tl;dr: oneTesla sent me something expensive by mistake, I told them, got no reply, and 9 months later they want me to pay for it. I think their ethics are screwy and I want to know if it happened to you.
Last year I supported the ‘TinyTesla’ Kickstarter by oneTesla. Everyone who’s ever heard of a Tesla coil has thought it would be cool to have one, and the TinyTesla looked to be the right balance ready-made-circuit-board, kit and price.
I got mine through the post in March 2015. Excitedly I checked the parts list and found that the toroid was missing. I emailed with photos and OneTesla replied promptly, sending out spare parts. I’m in the UK and they’re in the US, so I expected shipping to take a while.
Not long after, I received another kit through the post. I assumed that this was a goodwill gesture: rather than send me just a torus, they send an entire new kit! I’ve had similar experiences on Amazon when kit has showed up damaged. It’s above-and-beyond, but not unheard of. I thought no more about it. At some point the replacement parts arrived.
I’ve had busy year and I didn’t get round to putting together either kit. This is 9 months ago.
In April 2015 I got an email from oneTesla saying that they had had shipping problems and had sent duplicates out by mistake. They asked me to fill in a survey, which I did.
Months passed. I forgot about the Kickstarter and left the kit in storage somewhere waiting for a rainy day to put it together.
Until a few days ago, when a mail arrived from Marissa Dupont oneTesla demanding money from me.
I think this is entirely unreasonable. I’m sympathetic that they made a mistake, but it’s their mistake not mine. In the 9 months in which they knew they’d erroneously sent out the kits, they did nothing. They sent no communication to say that they were going to want them back. It would have been reasonable for me to make both kits if I’d had the time.
I believe that this was a genuine error, but demanding money this long after the event seems to be fraudulent. If I sent them something valuable, waited 9 months and then demanded they pay for it, I’m not sure they’d see it quite the same way.
Not only is it appalling customer service, but their ethics appear to be broken. This is especially disappointing because Kickstarter projects are about everyone coming together to pledge to support someone with a good idea. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see this behaviour from $MEGACORP-of-your-choice but it was surprising from a Kickstarter. Projects often fail because of practical issues, and that’s part of the gamble you make when you pledge. Ethics shouldn’t be.
Has this happened to anyone else? What are you going to do?