Indiegogo Scam?

A year ago I came to IndieGoGo and found an item that looked interesting:

IndieGoGo: Ping GPS

This device promised to be a gps based tracker that you could use to keep your kids/family safe.

The way the PingGPS campaign was described, it felt like a sure product that you’d get.  Simply put the money up and you’ll get the perk.  I put money into the campaign to get one of the perks.  I errorenously assumed that if they met their financial goals, I’d get the perk/product I paid for.

WRONG.

As you’ll see below, IndieGoGo support informed me that even if a campaign meets their goals, you may never get the perk/product, and they’re ok with that.  In this case, this camapgin raised over $1M (and their goal was only $50k.)  A year later, I have yet to see the perk.

 

Ping GPS Never Ships

The target ship dates kept getting missed. I wrote in to the main thread at Ping’s IndieGoGo campaign and we were promised, “any day now…” or given shipping targets within the next few months.  One by one, each target was missed.  Now over a year later, I still haven’t got my Ping GPS.

Contacting IndieGoGo

This is where the reality hit me.  IndieGoGo has no customer support. No protection against scams.  They will not offer you a refund, if your money was sent to the campaigner.  So I’m out of luck, as the campaigner keeps promising me ship dates that never happen.

Below is a letter from IndieGoGo’s support team to my complaint about this:

“Thank you for checking in about this campaign. At this time, the campaign, ‘Ping – The World’s Smallest Global GPS Locator’, is under review to ensure that it adheres to our Terms of Use.

Perks are offers made and managed solely by campaigners. Indiegogo does not guarantee that campaigns will succeed or that perks will be delivered. However, campaigners are expected to be communicative and responsive to their backers. To help facilitate communication, here is the campaigner’s contact information:

Campaign Owner’s Name: Joshua Lippiner
Campaign Owner’s Email: hello@pinggps.com
Website: http://pinggps.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FindPingGPS/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/pinggps

Thank for your understanding.”

They made it clear to me that they “do not guarantee that a campaign will succeed or that perks will be delivered.”  Yes, I know we can’t guarantee that a campaign will succeed, but if it does succeed (i.e. they met their monetary goals to delivery the product), I expect it to be honored.  IndieGoGo says they don’t even guarantee that.

In other words, even though PingGPS raised over $1M dollars (and their goal was $50k), they are not held to deliver any product.  They can simply take the money and run and IndieGoGo offers no help other than, “go talk to them” as they’re not involved.

It’s like a weird marketplace where the seller can just choose not to deliver the goods and the marketplace is ok with it.

Complaints Against IndieGoGo

While IndieGoGo has retained good standing with the BBB, the reviews on the BBB site for IndieGoGo are abysmal (almost all negative, and relatively the same type of story as me.)  So how can the BBB give them an A+ rating?   I mean they are literally saying on one hand, “come here and buy this now!” and on the other hand (which is somewhat unspoken until you have an issue), “but we don’t guarantee you’ll ever get it, but sure give us your $$.”

Here are some of the reviews from the BBB for IndieGoGo, which you can also reference via this link:

Review This company steals and doesn’t protect the backers. They support campaigners who ignore the people paying the money. Its a scam of a company supporting other scammers. I wish I had read all these reviews about Indiegogo first! The product I bought that never got delivered was the HALO BACK. Delay after delay 11 months and counting and now the product is outdated based on the new iPhone 8. Repeated emails to both Indiegogo and Halo Back without any response. If you’re reading this do yourself a favor and search ** for The Indiegogo **** and join the page to find out how to bring a stop this is shameful company.

 

I’m just adding my voice to all the other reviewers. Indigogo is operating with impunity as a site for scam artists and fraudsters. They no longer answer their phone nor do they reply to emails. Tens of thousands of people have been scammed out of millions of dollars. The complaints on so many sites are mounting, The anger people feel is so sad. I too was scammed on a solar charger called Solartab. There are so many others, Silent Partner was a big one. They promote campaigns/products through email lists and people assume they have some basic consumer protection. The understanding of the “backer” concept is limited at best. Many people, especially older people think they are ordering something. The scam artists delay and promise delivery until the 6 month window to dispute the charge with your credit card has passed. (Even with that many reviewers have said that the chargebacks are denied by Indiegogo) Eventually the campaigners go silent, and Indiegogo ultimately stops the campaign, but they have already been paid and have indemnified themselves of any responsibility by claiming to be a middleman. Their terms of use and trust and safety promises are empty. I just hate that they are getting away with it! And *** **** *** *** **** **** ** ** ****** **** *** *********** ** ******** ******* *** **** ******** ** ******* ********** **** ** ***** ** *****

 

Indiegogo has a deceptive way of profiting off of people as they design their campaign templates to appear as if you are indeed “purchasing” a perk, and it’s my understanding you can’t post any questions to the campaigner, until AFTER you have made a “contribution,” and at that point they both have your money regardless of what happens. What’s worse is that in my case it was shown that the “campaigner” was in NY, but all correspondence regarding the “delivery” of my “perk” (sent out supposedly almost 2 months ago yet repeatedly delayed due to a Chinese holiday) has come from South Africa. It’s extremely suspicious that it listed NY on the campaign page. Yes, I was “scammed” into losing money, never receiving my “perk” even though the product was indeed made and can now be found at ******* and on ******. Indiegogo takes no responsibility when campaigners take the money and don’t follow through – I guess as long as they have their money, that’s all that matters. It WILL be the last time I support any Indiegogo campaign and it truly is “buyer beware!”

Consumer Affairs – IndieGoGo

Moving on to consumeraffairs.com we find more complaints against the company, all with the same sentiment.

I am deeply disappointed in Indiegogo, and how they are unwilling to pressure the corrupt people from -DiiFA- who they have campaigned for. Don’t they feel any responsibility? The product (wireless ear buds) were expected to be delivered in November. Now 4 months I have exactly nothing. Indiegogo is not available for complaints regarding the delivery of my order. They just forward my complaint to DiiFA. And DiiFA is just making up stories. Nothing happens. Money gone? One can still view the campaign. It gets me to think that Indiegogo approves of such fraudulent campaigns!? And the crazy thing is, people are still contributing. Is Indiegogo not warning them? In the meantime another campaign has started where one can acquire wireless earbuds. Please be careful before gambling with your money.

 

A year after purchasing I still don’t have anything. I supported campaign that promised a perk. In Jan 2017 I paid £ 105 I have still not had anything. Numerous emails and contact but nothing! My emailed get marked as solved on their happiness site but I never get a response – utterly disgusting customer service.

 

Purchased a Sinclair Vega + on the site from Retro Computers on 20th February 2016!!! No item received, company won’t respond to refund or simple requests for information, Indiegogo won’t reply to my contacts either. Seems they don’t validate who they allow on there and don’t care about the end customer, very poor.

 

Biggest regret when I thought I get an e-bike for my husband’s birthday. They kept delaying the delivery date when flashing their trips all around the world, giving all sorts of excuses. If you value your money, keep it with you. DO NOT SUPPORT ANY CAMPAIGNS on Indiegogo.

 

I sent 3 complaints to Indiegogo, following instructions and I never even got an e-mail! Alpha – The World’s Smallest 4K Action Camera is a YEAR late, does not have the product yet, does not have a shipping date, keeps posting ridiculous updates just to calm people’s nerves. Every month, the update moves the production and shipping date, they have some lame photos that don’t show anything… And here is the kicker: THEY WILL NOT REFUND OUR MONEY! Not to mention, they keep deleting backers who tell people not to back them and not to back Indiegogo campaigns. Indiegogo has completely ignored their backers and show total lack of accountability. I HAVE BEEN SCAMMED.

 

Each of the above quotes from Consumer Affairs and BBB sound exactly like my story.  There’s this central theme:

  • Slick Campaign
  • Shipping dates are missed
  • Promises are made
  • Money is taken
  • IndieGoGo shrugs responsibility and tells you to take it up with the scammer

What Can We Do?

Well First of all, don’t let your greed outway better judgement. If you’ve read this far, you know my story and the stories of others. You can do your own research and discover the likelihood that the campaign you put money into (even if they make 10x their goal, will probably not give you anything and IndieGoGo will not help or assist.)

Simple, don’t use IndieGoGo.

Second, if you have been scammed by someone on IndieGoGo, go through the proper complaint process. Get it in writing that they take on responsibility and promise nothing.  Get it in writing.

Third, take the emails from IndieGoGo support (saying they promise nothing and take no responsibility) and contact your local congressional representative.  Most of them are very open to helping their constituents who feel they’ve been the victim of fraud.

While IndieGoGo is technically legal, they are doing something unethical and as the gravity of this mounts, they must be taken into careful scrutiny by the government, IRS, BBB and Consumer Affairs.  At some point they will feel the pressure and have to change their actions to make some sort of guarantee to customers (i.e. if the person meets their goals, you get the item.)