TikTok mistakenly refunds Bambu Lab A1 3D printer buyers — newer, non-faulty models flagged along with those that pose a safety risk

A1 Recall
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If you’ve recently purchased a Bambu Lab A1 on TikTok Shop and received a notice that you're getting a refund because the machine is faulty, hold on a second before you toss it in the dumpster. It’s probably fine. 

Recalled A1 3D printers can be identified by their QR code, which has an A on the sixth digit. Faulty machines were manufactured and sold before January 30, 2024. If your printer was manufactured after January, it has the new, safer heat bed cables.

US Consumer Product Safety Commission (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We reported on the recall of Bambu Lab’s A1 in February 2024, when the company tried to quietly replace faulty heat bed cables by providing new heater modules or entire printers to customers who could provide photos of damaged cables. The initial voluntary “call back” quickly blossomed into a no-questions-asked replacement of any A1 purchased before January 30, 2024.

Bambu Lab immediately removed the A1 printer from store shelves while the company worked on a fix. Replacement heat beds began shipping in April, followed soon after by replacement printers to those who could not rewire the printers themselves.

Consumers were alerted to the potential hazard by Bambu Lab through emails, social media and the printer’s own Bambu Handy app. However, the recall notice didn’t reach the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission until June 13.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Enter TikTok Shop, where social media influencers encourage their fans to buy products they love without leaving the app. If you’ve scrolled #printok, you’ve probably seen 3D printing TikTokers promoting Bambu’s printers.

TikTok Shop provides the digital platform connecting sellers and buyers, and handles the transfer of funds. Though Bambu Lab is the official merchant – providing the physical goods and handling shipping – any TikToker with over 1000 followers can promote merchandise within the TikTok Shop and receive a commission.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

After seeing the bulletin, TikTok began issuing refunds for all A1 printers sold on it’s platform, without consulting Bambu Lab first. TikTok even refunded new printers unaffected by the recall.

“Last Thursday, their team saw the CPSC bulletin and, 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘂𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝘄𝗮𝘆, decided to refund 𝗘𝗩𝗘𝗥𝗬 A1 printers bought from this shop, even advising customers to keep or destroy the printers (so much for resource conservation!).” said Cedric Mallet, Bambu Lab’s Business Development Director on LinkedIn.

Mallet went on to say that his company will not receive revenue on thousands of printers sold through TikTok. He said that Bambu Lab is also hearing from angry content creators who have lost commissions on canceled sales.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Bambu Lab made a statement on X, formerly Twitter and on Facebook, stating the company would contact customers who received refunds to “discuss potential solutions to this situation, and we would appreciate everyone's help in solving this matter.”

Though this led to crazy speculation that Bambu Lab would remotely brick unpaid for machines, Mallet dismissed consumers concerns. “No one is at risk. We won't block the printers; our customers shouldn't bear the cost of this recklessness. We'll count on our customers' goodwill as we reach out to them individually to request payment for the printers they've acquired. And hopefully, we will be able to recover.”

Denise Bertacchi
Freelance Reviewer

Denise Bertacchi is a Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering 3D printing. Denise has been crafting with PCs since she discovered Print Shop had clip art on her Apple IIe. She’s been a freelance newspaper reporter, online columnist and craft blogger with an eye for kid’s STEM activities. She got hooked on 3D printing after her son made a tiny Tinkercad Jeep for a school science project. Excited to learn more, she got a Creality CR10s and hasn’t looked back. She loves reviewing 3D printers because she can mix all her passions: printing, photography and writing. When she’s not modding her Ender 3 Pro or stirring glitter into a batch of resin, you’ll find her at the latest superhero movie with her husband and two sons. 

  • Phyzzi
    If only there was some kind of social media platform Bamboo could use to reach these buyers...
  • USAFRet
    I wonder how many small retailers TikTok just screwed over with this.
  • emike09
    Don't do TikTok, kids. Save your soul.