Vega+ Shipping Dates
End of September 2016 October 2016 In time for Xmas 2016 February 2017 A "few weeks" from March 10th 2017 Summer 2017 8 weeks from August 9th (October 4th, 2017)
- Mid October 2017
Q1 2017Jump to latest blog entrytop
Saturday 7th January, 2017
Lee Fogarty was found shilling for RCL today. Lee signed up a new Indiegogo account in the name of Nick Roper. Several eagle-eyed people spot that Nick Roper happens to have the exact same photo as Lee Fogarty's profile:
The bare minimum tier pledge level which allows backers to post comments on the Indiegogo campaign was paid and a comment added in the name of Nick Roper.
Once it becomes clear that backers have noticed the shilling, Lee alters the comment so that now it appears that Lee himself has answered it:
Lee posts an explanation about registering to add an old friend to the honour roll. Lee states that he has spoken to RCL and had his own name added anyway, so that he can post as himself from now on. (In private messages later in February, Lee changes his story and says that Nick Roper has in fact been dead for 20 years!)
Sunday 8th January, 2017
RCL ramp up the 1980s trivia on their Facebook and Twitter pages. People begin to ask about the state of the project and why "useless garbage is being posted that has nothing to do with retro computers". Their posts are deleted and users banned from being able to post on the Facebook page.top
Monday 9th January, 2017
George Cropper uploads a video to his Funky Spectrum YouTube channel exposing Lee Fogarty's shilling as Nick Roper.
George highlights several points in his video:
- Lee works for RCL, so there was no need for him to pay £5 to sign up a new account just to add a "life long friend" to the honour roll.
- There is absolutely no instance of a "life long friend" called Nick Roper on any of Lee's social media accounts.
- RCL have claimed that the device is in manufacture already, so shouldn't the honour roll be closed already?
Tuesday 31st January, 2017
Concerned onlooker Jamie Ball donates £5 to the Indiegogo campaign so that he can post in the comments section. After posting comments that ask serious questions and do not show RCL in a favourable light, RCL remove the £5 pledge option to prevent anyone else from doing the same. If you wish to ask any questions and raise pertinent issues, it will now cost at least £10 to have them ignored.top
Wednesday 1st February, 2017
Someone creates/renames an account called "Jamie _Ball" (with an underscore to prevent a duplicate name). The fake account ends up posting 4 times, and here are the messages in order (oldest at the top):
@Peeto, MY KEYBOARD APPEARS TO BE STUCK IN THIS MODE
WELL ITS TEATIME SO I WON’T BE HERE FOR HALF AN HOUR – I THINK MUMS DONE FISH FINGERS AGAIN.
BLEEDING CAPSLOCK – NOT ALOUD TO HAVE MY TEA UPSTAIRS ANYMORE. I WAS PLAYING WITH MY JET SET WILLY AND MUMMY BURST IN – DROPPED MY FISH FINGER SANDWHICH ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD, NOW NOT HAVE TO HAVE TEA AT THE TABLE AND I SWEAR THERES BREADCRUMBS BEHIND THE CAPS-LOCK key ooh wait a minute OH BUGGER…BACK TO TROLLING
GRRR – I’M STILL TROLLING – WE ARE ALL GULLIBLE IDIOTS, NO WAIT, YOU ARE ALL GULLIBLE IDIOTS – THATS BETTER…I AM THE ONLY PERSON IN THE UK WITH MY NAME. ANYONE ELSE WITH MY NAME IS CLEARLY A FAKE….
Friday 3rd February, 2017
As of today Friday 3rd February, Suzanne Martin is shown as the owner of the campaign when contacting Indiegogo:
Campaign Owner’s Name: Suzanne Martin
Campaign Owner’s Email: email@example.com
Saturday 4th February, 2017
After a week of replies on the Indiegogo comments page saying that RCL have something that "everyone was going to love", RCL release a 37 second video of a keyboard plugged into a USB port, then an obvious cut to a close up of the Vega+ that is supposed to show the keyboard working. The video seems to be edited in such a way that you cannot actually see keystrokes on the keyboard typing anything on the console. RCL also say there will be photos to follow:
"Kicking-off the final countdown with a tiny - Saturday Night Update... and the first chance to see the keyboard in action... Stills to follow...."top
Monday 6th February, 2017
The stills from the "keyboard being plugged in" update over the weekend fail to appear.
In a private message, Lee Fogarty claims "police have 20,000 screenshots of abuse from andrews, george, family, etc"
Thursday 9th February, 2017
A High Court Injunction is granted against Retro Computers Ltd, David Levy, Suzanne Martin, and Janko Mrsic-Flogel, in the matter of the unlawful attempt to remove the share of Paul Andrews owned in the company Retro Computers Ltd. Final judgement sealed 28th Feb 2017.
Out of frustration at not being able to comment to warn other people about the project, Codetapper creates the Retro Computers Ltd Vega Plus Public Discussion Facebook group. To begin with there are just a few polls asking people what they think of the project, but the group begins to grow rapidly! The description of the group says:
Public discussion and polls for the recreated ZX Spectrum Vega+ project. This group was created because the company RCL ban people from their facebook group/Indiegogo campaign/Youtube channel, they delete comments if they disagree with them, so they cannot be trusted to run an independent forum. This group was created to try and find out what the entire community (including those that have not made a financial contribution to the campaign) really think about the project.top
Friday 10th February, 2017
The infamous "after" shipping date! A blog post on the RCL website (with Lee Fogarty shown as the author) titled "First Vega + units will ship after the 20th February 2017" is posted. The article blames the previous directors, and ends with the line "We are, however, delighted to say that the first units will ship after the 20th February 2017."
The Indiegogo campaigns lights up in fury as this post is nothing but a "guaranteed not supplied before" date. Hundreds of comments are posted to the Indiegogo comments page.top
Saturday 11th February, 2017
When asked whether Lee Fogarty regretted inventing his shill account Nick Roper, Lee says that is a disgusting allegation and that poor old Nick Roper actually died 20 years ago. Lee claims that Nick's daughter (who was a baby at the time of his death) just happened to be scrolling through the comments section of the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign and saw her Dad's name being dragged through the mud. She apparently knew he was a big ZX Spectrum fan and thought a great way to remember her Dad was to scroll through the comments section of an obscure webpage.
Lee also claims that he posted as Nick Roper, realised it was the wrong name and changed it within minutes, but "trolls" captured it:
Evidence refutes Lee's claim, as a screenshot was captured 20 hours after his Nick Roper post. A second screen capture 20-and-a-bit hours after the original post shows Nick's name suddenly replaced with Lee's, so it had to have been 20 hours later, not "within minutes" as Lee claims.
Monday 13th February, 2017
Lee Fogarty claims that he is nothing to with RCL apart from their website:
There isn't one lol - I am nothing to do with RCL apart from their website :) But hey - the trolls will tell you different!— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) 13 February 2017
Friday 17th February, 2017
Paul Andrews and Chris Smith issue an open letter to RCL and its directors, asking for answers for both them and the backers. (RCL has never responded publicly or privately to this open letter).top
Friday 24th February, 2017
Indiegogo close down the Vega+ campaign due to missed delivery deadlines and a lack of communication to backers. The perks options are all disabled, meaning nobody else can contribute money towards the campaign.
RCL immediately post an update that the honour roll has now been closed.
RCL end with the hilarious Terry Pratchett quote "A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on".top
Saturday 25th February, 2017
A store is added to the new RCL website, with links at the top of the page allowing you to place an order for Vega and Vega+s.
The Vega+ costs £129.99 + £5 shipping, and payment options are PayPal or Store Dummy. At the end of filling in the form, the website throws you back to the beginning:top
Sunday 26th February, 2017
Friday 3rd March, 2017
Several backers on Indiegogo ask for RCL's address, and backer Bryan O copies it from the RCL website and pastes it. In one of the most bizarre responses ever, RCL reply with a sledge-hammer style response:
"That is not Retro Computers Address RCL".
A simple correction would have ended the discussion amicably, but Bryan comes back with:
"You're alive! Thank goodness, I thought you might be trapped under a heavy piece of furniture and unable to reach the keyboard. I got the address from your website btw, so let's say that it's as accurate and correct as the rest of the info found there!"
Please note that this comment (and the 2 replies) have since been deleted from the Indiegogo comments page despite RCL claiming they do not delete comments.top
Wednesday 8th March, 2017
Holly Brockwell publishes an article on Gizmodo UK at 1:30pm with the title "Will the ZX Spectrum Vega Plus Ever Materialise?"
Within hours of the article going live, it is suddenly pulled from the website. All that author Holly Brockwell is allowed to say is "it is being reviewed", and RCL maintain radio silence about the whole thing.
As a trap for RCL, a backup of Holly's article is uploaded to codetapper.com and the link published on the Indiegogo comments section. Codetapper wrote a post saying that the page was online to see who was sending out takedown notices, and if he received a reply that he would publish it for everyone to see.
At 10pm, the trap was sprung by Lee Fogarty, as he sends an email directly to the web host Mythic Beasts with the subject "Illegal article on one of your websites". No immediate action is taken due to the 13 hour time difference between the UK and New Zealand.top
Thursday 9th March, 2017
The awesome guys at Mythic Beasts send a copy of Lee Fogarty's email complaint to Codetapper, and he informs the Facebook group that Lee Fogarty was responsible. As promised, Codetapper publishes a follow-up article Lee Fogarty issues takedown request of Gizmodo article on the site along with his response that Lee just made up a whole pack of lies. It is clear that Lee is working for RCL to issue takedown notices, and the proof has been obtained.
The BBC publishes an article Sinclair ZX Vega+ funding campaign halted by Indiegogo. The BBC were due to publish the article in December 2016, but were threatened with legal action by RCL. The BBC delayed publishing the story to give Suzanne Martin time to provide evidence, but when she failed to do so, the story was published. Highlights of the article:
- Indiegogo halted further fundraising because of delivery delays and a lack of communication to backers.
- RCL's lawyers Michelmores LLP say they are concerned that the BBC is in fact supporting and participating in a malicious campaign intended to denigrate RCL's reputation. They went on to request that the BBC show them its report at least 48 hours ahead of publication so they could identify any false information, which the BBC refused to do.
- The BBC delayed publication of the report to give RCL managing director Suzanne Martin time to provide evidence of the threats RCL claimed, but she did not do so.
Friday 10th March, 2017
A landmark day, as RCL come out with one of their biggest blunders so far on the Indiegogo comments page. Nigel Malin asks "When backers ask for a refund, why don't you give them one" and asking if they will delete his question.
Suzanne Martin replies "We aren't deleting any comments - but we are aware of a number of bugs. Some people can't post. We have never refused to refund a backer."
Lee Fogarty is also active on the Indiegogo campaign, when replying to Jonathan Boyd about the shop on the new RCL website. Lee replies:
"I am well aware I have set the shop up on the website. But there is no direct link to it. I am also aware that Joe Larkin - Paul Andrews employee has been trying to get into the server for some time and regularly looks for new directories and stumbled upon it."
Lee Fogarty's statement is rather strange, as the website had the shop link added on February 25th, 2017. Lee must have some incredible software (that the rest of the world do not have), as he claims he can reverse lookup website accesses back to the actual name of the person! Some wishful thinking must have crept in here.
David Levy posts another excuse/delay on the Indiegogo campaign. This time they discovered that the software for three of the user features had not yet been implemented. They claim to be taking immediate action to rectify this situation but realistically now expect it to take a few weeks before they will be ready to ship the first units. The post then blames the former directors. RCL also claim they will provide updates to their progress as and when they feel it is appropriate. The full post:
Further Delay in Shipping the Vega+
David Levy: March 10th 2017
Retro Computers Ltd regret to announce a further delay in shipping the Vega+ games console.
Explanation for the delay
During what we had expected would be final testing of the product prior to the first shipment, we discovered that the software for three of the user features, which had been announced for the product, had not yet been implemented. We are taking immediate action to rectify this situation but realistically we now expect it to take a few weeks before we will be ready to ship the first units.
This problem is part of the legacy that the company inherited when our former Managing Director, Paul Andrews, and our former Technical Director, Chris Smith, resigned on April 8th last year. In their letter of resignation they wrote:
“We will within 7 days of date of this notice hand over or deliver to the Company any and all assets, work in progress, tech and data currently in our possession and belonging to the company.”
Unfortunately the handover did not include any technical assets, and specifically excluded the software for the Vega+ which had already, in December 2015, been developed to the point of having working prototypes available in time for the January 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We therefore had to create the Vega+ technology completely from scratch, starting in May, and the development work had to be carried out by a small team who did not have any of the specific Vega knowledge and experience of Chris Smith who led the development of both the Vega and the company’s Vega+ prototypes.
In addition to the above problems it is also taking us longer than we had hoped to fill the gaps in our list of 1,000 games caused by some games rights owners withdrawing their permission to employ their games in the Vega+. For some time now Paul Andrews has been contacting rights owners and encouraging them to withdraw their permissions. Why someone who is still a 25% shareholder in the company would do such a thing is a question best asked of Mr Andrews himself. We are making good progress in bringing the number of games back up to 1,000, thanks to many game developers and rights owners who support our project and wish to help us, but we anticipate needing a few more weeks to complete the roster.
The net result of all this is that we expect to make the first shipment of Vega+ units a few weeks from now. We will provide updates to our progress as and when we feel it is appropriate.
Several months earlier, children had apparently discovered the button problem that the RCL testing team hadn't noticed. And yet while they were fixing the buttons, nobody at RCL happened to notice that three user features were missing? Backers ask what the missing features are, but their questions are ignored.
Another update is posted on the Indiegogo campaign that clarifies that RCL have not changed the specifications and are committed to a British product. The full update says:
Very Much Red, White and Blue.
Fact Check - Over the last few days, there has been some speculation that we have changed our technical spec for the Vega+ - we haven't.
It has also been reported that we have switched manufacture to China - we haven't.
We are still committed to a British product, and we have some great new team members who are helping us reach that goal.
We have a planned retail launch this summer - but as previously promised we would deliver to backers before we launch to retail.
Tomorrow we will show you the first Red, White and Blue units....
In a Facebook post, Lee Fogarty replies to a backer asking about when he can buy one by saying "June".top
Sunday 12th March, 2017
Dave Barron (one of the admins on the "democracy" group) posts to Suzanne saying "I think when you get red white and blue on Monday it might be nice to post videos of them working and booting up, not just still images."
Suzanne Martin replies "That is what we always planned to do."
Another backer also asks for the units to be videoed, and if they are working units, to show them starting up. Suzanne doesn't seem to know what she has ordered and says "As far as I know I have been sent working units. They are spending the weekend in a depot."
Dave Barron posts that he will quit the "democracy" facebook group if the images do not materialise the next day. (Dave Barron sticks to his word and quits the "democracy" group when the photos fail to materialise the following day.)
Monday 13th March, 2017
Accounts for RCL are due today, and become overdue as the clock strikes midnight.
RCL post yet another excuse on the Indiegogo campaign, blaming the courier company Parcelforce for sending the units back to the depot despite Suzanne Martin claiming they paid extra for a Saturday delivery:
"On Saturday we planned to post some images and footage of the Red, White and Blue units. Unfortunately, they were sent back to the depot by the courier company. They are back out for delivery this morning, and if they are successfully delivered we can collect them this evening, and we will be able to post some footage and or stills tomorrow."
A number of people found this latest excuse utterly bizarre because courier companies deliver the parcels to you, not serve as a post office where you have to collect them from!top
Tuesday 14th March, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts a small update containing 2 photos on the RCL website:
Rose are Red, Vega+'s are Red, White and Blue.....
So a day later than planned but here for the very first time a sneak peak of our red, white and blue baby Vega's. We will post footage, better stills and another up-date of the screen booting up and playing a game tomorrow...but for now, we couldn't wait to share these beauties with you.....
We hope you agree that they look pretty fine....
The post claims that the photos are "a day later than planned", yet the cases were supposedly going to be photographed and videoed on Saturday - 3 days ago! This time RCL have made sure to strip all properties from the images after being caught out over the fake launch party photos.
David Counihan on Facebook asks for dimensions of the Vega+, and Suzanne Martin says they will be supplied tomorrow:
"Can Suzanne or anybody else in the know tell us all the actual size of the ZX Vega Plus? What is the dimensions and also the size of the screen. Thanks in advance."
Suzanne Martin replies, "I'll set up some shots tomorrow and confirm the dimensions....."
Lee Fogarty confirms he works for RCL when asked "Do you work for the Vega people?" and replies "I work for the vega people on different projects - they have their hands in many pies!"top
Wednesday 15th March, 2017
The backer that was promised the dimensions of the Vega+ by Suzanne Martin posts another message in the "democracy" group:
So yesterday I asked Suzanne Martin "Can we have dimensions of the Vega+. Her reply was and I quote "I'll set up some shots tomorrow and confirm the dimensions....."
So my guestion is where are the dimensions and where is the shots / video?
It doesn't take long to edit a 5 minute video or even to glam it up "Hollywood" style.
Come on Suzanne
As Ronan Keating sings "IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES"
There is also some comedy gold in this screenshot (contains swearing, but click the image to see it!)As it turns out, none of the photos or video of the Vega+ materialise, and for some reason, nobody thinks to pull out a ruler to measure the dimensions of the Vega+.
Suzanne Martin then posts the following about another delay while they give the video "Hollywood" treatment:
We have just up loaded some footage to edit.... this will take time. Our Vega+ babies look great... but please give us a chance to give them the Hollywood treatment they deserve...
Suzanne replies to a couple of people saying she "will keep you informed" and "will update you later" and doesn't. A huge screenshot here is include, but some of the more amusing responses from frustrated forum members to this latest delay are:
- Probably would be better to upload after editing, I know that my editing software is a bit sluggish trying to reference HD footage across a network connection. I find editing it all locally first is a lot easier.
- Hollywood treatment? That's brilliant. I'm super excited for the video. Are you gonna open the video with a nice slow motion pan shot? That would be the bees knees
- Wonder if the extra time is being taken up constructing a bullet time camera.
- The longer the wait, the better the video!
- Am I dreaming or do posts keep vanishing. It sure ain't Memorex on this Facebook thing.
Thursday 16th March, 2017
An article by Gareth Corfield appears in The Register titled Why is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ project so delayed?
In the article, Suzanne Martin denied that the £500,000 from backers had been spent on legal fees, and said that the money had instead been spent on "starting from scratch".
Also in the article, Lee Fogarty is named as part of RCL. The article says, "Speaking on behalf of RCL, Fogarty, has since posted pictures of what he said is a Vega+ onto the company website."
Lee Fogarty complains on World of Spectrum that Gareth's article is biased as he supposedly spent a week with Paul Andrews researching the story, and only a couple of 30 second calls with RCL. Gareth denies this with the following tweet:
@majorrobbb I have just short of an hour of recorded phonecalls with RCL spokesmen, including Mr Fogarty.— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) March 16, 2017
Photo of ZX Vega units (3 in boxes) are finally shown.
The video is finally put online, but after all the delays and hype about giving it the "Hollywood treatment", all it shows are the scuffed prototype units that were manufactured several weeks ago. There are suspicious fades, no boot-up process, the button presses seem to require a huge amount of force and even then do not seem to match what's happening on the screen. One of the units that is shown turned on seems to have developed dead pixels already. These do not appear to be finished units.
The "Arrow certification" that has been present since the 15th of October is revoked.
Preston Thomas (admin of the website spectrum4ever) absolutely loses his rag and posts a blog article called Vega+ News - Mic Drop. Preston (using one of his handles "Sinclair Ferranti") proceeds to call people that have expressed concern about the Vega+ project "fuckwits", and another is an "asshole mouthing off like a 2p whore doing blowjobs all day on Indiegogo". The backlash from the community is swift and brutal, and Preston deletes his entire website within 24 hours. The original article was captured before the site was deleted.top
Friday 17th March, 2017
RCL publish "Just a pile of Vega+'s..." Been hanging out with these beauties...
An article is published by Connor called Crowdfunding Fraudsters: The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+top
Saturday 18th March, 2017
Four days after Suzanne Martin promised the dimensions of the Vega+ (and failed to deliver), Mat Recardo posts an image with his estimates:
Mat calculated the dimensions based on the size of the USB ports. For whatever reason, Suzanne wouldn't pull out a ruler and measure them herself, and only after Mat supplied the figures did she post to say they were correct. Suzanne then asks for permission to use the image herself, but this information is not dispersed to the 4780 backers that might also be interested. If you were not looking in the "democracy" Facebook group, you would not even know about this. (Some people speculate that RCL do not want to give any specific details because if they differ in the final product, they could be pulled up on this. Hence they specialise in vague information).
Somebody else asks how much the Vega+ will cost, and James Waller confirms that the price was £129.99 on the RCL website before it was pulled. Lee Fogarty replies saying that "the site was not pulled and the store was in testing and never public!" An awful lot of people seem to have seen the store that supposedly wasn't there. Lee finishes saying that the store is coming soon.top
Monday 20th March, 2017
RCL regurgitate last weeks video footage and release a second video called "Vega Loading Screens and Music" that shows slightly different cuts of the previous footage. Three Vega+ units are seen already turned on - one appears to be working properly, one has developed dead pixels, and one seems to have crashed on a white screen. Like the previous video, the button presses do not seem to match up with what is happening on the screen. There are multiple fades to black whenever you would expect to see something interesting such as navigating a menu or loading a game.
CEO Janko Mrsic-Flogal (CEO of Planet Computers and one of the directors of RCL) releases an update to the Gemini PDA Indiegogo campaign. He takes the unusual step of clarifying that backers are donating to the project, and that there is no guarantee of a product. This seems very strange considering the campaign is still acquiring funds!
"We just wanted to remind our backers that under Indiegogo's Terms, all contributions are donations to help us create the Gemini PDA keyboard mobile device, and not purchases where you're guaranteed to receive an item. We have every intention of sending your perks out to you, but like many crowdfunding campaigns there might be some bumps along the way."top
Tuesday 21st March, 2017
A concerned backer asks about blue marks on the inside of one of the boxes that the blue Vega+ shell has been stuffed into. In the photo, the box insert has been hacked with a craft knife to make it bigger, and looks like it contains blue smudge marks. Suzanne Martin posts a reply about photoshopping:
Suzanne Martin replies, "no that is a photoshopped blue line - well done for spotting it"top
Thursday 23rd March, 2017
Lee Fogarty leaks a PDF file he created called creepy.pdf which is full of claims about being watched, nails in tyres, photos of motorway sliproad signs and various other claims. According to the file properties, it was converted to a PDF on Tuesday 24th January, 2017.
One of the most interesting claims by Lee Fogarty is the following on page 5 of 7:
"In the summer of 2016, Deidre Harris was showing an interest in the Vega+ on facebook, and claimed to be a backer. She then sent a friend request to myself to initially question the product. It quickly became clear that she is a call-girl as the email address she registered with is also her log-in to several escort sites."
Lee Fogarty seems to have intimate knowledge of escort sites and their login procedures. Which escort site is meant here, and is there a reason why it could not be revealed?
RCL post Well we have some really positive news... on their website. The article claims they've been overwhelmed with offers for games, but they're reaching out for more games. They also state "We’ll have games details coming soon too….. stay tuned".
RCL post a response called Gareth Corfield of The Register published an “investigation” into the Vega+ crowdfunding campaign, trying to discredit him. Despite thousands of ignored comments from backers, RCL claim "Our sole mission is a happy backer - so with that in mind, your support means more than you know."top
Friday 24th March, 2017
Gareth Corfield asks for backers that have been refused refunds to contact him in confidence.
Are you a #zxvega+ customer of Retro Computing Ltd? Have you asked for a refund? Contact me in confidence - firstname.lastname@example.org— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) March 24, 2017
Saturday 25th March, 2017
Paul Andrews releases a statement that backs up Gareth's article saying that it's all supported by facts.top
Tuesday 28th March, 2017
Gareth Corfield contacts RCL giving them warning about an article he is about to publish:
A number of Vega+ backers have contacted me saying they have been waiting, in some cases, months for refunds despite repeated requests. They have shown me evidence of these repeated requests; copies of messages sent to you that they say have gone unanswered. Is RCL ignoring or withholding refunds from Vega+ backers who ask for them? Why are backers going for months with repeated messages to you not being answered? I intend to publish at 1245 today. Your response, as the RCL company spokesman, would be appreciated before then.
Lee posts a rather abusive message back to Gareth, but as courtesy Gareth delays publishing the article a day to allow RCL time to respond. Whenever the media are about to publish an article about RCL, there seems to be a flurry of activity, and today is no exception.
Suzanne replies to a backer on the Indiegogo page asking about their refund and posts "We haven't refused - but this isn't the place to request a refund. If you have requested a refund through the legitimate channels we are working our way through those."
Suzanne Martin claims "We have nearly 20k worth of spammed emails from the last 21 days - we are very small team and we will get to people. We are just working our way through them to respond to people with genuine concerns." If Suzanne has been able to identify 20,000 emails as spam, why can she not just delete them? Some backers post comments wondering if RCL are classing refund requests as spam.
An ex-backer points out that there is a disparity between the number of comments shown on the phone app and the website. It appears that 2172 comments are missing. Suzanne Martin avoids answering his question (possibly because she has admitted to deleting comments in an article in the Inquirer) but instead claims that the backer is being asked to post comments by Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne.
Suzanne Martin posts on the "democracy" Facebook group saying that within 14 days (by Tuesday 11th of April), RCL will have worked through their backlog of emails, including the spam and refund requests. If you believe this post and you have requested a refund by email, you should have your refund within 2 weeks.
"We posted earlier today about several of our email accounts being spammed - We are working through them and estimate this will take up to 14 days. For those saying we should just delete those messages - that isn't an option."
Another backer posts a comment on the Indiegogo page to confirm that RCL are lying about not refusing refund requests. The person had emailed them multiple times without any acknowledgement. They paid by Paypal and went through the resolution centre. Paypal contacted RCL who refused the refund.
Lee Fogarty posts multiple times about a plan by the former directors to bankrupt the company, but Lee ends the conversation by saying that it is all guess work on his behalf.top
Wednesday 29th March, 2017
Gareth Corfield publishes a follow-up article on The Register called ZX Spectrum Vega Plus backers complain of months-long refund delays. The article goes into detail about a large number of people that have been ignored regarding refunds. We learn that Lee Fogarty had asked to be attributed to "an RCL spokesman" in the previous article, and denies that he works for RCL. The article was delayed by a day to give RCL time to respond, which they failed to do. From the article:
We asked a company spokesman for comment. That person had previously given The Register a half-hour interview on 9 March this year, in which they asked not to be named and for their comments to be attributed to "an RCL spokesman". Their full response to our latest request for comment on the delays in refunds and poor communication with backers was: Another 'fact check' Gareth? As you well know, I am not employed by RCL nor am their official spokesman, and I don't receive emails or any correspondence for RCL. Do some homework ffs.
RCL release update #56 on the Indiegogo campaign showing a preview of the proposed Vega+ box design, and a couple of bizarre photos of a monitor showing a sleeve design for the box:
Boxing Clever... So here we go.....first preview of the proposed Vega+ box design. We have tried to stay true to the original "Speccy" designs principles and we hope you like it. We plan to make the box a similar size to an iPhone7 Plus box and the reverse will feature a quick start guide.
A backer posts "My only question is that how was the vega going to be delivered previously promised on 22nd Feb if the boxes weren't even a twinkle in a graphic designers eye?" Suzanne Martin replies "We have had the box design(s) for months."
Chris Matthews posts on the "democracy" Facebook page, suggesting that the image of the Vega+ is such low quality that the graphic designer should be sacked. He suggests that it must be a mockup only and that they must have a finalised version to show. Chris also points out that there is an on-screen tell indicating that RCL are not using a genuine version of Adobe Illustrator. Suzanne re-iterates that the design "was finalised months ago". (This post has since been deleted from the "democracy" group):
As the graphics designer points out, the entire box design looks like it's been cobbled together in a hurry, and a lot of people immediately spot a major problem with this design:
Thursday 30th March, 2017
Vicki Leeming (who was one of the people mentioned prominently in Gareth's article from yesterday) is finally contacted and refunded by RCL. 2 others that have been vocal in the comments section of the Indiegogo page are also refunded. The backers count drops by 3 to 4771, and the funds raised drops down to £512,690.
RCL prove they cannot even check the most basic of facts before posting nonsense on the Indiegogo campaign. In a reply, RCL write:
"Almost everyone posting negative comments here on a daily basis or in the closed Vega Plus Group set up by Richard Ratcliffe and George/Jamie Cropper have never been backers or they have already had a refund. Richard Ratcliffe is posting here on Paul Andrews orders. We have screen grabs to prove this...."There's 4 glaring mistakes in this post. Anyone posting on Indiegogo must have been a backer at some point, as only backers can post. The people posting what RCL call "negative comments" (asking for refunds, asking for updates, asking for the truth) are mainly requesting refunds.
The second mistake is who set the group up - it was Ian, on February 9th:Next up, they say it was setup by Richard Ratcliffe and George/Jamie Cropper. George Cropper and Jamie Ball are 2 different people, yet RCL are implying they are 1 person.
Their final mistake is that Richard Ratcliffe is taking orders from Paul Andrews regarding posting. The truth is that Suzanne Martin has switched the campaign owner back to Paul Andrews so that if anyone on the Indiegogo campaign has a complaint, they are shown his name as the project creator. As Paul Andrews is not a backer, he has no ability to reply on the campaign. Here is the actual message Paul posted, directed at any backer that happened to read the message:
I would be grateful if any of you could occasionally write in the comments section on indiegogo that I am not the campaign owner to flag this to other backers.
We first noticed over Xmas 2016 that strangely my name had appeared as the campaign owner. Our lawyers wrote to indiegogo and 'someone' changed it to the real owner of the campaign and the person who has controlled the RCL bank account since we left back in April 2016. That name being Suzanne Martin.
Once more for clarity myself and Chris left before ANY of the Vega Plus backers funds hit the RCL accounts.
We noticed about a month ago that strangely enough my name had replaced that of Suzanne Martin (again) but this time all in capitals. We have sent many lawyers letters to Indiegogo and will continue to do so of course. Indiegogo as you all know are not very responsive but we will persist maybe using USA lawyers if need be.
Putting my name on the campaign as the owner does not mean I am legally responsible, whoever had the money is, but to use Levys words back on him, 'you would have to ask them why they would do such a thing.'
So as above I would be grateful if at intervals on that comment section backers are reminded who has had their money and who is responsible and answerable to them both morally and legally.
Lee Fogarty claims that the Nick Roper shilling fiasco from January was caused by him putting his (20 year deceased) mate's name in but pulling out when he saw the campaign owner. According to Lee, when he decided to back the Vega+, Nick Roper's name magically appeared. Here's his post:
@Daniel. I registered on indiegogo for the FIRST campaign. It was my understanding the role of honour was for the registered name. I put my mates in. I then saw the name of the campaign owner, and knowing his history decided not to back it. I have backed the Vega+, and made ONE comment - someone asked for a video - before realising it was the same name and immediately changed it. It was screenshotted within a minute and since then his daughter has been hounded off fb. But you knew that anyway…
There's 2 huge problems with Lee's version of events:
- The screenshot showing "Nick Roper" as the author was captured 20 hours after Lee posted it, and a short time after that, Lee realised his shilling was exposed and changed the name. "20 hours later" does not seem the same as "immediately changing it".
- Assuming anybody actually believes that Nick Roper existed, Lee has never mentioned the name of Nick's daughter. Nick Roper has only been ever mentioned in 10 comments on Indiegogo (over the last 3 months, up until today 30th March 2017). Lee would have people believe that backers somehow tracked down this unnamed daughter down and hounded her so much that she shut down her Facebook account! Lee's other version was that she happened to be reading the Indiegogo comments when she saw her Dad's name being dragged through the mud and shut down her account.
Friday 31st March, 2017
Another deadline is missed without a response from RCL. David Levy's statement on Friday 10th March, 2017 saying that they "expect it to take a few weeks before they will be ready to ship the first units" ran out today 31st March, 2017.
SMS Electronics may not find this quite so amusing, but somebody managed to link a joke photo of the Vega+ to the SMS Google Maps entry. The fake Vega+ unit appears as the cover photo for some viewers:
- All refunds processed: ✘
- Roll of honour email: ✘
- Address confirmation: ✘
- Battery specification: ✘
- PEGI certification: ✘
- Final specs released: ✘
- Games list released: ✘
- Finished box design: ✘
- Manual released: ✘
- Final devices made: 0 ✘
- Prototypes made: 20-30 ✔