Sometimes, the hardest advice to take is your own. Every time I write about a crowdfunded hardware campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo I include a “buyer beware” disclaimer. These types of projects have a tendency to run into production issues that either severely delay their fulfillment (see: Spinn coffee maker) or result in the product not being fulfilled at all (see: Rite Press).
Despite knowing all that, last September I plunked down $99 (plus $20 for shipping) for the Chopbox, which promised to be a cutting board + timer + sanitizer + scale + knife sharpener all in one. Sure it was a bit gimmicky, but my cutting boards were getting long in the tooth so I figured why not.
The original ship date promised by the Yes Company (creators of the Chopbox) was December 2019. Given that I backed it in September of 2019, the three-month turnaround seemed too good to be true. And yet, I proceeded, though knowing in the back of my mind that it would most likely be delayed.
And delayed it was.
In February of 2020, the Yes Company said it had experienced delays in China because of the then-emerging COVID-19 pandemic. But in the subsequent months there have been more production delays. Long story short, almost a year after the initial ship date promise, I have yet to receive my Chopbox, and, it looks like neither have most other people.
According to a company update on Kickstarter this week, the Yes Company said it shipped “two batches” (whatever that means) to the U.S. and Europe. In the same breath however, the company said that shipping has gotten more expensive over this past year and it asked backers to cough up more money. In my case, I think they are asking for an extra $30, but it’s hard to tell based on the information they provided.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Yes Company has sold or is selling Chopboxes on the general market at Touch of Modern and on the Yes Company website (though when you try to actually buy it on the Yes website, it returns a message saying “We are not able to accept online payments,” which is… weird for an online transaction). It’s unclear whether these transactions are being fulfilled before crowdfunders get theirs. We reached out to the Yes Company to find out more information.
The comments section of the Chopbox Kickstarter campaign has understandably lit up with disgruntled backers demanding refunds and cries of “scam.”
I can’t go that far, but I’m definitely not giving the Yes Company any more money or back anything they do again. I should have heeded my own advice. Hopefully I won’t get similarly burned by the Bru tea maker I also backed last year and have yet to receive.