After Pebble confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Best Buy would exclusively carry its new Kickstarter-funded smartwatch starting July 7, many customers who pre-purchased the device as either a Kickstarter backer or during the general pre-sale wanted to know where their investment had disappeared. If Pebble has enough units to supply Best Buy, then why have they been waiting for months and still see no sign of a shipped product?
The Pebble Forum currently reports that Kickstarter orders for Black, Red, Orange, and Grey "should all have shipping notices now". Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky also claims that all Kickstarter backers who ordered Black Pebbles had their orders shipped over a month ago. Meanwhile, consumers who pre-ordered the smartwatch outside the Kickstarter project "should all be in Step 3 or later" for the Black, Red, Orange, and Grey units.
"We’ve fulfilled 93 percent of our Kickstarter backers already (leaving around 6,000 white watches that are shipping right now)," Migicovsky told The Consumerist. "We’ve also shipped out 13,000 pre-order Pebbles to people who have placed paid pre-orders for Pebble. At Best Buy, only Black Pebbles will be available."
But as The Consumerist points out, the statement doesn't explain why "hordes" of consumers are flooding the Pebble Forum and elsewhere with complaints that they backed the project and still haven't received a product.
"I preordered my black Pebble back during the backing and had paid upfront and never heard a word about when I would get my watch," said one Kickstarter backer. "I sent messages and was told May… No word after May… then told late June… Then no word… Then on into July and now they are going to sell at Best Buy before I even get any type of notification. Horrid experience and has pushed me to cancel my order… Just crazy."
One customer claims to be one of the first Kickstarter funders who still hasn't received a Black Pebble, while another claims some people report getting their watch delivered before the site says it shipped. For the Kicksterter backers and pre-paid customers, it sounds like the shipping department is having major issues. It is, after all, a brand new product.
“After experiencing the trials and tribulations of shipping out over a hundred thousand Pebbles, [they] made a tough decision [to work with Best Buy] to help get Pebbles out into the wild in the US," Migicovsky said in an email. He also said certain colors were harder to injection mold, thus the reason why the company offered Kickstarter backers a chance to switch to the Black model and have it shipped immediately.
The Black model will be available at Best Buy starting July 7, followed by the red model in August. Customers who haven't paid for the pre-order can simply purchase the smartwatch in-store and then refuse to pay when their position in the pre-order queue comes up. Or just keep waiting… maybe it will arrive by the time Google and Apple begin selling their own solutions.