his orders, it makes one wonder why Indiegogo saw fit to shut down their campaign. Clearly Indiegogo would have a vested interest in keeping a successful campaign open.
The fact that Indiegogo shut down their campaign makes me seriously question Michael’s claim. That, and the fact that Peter Carotenuto changed his profile to read simply “p” when he had previously been using his full name on the Indiegogo campaign page.
So, where’s the credible evidence that Michael has fulfilled most of his Indiegogo orders?
You claim, without providing any credible evidence, that Michael has “managed to deliver to most backers”.
Yet that is not the impressions which one gets when one looks at the comments on the Indiegogo page where only bona fide backers can post comments. Just look at many of the latest comments which I have posted below. Look at when they claim to have placed their orders:
Jared Kempson 7 hours ago
Hello Michael and Peter and e-Reader!
I still have not received my Good e-Reader 6.8. I have been waiting patiently. Do you have any updates on shipping? Thank you.
See Order Order ID
Gary Oppenhuis 10 hours ago
Any status of the 6.8 units shipping?
On 4/29/2018 Michael Kozlowski responded to a comment with the following: “We intend on shipping more 6.8’s out in the first few weeks of May.”
It is now May 22, 2018. I submitted my order May 21, 2017, a year ago.
The Good e-Reader store shows that 9 of the 6.8 units are in stock! Why aren’t these units being shipped to customers who have already paid for their orders?
Parkson Kwok 21 hours ago
Hello…has my product been shipped please? I ordered a 13’3” about 18 months ago.
trik1990 7 days ago
One year has passed now since the “Estimated Delivery Date May 2017”.
My order was placed on February 2017.
I agree with rkgemini.
This seems like a large scam.
There should be something that can be done about it.
rkgemini 8 days ago
It’s more than 20 months and the 13.3 e-reader has not been delivered yet. No updates even. No emails. Please refund my money.
Pierce 9 days ago
13.3 e-reader order 337 placed on 8/4/2016, can you please provide an ETA?
Jared Kempson, Order #857, placed his order 10 months ago according to information on the Backers section of the Indiegogo page. Order #337 was placed by Pierce in August of 2016. Rkgemini apparently placed an order more than 20 months ago.
And yet, in an update on January 7 of this year, Michael claimed:
“Since we launched the crowdfunding campaign we shipped off 3/4 of all the orders that were placed with us. Over the course of the last year we have shipped hundreds out every quarter!”
How is it that Michael can claim to have shipped out hundreds of devices every quarter last year (that would amount to at least 800 units), and yet apparently a good number of people have not received their units? And remember, back in April of last year, you reported that Michael claimed to have fulfilled 60% of all their orders. So if 60% of the orders had been filled at that time, and if they continued to send out hundreds of devices each quarter since then… The numbers just don’t add up.
In the absence of evidence, Michael has demonstrated time and again that he cannot be taken at his word.
So, please either post your credible evidence or retract your comment. Otherwise it might appear that you are angling for the review unit which you mentioned Michael had promised to send you in your previous article…
@ Chris Meadows
Had you used the word “some” instead of “most”, I would have no argument with you.
Quite clearly, Michael shipped out some devices. Whether it was several dozen or several hundred, I don’t know. I certainly don’t know if it was “most”.
i do know that backers with order numbers in the low double digits and the low triple digits are claiming that they have received neither a device nor a refund despite multiple requests. And remember that only bona fide backers can post on the comments section of the Indiegogo campaign page.
I do know that Indiegogo pulled the plug on their campaign despite Michael having initially said that Good Ereader voluntarily closed it… That would be a very strange move on Indiegogo’s part if the majority of backers had received devices and if Michael could show that more orders were set to be fulfilled.
I do know that Peter Caortenuto changed his profile to read simply “p” when he had previously been using his full name. That would seem to be a very strange move if the majority of orders had been fulfilled and if everything were on the level.
I do know that Michael has a long and verified history of misrepresenting the truth, and that you are aware of this.
So please either revise/retract your post or present your evidence if you wish to be taken seriously.
Some “journalists” simply parrot the information which they are spoon fed by the likes of the White House.
Other journalists report what is claimed by the likes of the White House, but also do their own homework, giving context and asking hard questions.
Which kind of journalist would you have more confidence in? Which kind of journalist would you aspire to be?
Apparently Good Ereader has now launched a 10.3″ Kickstarter campaign. And Michael in pitching this new product, Michael made the following rather extraordinary claim:
“Over the past three years we have been involved in the hardware and brought to market a 6.8 and 13.3 e-reader and digital note taker. They were huge successes and we shipped out over one thousand devices. ”
If that claim is true, how is it possible that there are any Indiegogo backers still without a device?
The Indiegogo page shows only 620 backers and 51 of them just pledges $5.
So it would seem that either Michael is lying about the number of devices they shipped out or he has used the funds he received from the Indiegogo campaign to finance his business instead of providing backers with their devices.
Once again, it should be readily apparent why it is important NOT to give someone like Michael the benefit of the doubt.
If you lend him credibility by saying that he “managed to deliver to most of his backers”, people might think that he is trustworthy and take a chance on this latest campaign.
So please either back up your claim with some credible evidence, or revise/retract your comment so that other people are not taken in by him.
On that note, it is now the end of May, and I have seen no indication that any more units have shipped. Quite the opposite.
@ Chris Meadows
Well, it is now approaching the middle of June, and there have been no new updates to their Indiegogo campaign page informing backers that the fabled “new shipment” has been received and more units shipped out…
Quite the contrary. In the comments section of the their shuttered Indiegogo campaign page where only bona fide backers can comment, backers continue to post comments such as the following:
“Till Hönisch 4 hours ago
Ok so here again:
Order ID: 397
Ordered: September 3, 2016.
I send numerous emails and didn’t get any answer. I don’t know why you dont deliver the units. You are obviously doing another project on kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/goodereaders/103-android-e-reader-with-frontlight-and-comfortli/
So again: Please refund or deliver.
Till Hönisch 4 hours ago
It was $789 USD for 13.3 e-Reader + Accessories”
How is it that backers like Till Honisch have neither received a device nor a refund when Good Ereader has devices on sale for immediate purchase at a significant discount and when Michael has claimed to have shipped out over a thousand units?
And there are other backers with even lower order numbers in a similar position.
From what I can see, there is no evidence apart from Michael’s own words to support the claim that “he has actually managed to deliver to most backers”. And Michael has shown time and again that he cannot be taken at his word.
So, once again, please either back up your comment or revise/retract it if you wish to be taken seriously.
Given that Michael has now launched another similar scheme/campaign, it is more important than ever that factual information be presented.
Two weeks after launching a new Kickstarter campaign for a 10.3″ ereader, Michael Kozlowski has thrown the towel in and canceled the campaign.
Wonder if that had anything to do with several backers from the shuttered Indiegogo campaign making minimum contributions so that they could post comments on the Kickstarter campaign page?
Looks like Good Ereaders’ reputation may have finally caught up with them. I imagine that they will have a difficult time now funding any more projects by crowd sourcing them. Looks like they may have to invest their own money if they want to bring any other device to market.
From the comments posted on the Kickstarter campaign page, we may also surmise that there are still backers from the Indiegogo campaign page who have not received their devices.
Guess that fabled and perpetually promised incoming shipment still hasn’t arrived. Or maybe it has arrived, and they are simply selling the devices to new customers rather than providing them to their Indiegogo backers…
@ Chris Meadows
Still waiting for a credible source to ba ck up your claim that Michael “has actually managed to deliver to most backers”.
Available evidence suggests otherwise. But I would be quite pleased to be proven wrong if you would care to stand behind what you have written.
Well June is just about over and the promised shipment does not seem to have materialized. Surprise, surprise.
Or perhaps it did arrive and is being sold to new customers instead of waiting backers.
According to Good Ereader’s FaceBook page, their 6.8″ device is now on sale with immediate shipping:
“Good E-Reader June 24 at 9:51 PM ·
The goodereader 6.8″ is on sale right now and ships immediately ! 🙂
just in case you all didn’t know”
And yet, there are still backers from the shuttered Indiegogo campaign asking when they will receive their devices:
“FKG 1 day ago
Any updates on the May shipping?
nicsnake 2 days ago
Can we please have an update on the delivery timelines for the 6.8 eReader? I received nothing from you, same with many others – would be nice if you could let us know when we should expect to receive the units. Thank you.
Tsai fu kai 4 days ago
Order ID: 21, placed 20,Mar, 2016
please help check the package delivered or give me the expect date.
Johan Ente 6 days ago
I wonder if it is at all possible to give an honest update to your backers about the perk delivery?
It is good to be developing new products, but should you not see to the wrapping up of your current project first? A successful campaign will reflect good to new campaigns.
This campaign does not reflect well at all at this moment…
I for instance are also still waiting on: Order ID: 86 (March 26, 2016).
NOTHING YET! Please update us on expected shipping date. I will be moving home soon!
Direst 8 days ago
J’attends aussi mon produit, je suis content qu’une mise à jour ai été faite, que d’autres campagnes sont lancées mais quand vous attendez 2ans pour récupérer un produit c’est long
J’espère qu’il ne sera pas obsolète
Kyoung-Ju Park 9 days ago
Wow, it’s amazing to learn that they tried to launch yet another campaign at kickstarter, Is this becoming some sort of ponzi scheme?
Order Date: Sep 12, 2016
No delivery, no update, no response whatsoever.”
I would have thought that Michael publicly claiming to have sold over 5000 devices while backers from the shuttered Indiegogo campaign continue to wait for their perks would have been newsworthy… Seems that I was mistaken. Sad.
Good Ereader has put both its 6.8″ device and its 13.3″ device on sale on its website, and yet there are still backers from their shuttered Indiegogo campaign who are waiting to receive their promised perks.
So, what ever happened to that fabled May shipment? You know, the one which was supposed to clear up all the outstanding orders on Indiegogo of the 13.3″ devices that we were told about in this article?
Why the resounding silence from the author of this article? Sad.
It is now mid November, and that fabled May shipment which we were told about in this article, the one which was supposed to have cleared up all outstanding Indiegogo orders for the 13.3″ device, still has not arrived. Or, if it has arrived, it has not been applied to backers of the now shuttered Indiegogo campaign. Nor have there been any subsequent updates by Michael Kozlowski or Peter Carotenuto to explain what has happened to their unfortunate backers. Meanwhile, they continue to sell both their 13.3″ device and their 6.8″ device on their website for immediate purchase.
I would have thought that a senior staff writer and an editor emeritus for Teleread might have had enough integrity to admit when they had been deceived. Apparently not.
Well, it is now January 2019. So whatever happened to that shipment that was supposed to arrive in early May of last year which we learned about first din this very article?
On May 11, 2018, not too long after this article was published, their shuttered Indiegogo was updated to also announce this impending shipment. However, nothing was ever mentioned about it again.
And still there are backers from the Indiegogo campaign continuing to ask for their perks or a refund.
And it’s not like Good Ereader doesn’t have any of these devices. They offer them for immediate purchase on their website, and continue to tout them in their blog articles about recent trends in ereaders.
To me, it looks like Michael deliberately told the author of this article some lies to make himself look better at a time when he was preparing to launch a new campaign on Kickstarter. And it looks like the author simply took Michael at his word despite Michael’s well established reputation for playing fast and loose with the truth.
So where is that shipment? On very slow boat from China/Taiwan?
Backers from Good Ereader’s shuttered Indiegogo campaign continue to post comments that they have received neither a device nor a refund.
And yet they continue to offer their devices for sale on their website.
So what of that shipment that was supposed to arrive in May of 2018 that we learned about in this very article that was supposed to clear up all the waiting backers from the Indiegogo campaign? Remember? Those Indiegogo backers whom Michael claimed were his “highest priority”?
And why has the author of this article not bothered to follow up on this? Especially since he made unsupported claims that Michael had delivered products to most of his backers?
It’s been helpful to see your comments. I contributed to Michael’s Indiegogo campagin for the 13.3 inch Android e-Reader in early 2017. I never received the device. In other words, I am another one of apparently many backers who are being neglected if not outright scammed.
I have tried contacting Michael via Indiegogo multiple times. No response. I have emailed to the addresses they have included in past “Campaign Updates.” No response.
@Chris Meadows, I hope you will take my experience into account before you write again about Good e Reader’s business practices and merits.
@Peter: Chris wrote about Good e-Reader’s 13.3-inch Android reader because at the time it was a unique product that he genuinely felt would be of interest to TeleRead community members. He lacks any connection to Good e-Reader. In fact, Good e-Reader competes with TeleRead for readers. Upon learning of the complaints of undelivered units, Chris warned readers, as you can see above. The warnings remain in effect.
If the promised units have failed to arrive after all this time and Good e-Reader is plain ignoring you, then I would encourage you to contact not only Indiegogo but also the appropriate consumer authorities.
Where do you live? Last I knew, Good e-Reader was based on Canada. Here is information from that country’s Office of Consumer Affairs for filing complaints: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/h_ca02964.html. I don’t know if OCA handles complaints from outside Canada. But if you live elsewhere, you can always contact equivalent agencies if OCA won’t take an interest. Needless to say, this same advice applies to Ian if he has a problem. If you and Ian don’t live in Canada, then why not seek out a Canadian consumer who failed to receive the reader? The Canadian could then file the complaint.
Another option might be for dissed owners to band together to bring about legal action against Good e-Reader. If enough people are without the hardware they paid for, perhaps the amount involved would be enough to interest an attorney in British Columbia or whenever Michael is based.
TeleRead lacks the resources to investigate this to the max, but please keep us updated via the comments area! We’ve certainly given Ian a chance to do so. All I ask is that you take extra care to be factual and fair to Michael, regardless of your understandable frustration and all the questions that have arisen.
Meanwhile, I’ll write Michael with links to your comment and my current one and see if he’ll respond. I’d love to know his latest cashflow situation and whether he could offer at least partial refunds (maybe a third or half of the owed money), with more relief to come when he could afford this. We are not just talking law here; rather, ethics. Business people make cashflow-related mistakes all the time. But it is not acceptable to ignore those who suffer.
If Michael does not address the issues here satisfactorily, then I may have another means to escalate this, on the ethics front. One way or another, the outcome ideally will be either receipt of the reader or return of your money. I’d love to publish comments from you and others saying this happened!
Here’s what I’ve just emailed Michael.
Subject: The undelivered 13.3-inch readers
Good morning, Michael. The complaints about the undelivered 13.3-inch readers haven’t gone away.
How many customers paid for the 13.3-inch ereader via Indiegogo? How many have actually received their units? Same in terms of the number of units (since some customers ordered multiple ones). Can you offer a schedule for delivery of the undelivered ones? How many of the units are to be sent out by X dates(s)? What will determine the order of delivery? If this can’t happen in a timely way, then you really need to think about refunds.
Do you have a cashflow problem right now? If so, is there a chance you could work out plans for at least partial refunds, with the full rem[a]inders to come to everyone by a specified time? I’m not a lawyer, but if nothing else, we’re talking about major ethics issues, given that the readers have been on sale to other customers. Sustainable businesses look beyond the mere legalities.
Please see the latest angry comment and my reply.
Rooting for you to arrive at a good solution!
David H. Rothman
@Peter: Glad that my comments have been of some help. I am interested in preserving for the record how this campaign has been conducted so that other people might be fully informed as to the practices of Good e-Reader.
@David: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to document what has been happening in regard to this campaign. I will always endeavor to keep information factual as I have no desire to put either myself or TeleRead in jeopardy of a potential lawsuit.
I appreciate that TeleRead might not have the resources to fully investigate what has transpired in regard to the Good e-Reader’s Indiegogo campaign. I also appreciate your reaching out to Michael directly. It will be interesting to see how he responds as there continue to be unanswered requests for the promised perk or a refund over on the Indiegogo campaign page where only bona fide backers can post comments. Indeed, there was another such comment posted there earlier today.
On another note, although Chris Meadows did warn readers of the problems which have arisen in regard to this campaign, he also seemed to be making excuses for Michael, excuses which Michael wasn’t even making for himself. Furthermore, in the comments to this article, he also seemed to be praising Michael when he stated, “Say what you will about Michael’s behavior, at least he has actually managed to deliver to most backers—rather than going bankrupt without shipping a thing after taking in literally millions of dollars.” Unfortunately, beyond Michael’s own words, there has been no evidence proffered to support such a claim despite my repeated requests for Chris to either do so or to amend/retract that statement…
So, although Chris did offer a word of warning, his other remarks seemed to undermine it… which is perhaps why Peter asked Chris to take his personal experience into consideration when writing about Good e-Reader’s business practices in the future.
@Ian: Once again, let me say how much I regret we lack the resources for for a full investigation. But you know what? A perfect investigation is not the real goal. Rather it is to help out people who didn’t get their readers. In this regard, I intend to open up a whole new front if Michael ignores my request for an update. So far, unless I’m somehow overlooking an email or it didn’t arrive, he has not responded. I truly hope he will. Even if he has a cashflow problem – let’s see what he says – there is still an opportunity for him to be ethical toward so-far-disappointed customers.
@David: As you haven’t posted back on this topic, I assume that Michael ignored your gesture. I’m not surprised. He has had plenty of time to explain himself and post an update on Indiegogo. He hasn’t. This shows a complete lack of respect for backers who contributed significant sums of money to fund his campaign that is simply astonishing.
As for those backers, they continue to post comments on the Indiegogo campaign page, where only bonsa fide backers can post comments, asking for their promised perks, a refund or even a simple update. The latest such comment was posted just about 5 hours ago.
Ian, can you spread the word that I’d particularly like to hear from Michael’s Canadian backers? I’m not in a position to determine whether he violated Canadian law. But I would like to see what the Canadian consumer protection authorities have to say. People without the promised readers can contact me directly at email@example.com and include summaries of their experiences and documentation and permission to publish their stories if they are not already online. They should use his last name in the subject line. I also would especially like to hear from Michael’s backers – whether in Canada or not – who invested major sums in multiple units. Perhaps in your next comment you can include the URLs most worth paying attention to. I want to make sure I’m not missing out on anything. I can’t promise exactly when the follow-up will appear, since I have commitments, but I would like it to show up within a month if possible. Big thanks.
@David: Many thanks for your efforts in regard to this. I am not sure what will come of it as I suspect that many of the unfortunate backers from the campaign have long since given up their money as lost. However, the information has been posted over in the appropriate thread in the MobileRead forums in the hopes that somebody will see it and repost it to the Indiegogo campaign page. As I was not a backer of the campaign, I am regretfully unable to do this myself. I am also not in direct communication with any of the backers from the campaign.
In case you are interested, much of the history of Michael’s campaign has been carefully documented in the very same thread. I have also attempted to document much of it in my posts to this article and to Chris Meadows’ other article on Good e-Reader’s 13.3″ Indiegogo campaign. Wherever possible, links have been included in those posts so that others might be able to verify the information.
@Ian: Thanks! As I said, I can’t get to this immediately, but when I have the time to do it right, I very much do want to bounce the facts off the Canadian authorities and see if they say or do anything. Best right back.
Michael has just written a short article warning people about an ereader scam on Indiegogo.
Ironically, just as recently as 3 days ago, one of his backers from his very own Indiegogo campaign calling the Good Ereader campaign fraudulent and seeking other former backers interested in suing. Remember, only bona fide backers can post comments on that webpage.
@Chris Meadows. Care to do a follow up article to your follow up article since you gave Michael the benefit of the doubt. It’s been more than a year since the incoming shipment which told us about in this article which was supposed to clear up all the outstanding orders. Whatever happened to it? Not curious?
@Ian: Up to Chris to write what he wants to, if anything. But I do share your interest in seeing if some kind of resolution is possible. Why don’t you pass on a list of questions that I can forward to the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs? I can point OCA to the MobileRead URL you shared earlier. If the law is on the side of the customers, they deserve either ereaders or compensation from Good e-Reader. Thanks. David
@David: Of course, Chris is able to choose whether or not to update this article. Just trying to spur him on to do the right thing. I would have thought journalistic integrity would have compelled him to do so. Perhaps it will yet.
In regard to a list of questions, below is a brief description of what has transpired and a list of questions which ought to be asked. The list is far from exhaustive. If you are communicating with the Office of Consumer Affairs, I would also point them to the comments section on this article and to the comments section on the Indiegogo campaign.
Good e-Reader raised almost half a million dollars Canadian on Indiegogo to fund the production of a 13.3” ereader, later adding a 6.8” device to this campaign. Although Michael Kozlowski and Peter Carotenuto, the two people behind the campaign, surpassed their campaign goal and were able to provide a device to a number of backers, there were significant irregularities with their campaign such that Indiegogo eventually shut down their campaign when it was in the In-Demand stage.
Over three years after the launch of their campaign, backers continue to post comments alleging fraud on the shuttered Indiegogo campaign page where only bona fide backers can post messages.
To determine whether the campaign was conducted in a fraudulent manner, or whether its demise was brought on by incompetence, a number of questions need to be asked. Below are some of the ones which jump to mind:
• How many units of each device were claimed, and how many units of each device were delivered to backers?
• Why was the 6.8” device initially launched on Kickstarter instead of on Indiegogo where their 13.3” campaign had been successful?
• Why was the 6.8” device added to the 13.3” campaign instead of having a campaign of its own, especially after it had failed to receive funding on Kickstarter?
• Why were devices shipped out of sequential order?
• What determined which backers were shipped devices?
• Why did Michael and Peter consistently refuse to post which order numbers had already been fulfilled despite many requests to do so?
• Why did Michael claim in September of of 2017 that they had voluntarily stopped taking new orders to focus on existing ones when in fact Indiegogo had shut down their campaign?
• Why did Indiegogo shut down their campaign if they had truly delivered units to as many backers as they had claimed and if another shipment of units was under way as had been claimed?
• Why did Good e-Reader suddenly start offering their devices for sale on Amazon and on their own website immediately after their Indiegogo campaign was shut down and after Michael had claimed that they were no longer taking new orders to focus on existing ones?
• Why did Peter Carotenuto quietly alter his personal information on Indiegogo so that his name would show up simply as “p” when he had previously been using his full name?
• How is it that Michael was able to claim on his website in February of 2018 that thousands of their devices had been sold and dozens were currently in-stock when there were and still are backers from the Indiegogo campaign who have not received units?
• In July 2018, Michael claimed that Good e-Reader had sold 5000 units of their two devices. In January of 2019, he claimed to have provided over 400 units of the 13.3” device to backers from the Indiegogo campaign. How is it that there are any backers left without devices if so many have been sold? Who have all the other devices been sold to if not to Indiegogo backers and what is the reasoning behind selling it to others when Indiegogo backers continue to wait?
• In April of 2018, Michael, as reported on Teleread, stated that a new shipment of 13.3” devices was expected in early May of that year and that they would probably have too many of them. Whatever happened to that shipment and why more than a year later are there still backers from the Indiegogo campaign without devices?
Excellent questions, Ian, thanks. I’ll welcome questions, too, from other members of the TeleRead community. Any takers? My own big question is whether Good e-Reader may have violated any laws or regulations at any level of government in Canada. If so–I won’t reach conclusions myself–what legal actions will be taken? And what can be done for the customers? David
@David, just saw your email and have sent you a reply. Thank you again for all your time and effort looking into this. Much appreciated.
You’re very welcome, Ian. So glad to help.
I see that the vast ebook crowd is responding to the Ask Jack (Jack Schofield) column [ https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2019/jun/27/whats-the-best-cheap-tablet-or-e-reader-for-pdf-files ] in this Thursday’s Guardian (London, UK) on what would be a good e-book reader for technical A4 PDF papers (slightly larger than US 8.5 x 11 inches)
Ask Jack — Tablet computers
What’s the best cheap tablet or e-reader for PDF files?
Thomas needs a device to read A4 PDFs of technical papers that is cheaper than a good laptop
@David, thank you for your efforts in trying to bring some justice to those backers who were taken in by Good e-Reader. I haven’t heard from the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs and suspect that I won’t. I imagine that, as this was a crowd-funding campaign, it likely falls outside of their mandate.
Unfortunately, I suspect that there is not much that can be legally done for those backers who put up significant funds and didn’t receive a device, a refund or even a credible explanation.
I suspect that the only thing which can be done is to keep the pressure on them by keeping this sordid affair in the limelight. That’s why I’m hoping that Chris Meadows will do the right thing and do a follow up article on this matter asking hard questions rather than giving Michael the benefit of the doubt. Chris reported that Michael had said that a shipment was coming in in May of last year and that he thought they would actually have too many of the 13.3″ devices. If that fabled shipment did come in, it doesn’t seem to have gone to backers from the campaign.
In this regard, below is the latest comment, just 7 days ago, posted on the comments section of their shuttered Indiegogo campaign page where only bona fide backers can post:
Cory Wagner 7 days ago
13.3 Contributer #500 ; YEARS and nothing, even though they are selling on their site. When I commented on their site about the backers never receiving their readers, they banned me without comment. I think class action lawsuit is in order. I just don’t know where to begin. THIEVES.
Thanks, Ian — I would encourage you to post additional updates. The latest news here is that consumer affairs office for British Columbia has just told me that it regulates only specific industries and not e-commerce of this kind. To my knowledge, I haven’t heard back yet from the national consumer affairs office.
Needless to say, like you, I agree that something needs to happen to get at the truth. I would have welcomed the BC office passing on the matter to other provincial and local officials for investigation. In that regard, it would help if you came up with a list of BC residents affected. Of course, even then, I doubt the BC consumer affairs office will act for jurisdictional reasons. But maybe others in BC will take an interest.
Endlessly frustrating, needless to say! Looking ahead, I believe that laws should be changed to prohibit crowd-funding sites from collecting funds for products that go on sale elsewhere for years before all the original backers get their merchandise, if they ever do.
In regard to the hard questions, we’ve already asked Michael to give us statistics on the number of the number of backers who still haven’t received their units. No reply.
As for Chris, it is his decision whether or not to follow through personally. As editor-publisher of TeleRead, however, I myself I will continue to take an interest.
For now, why not point us to the legal language on the crowd-funding site(s) that Good e-Reader used? Any loopholes that Michael was able to take advantage of? I’ll then follow up with the site(s) themselves to make sure we have the full story. Then I’ll do a post in the main area of TeleRead suggesting that it’s time for officials in all countries to revise the laws, since they apparently are not sufficient, so the Good e-Reader situation is not repeated.
@David, Thank you for your update on this issue. I would have replied sooner but was away for the last little while and had very limited access to a computer or the internet – a very refreshing experience.
Unfortunately, I have no way of directly contacting any of the backers from Good e-Reader’s Indiegogo campaign. However, because they fulfilled orders out of sequence, my guess is that those devices which were shipped went to those in close proximity to them whether in terms of physical location or preceived jurisdictional reach.
Good e-Reader has been selling their devices from their webstore while backers of their campaign are still without either a device, a refund or even a credible explanation. A clear violation of the policy.
Of course, Indiegogo is careful to state: “Indiegogo makes no representations about the quality, safety, morality or legality of any Campaign, Perk or Contribution or the truth or accuracy of User Content (as defined below) posted on the Services. Indiegogo does not represent that Campaign Owners will deliver Perks or that Contributions will be used as described in the Campaign. Users use the Services at their own risk.”
However, they also state: “Failure to adequately fulfill Campaign obligations may result in Indiegogo removing the Campaign(s) from Indiegogo, and seeking reimbursement of Campaign funds raised, including by using third-party collections services.”
So, it does seem that, although they are under no legal obligation to do so, Indiegogo could seek to recover funds from Good e-Reader.
@Chris, Please check out the latest comments on the shuttered Indiegogo campaign page.
Still willing to give Michael the benefit of the doubt?
Seems that there still are unfulfilled perks and backers from their shuttered Indiegogo campaign just asking for an update:
Bart Van Mieghem 31 minutes ago
Can we “please” just get an update? you can write, can’t you?
And still backers of their shuttered Indiegogo campaign continue to post comments on their campaign page, which only bona fide backers are able to do, asking for a refund or wondering about a lawsuit. Guess that fabled shipment which we read about here never materialized, or at least, if it did, it never made it to backers from the campaign. Still willing to give Michael the benefit of the doubt?
Just check out the latest posts from the comments section of their campaign page:
claudia oliveira 6 hours ago
Contribution ID : 918
Order date : September 2017
Jason Lee 3 days ago
Hi Lel Lellington, how would you plan to sue? I plan to join. Any action to take?
Bart Van Mieghem 8 days ago
Can we “please” just get an update? you can write, can’t you?
If you check the comments section on the Good e-Reader’s shuttered Indiegogo campaign page where only bona fide contributors can comment, you will find that backers continue to complain that they have received neither a device, nor a refund. There has also never been any explanation nor apology issued by either Michael Kozlowski or Peter Carotenuto from Good e-Reader.
In this article, you offered Michael a platform to further obfuscate. You said you were simply giving him the benefit of the doubt.
More than 18 months on, after Michael’s false words have been exposed for what they are, why do you not hold him to account? Why do you not, at the very least, attempt to correct the record and admit that you were wrong in giving him the benefit of the doubt? Your continued failure to do so reflects poorly upon you.
As for some of the most recent comments:
Direst 16 hours ago
A utilisé nos paiements pour financer son site et ouvrir sa boutique
Tous mes mails que se soit sur son site ou YouTube sont bloqués
Nous avons le cas d’une grosse arnaque
Que fait Indiegogo ?
Il devrait communiquer sur ces sites qui utilisent le crossfunding pour se financer à moindre frais
En attendant j’évite au maximum de contribuer à des projets
Perdre plus de 700euros ne met pas en confiance
S Sharma 21 hours ago
Contribution ID: 353
Contribution Date: August 15, 2016
Estimated Delivery Date: September 2016 (!)
S Sharma 21 hours ago
13.3″ inch reader + accessories + international shipping
And yet another complaint has been posted in the comments section of Good e-Reader’s shuttered Indiegogo campaign page. Not only have such backers not received a device, but they haven’t even received an explanation nor an apology from either Michael Kozlowski or Peter Carotenuto.
How can you not correct the record when you offered Michael a public platform on which to spin his lies? Is it really so difficult to admit that you were duped?
There is no shame in owning up to a mistake. Quite the opposite.
As for the most recent comment:
Harry Blanchard 5 hours ago
I contributed in 2016, 3-4 years, no eReader. Comments show people with contribution numbers in the 800s – and mine is 338, clearly something is amiss. I rather doubt that we’ll get anything from the campaigner, I doubt even a suit would do much except further empty our wallets. Indiegogo, well, look to a refund from your personal page, it says that’s against their policy. Little to do except warn all your friends away from Indigogo as a fun concept, but too risky.
Good morning, Ian. I agree it’s time for more on this. Chris is a volunteer rather than an employee of TeleRead. What counts far more is what we as a site do to help Good eReader customers get their units or refunds. As editor-publisher of TeleRead, I am going to reach out to Indiegogo to see if it will be more helpful than the Canadian consumer authorities were when I contacted them. Indiegogo, at the very least, has a moral obligation here.
Update, November 25: I’ve emailed the new CEO of Indiegogo.
@David, You rock!!
Although some Indiegogo campaigns fail due to the ineptitude of the campaigners, this campaign was different. Michael Kozlowski and Peter Carotenuto acted in a deliberate, evasive and unethical manner. They have never even offered their backers any explanation or apology… even though they regularly post articles, comments and videos on their website, Facebook page and YouTube channel where they have even bragged about how successful their shuttered Indiegogo campaign was.
So, for Chris Meadows to give Michael the benefit of the doubt and to seemingly make apologies for them because some backers (how many?) actually received their device was a bit much.
And then for Chris to hide his head and not own up to his naivete when Michael had obviously played him with his assertion about the fabled shipment that would more than take care of all the outstanding orders but which somehow never seemed to materialize, well, at least not for their Indiegogo backers…
Even though Chris might only be a volunteer, it doesn’t take much time to post a simple comment and/or a brief update at the beginning of an article. I would have thought that integrity demanded it. But perhaps I come from a different time period…
Thank you again for all the work which you have put into this and for allowing me to post updates when so many other such sites would likely have closed comments long ago.
@Ian: In my own name, I’ve added a note to make an important point at the very top of the above article. Do not donate now to any Good e-Reader campaign on Indiegogo or similar sites.
It will be interesting to see if Indiegogo responses to my questions. Rooting for the company to do the right thing! If not, that’s one indication that the new CEO is not turning things around. Questions will arise about the trustworthiness of Indiegogo, not just Good e-Reader. I will then write a post warning people away from Indigo itself. But let’s see what happens. If the CEO really wants to turn his troubled company around, then he’ll lean on Good e-Reader to deliver the merchandise or reimburse its donors.
And yet another comment from a backer who never received a device. Remember that only bona fide backers are able to post comments in the comments section:
Bart Van Mieghem 8 hours ago
Hi, I would like a refund, so i can buy one of those flashy Color e-readers you are presenting on your website.
August 3, 2017
While Good e-Reader continues to list their devices for sale in their own webstore, yet another backer has posted on Good e-Reader’s shuttered Indiegogo campaign page where only bona fide backers can post that they are still waiting to receive a device . Shocking.
Kim Seoungho 14 hours ago
Good-eReader is still listing their devices as for sale on their website, while backers from their shuttered Indiegogo campaign where only bona fide contributers can comment continue to ask for refunds because they have not received their promised perk:
Tiekuan Du 3 hours ago
Contribution ID: 620
Contribution Date: January 16, 2017
Total Contribution: $789.00 USD
Ian, are you taking screenshots?
I have been meaning to write this up, but I will need screenshots to back up the report.
I have screenshots of many of the key points such as:
– the comments section from the Indiegogo campaign page
– the updates section from the Indiegogo campaign page
– the story section from the Indiegogo campaign page
– the two devices shown as for sale on their website
– a blog post where they announce a Valentine’s sale in 2018 (their campaign was shuttered in the fall of 2017) and claim to have sold thousands of the devices
– a blog post where they promise the firmware will be open to the entire community and that a full factory image will be available
– a blog post from 2018 where they claim to have sold around 5000 of the devices
The threads in the Netronix section over on the MobileRead forums provide a useful timeline. They contain many quotations taken from the comments page although some of those comments were later deleted by the campaigners.
I hadn’t looked closely at the Story page from Good e-Reader’s shuttered Indiegogo campaign page in a good while as I hadn’t expected to find anything new there. Consequently, I hadn’t noticed that it now contains a link to their very own webstore and says that the 13.3″ and the 6.8″ devices are both available to order there.
It would be very interesting to know just when this page was last updated to include this information. i can’t see any such information available on the page.
It is very surreal to see that they are able to include a link to their webstore for people to purchase these devices when bona fide backers continue to post in the comments section that they have not received their promised perks.
Michael and Peter can find time to update their Story page with a link to their webstore in order to further pad their pockets, but can’t find the time to offer either an explanation or an apology to out of pocket backers…
How is it that Indiegogo allows them to engage in such egregious behaviour on a shuttered campaign. That is truly shocking. It also truly exposes both Michael Kozlowski and Peter Carotenuto for what they are.
Well, a visit to the Way Back Machine reveals that the link to the Good e-Reader webstore stating that both devices are available there for direct order must have been added sometime after May7, 2019.
Since that time, at least a dozen different backers have posted comments on their Indiegogo page where only bona fide backers can post complaining that they have not yet received either a device or a refund. The most recent complaints have been from the last several weeks.
How is it that Indiegogo would allow Good e-Reader to post such a link advertising their devices for sale when they still have unfulfilled orders from their campaign? Seems that that should be a clear violation of their rules of engagement…
Almost three weeks ago, I sent a couple of emails to Indiegogo alerting them to the fact that there is a link to Good e-Reader’s online store on the story part of their campaign page even though some backers continue to complain about not receiving their perks nor a refund…
Received a form response from Indiegogo saying that they would look into the matter…
And… the link is still there and is still active. That speaks volumes about Indiegogo.
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Agreed, Ian. Indiegogo has ignored my queries. The good news is that the Democrats stand a chance of regaining control in DC. Perhaps we’ll see international Internet commerce get tougher, much-needed regulations with DC providing better leadership. The case you’re documenting is a prime example of the need for such measures.
Ian: FYI. If any US customers following FTC complaint under the existing laws, I’d like to know about it, for the purpose of a pose. Spread the word. Info: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/03/some-online-deals-charge-dont-deliver?page=1
Note: Good e-Reader is a Canadian company. So that might be an issue. On the other hand, Good e-Reader might still be covered via mail or wire fraud laws if violating them — I don’t know. Some hope:
I suspect that they may have sent devices to all those backers whom they believed were within jurisdictional and/or physical reach. However, if I hear of any US backers complaining that they have received neither a device nor a refund, I will certainly try and pass this information along.
Interestingly, the 13.3″ device now seems to be gone from their webstore. Not sure what that means. Did Indiegogo or somebody else finally start asking some probing questions? Or did they just sell their final device?
Glad I took some screenshots while it was still there.
Big thanks for the update, Ian. Yes, I very much hope you’ll pass the information on to any US backers who didn’t get refunds or the promised merchandise. David