e-ink keyboard (The Sonder Scam)

AliQ80

08 Jan 2019, 20:02

Hi All,

Just discovered this amazing site , I thought I would share my story with sonder design a startup keyboard company that has been taking preorders for years, I don’t want to sound hard, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been scammed, I just dont want anyone else to fall for the same scam.

A few years back I paid for a keyboard with a startup company I don’t know if you heard of them “Sonder Design”
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Infinite possibilities at your fingertips
World’s first E Ink™ keyboard


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of course I never got the keyboard despite many communications with them but every time if I nag enough they would reply with “sorry for the delay your order was stuck” or “didn’t go out with the previous patch” , as if someone has ever got a unit , Then they promise to send me a unit with the next patch that will take three or more monthes (which never happens), but I guess they are counting on me cooling down and forgetting about it.

Even more amazing that if you search online you will not see any one stating that this is a scam , (which it clearly is considering they are still taking preorders after all these years).

Instead what you will find are big companies interviewing them and praising them (I think they got an award at some point, but not sure) , and I’m talking about the likes of (Ycombinator) and (techcrunch) who just interviewed them lately, and there time frame is as always next year :?

https://youtu.be/M7WwDmE82E8

You can see I replied to sonder on that video when they welcomed any questions, providing all the information about my purchase and the reply I got is, what email have you been communicating with? As if to say we never heard from you, I replied providing them with the email (which by the way is the same email they always use) , and invoce number , you can see it in my comment on the TechCrunch video, but no reply since then.

For anyone wondering, The email I contacted before and used to get reply from is [redacted]@sonderdesign.com and my invoice ID is (WC-3175) on May 17, 2016 and the last email I got was on Oct,18 2017 telling me that my order was no longer stuck in processing but they were sold out and I have to wait for the December / January batch of 2018.

I sent an email the same day asking for clarification what it means that you are sold out and if any units have already been shipped before, but never heard back or received anything since then.

Please don’t take my word for it, investigate by contacting them and asking if you preorder today how long will it take to get a unit? This has been going on for years so lots of people must have fallen for it.

I even asked them if there was a delay I would accept if I'm updated but instead they seem to be deceptive by continuing to promise dates and disappearing or implying that they are sold out.

I wish that I'm wrong, and they are a real company, if someone has ever seen a unit please tell me, if not please inform people of the scam so this doesn't happen to anyone else.

User avatar
matt3o
-[°_°]-

08 Jan 2019, 23:55

in the kickstarter era this story is unfortunately not new. I will try to contact Sonder to see if they send me a review sample. Let's see what happens.

PS: I redacted the email address you posted

AliQ80

09 Jan 2019, 05:35

matt3o wrote:
08 Jan 2019, 23:55
in the kickstarter era this story is unfortunately not new. I will try to contact Sonder to see if they send me a review sample. Let's see what happens.

PS: I redacted the email address you posted
I realize that this is not new , but as most crowd funding projects if they have a delay usually they communicate that to their supporters , or if the project failed they might say we apologize we spent all the money but things didn’t go as planned, even that would have been acceptable.

But to claim success and now they are promoting a whole laptop coming soon, which means that the keyboard may not be getting as much money as it used to , so maybe try to spin it on another angle.

I’ll keep my eyes open to see what they would reply to you :shock: , thank you for taking the time to help.

User avatar
adhoc

09 Jan 2019, 11:02

Dang, that’s a shame. The board otherwise looks really interesting.

AliQ80

09 Jan 2019, 14:19

adhoc wrote:
09 Jan 2019, 11:02
Dang, that’s a shame. The board otherwise looks really interesting.
I agree , it is a shame, and to me it was so interesting that I waited since 2016 until now 2019 to accept that I’ve been scammed, and knowing that now, I have to speak out.

I think I gave them enough time to prove they are a real company with a real product, Anyone thinks I am rushing into conclusions here?! :)

User avatar
matt3o
-[°_°]-

09 Jan 2019, 15:40

I contacted "Sonder Design". A guy Francisco Serra-Martins replied very promptly and he was generally very nice.

First of all there is no keyboard, yet. He explained to me that they had issues with a previous investor and they had to find new partners to release the keyboard (and a laptop apparently).

He says that the keyboards should go to production after the Chinese new year, but he did not provide any fixed date.

He is also not willing to send me a prototype for review (or pictures) but he offered to do a videocall to show me his prototype and the software. I don't think it would make any difference to look at a prototype on his hands now, so I declined and asked to do a chat when the keyboard will be actually produced.

So... realistically I'd say that you'll have to wait at the very least 6 months. I'll contact him again in a few months to see if anything changed.

AliQ80

09 Jan 2019, 17:08

matt3o wrote:
09 Jan 2019, 15:40
I contacted "Sonder Design". A guy Francisco Serra-Martins replied very promptly and he was generally very nice.

First of all there is no keyboard, yet. He explained to me that they had issues with a previous investor and they had to find new partners to release the keyboard (and a laptop apparently).

He says that the keyboards should go to production after the Chinese new year, but he did not provide any fixed date.

He is also not willing to send me a prototype for review (or pictures) but he offered to do a videocall to show me his prototype and the software. I don't think it would make any difference to look at a prototype on his hands now, so I declined and asked to do a chat when the keyboard will be actually produced.

So... realistically I'd say that you'll have to wait at the very least 6 months. I'll contact him again in a few months to see if anything changed.
I’m so thankful you’re taking the time for this, I talked to him before too , He is a very polite guy, and if I’m not mistaken he is the company owner and CEO .

But as I previously predicted (and mentioned above) they always throw things away for a good three to six months in the hopes of either everyone moving on, or maybe squeezing as much out of people as they can.

I have waited all this time and I have no problem (or choice) but to wait for another six months, but I feel he will have some excuse and another delay, I think he is good in dealing with people that way, I could be wrong but he could have easily communicated with us on whatever issue he is facing, (and we may probably accept) but he chose to send me this email instead


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Saying things like “We’re sold out of the curren units”, and “next patch” sounds like they cant keep up with the demand :? :) , but it’s just saying hold off for three or four months , and now more than a year later they are asking to wait another six months without showing any signs of them working on anything or any progress being made.

If I’m just an angry paranoid guy, please somebody tell me, maybe you’re right, maybe I don’t have the right to say all of this, or I’m way too hard on them, I’d love to hear what everyone thinks

User avatar
adhoc

09 Jan 2019, 17:15

It’s a little weird they told matteo they have no working units yet, but told you they’re sold out and that you have to wait for the next batch...

AliQ80

09 Jan 2019, 17:50

adhoc wrote:
09 Jan 2019, 17:15
It’s a little weird they told matteo they have no working units yet, but told you they’re sold out and that you have to wait for the next batch...
Exactly, Thank you.

What I’m trying to say they seem to try not to make a lot of public statements so they don’t get caught on a discrepancy which would bring suspicion to their whole business , but as you can see things are starting to show out.

I even have a theory they may be putting all this show to scam some investors, but that is just a theory.

Anakey

10 Jan 2019, 01:21

was just reading a report on bbc news the other day and apparently they are exhibiting at CES https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46715334 (scroll down the article just before the Drones heading) so it looks like they do actually have at least a prototype product

User avatar
chuckdee

10 Jan 2019, 03:27

There's another one by a French company that looks like a similar idea, but the layout is different. I wonder if it is going to be vaporware also.
https://www.nemeio.com/en/

andrewjoy

10 Jan 2019, 11:10

Its an interesting idea.

But would they not be better with sharp memory LCDs ? The contrast will be way better.

User avatar
vvp

10 Jan 2019, 11:26

andrewjoy wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 11:10
But would they not be better with sharp memory LCDs ?
USB2 gives you only 2.5 W. That would not be enough for LCDs.
They would be limited to USB3 with Power Delivery.

andrewjoy

10 Jan 2019, 11:39

vvp wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 11:26
USB2 gives you only 2.5 W. That would not be enough for LCDs.
They would be limited to USB3 with Power Delivery.

Normal LCDs yes, not sharp memory LCDs , they as little as 6 µW to show a static image and use about 50µW when updating an image.

User avatar
vvp

10 Jan 2019, 13:42

Thanks for pointing out the low power consumption of sharp memory LCD.
e-ink has better viewing angles. That may be a reason to prefer it. Isn't e-ink also cheaper?

Edit: Yes, eink seems to be slightly cheaper.

User avatar
Sup

10 Jan 2019, 21:09

I always hate start ups they can just run away with the money people invested into their product and get nothing in return. Most of the time they say sorry this that happens and keep making excuses so the protection time let's say from Paypal expires and the costumer can't do a claim to get there money back and then they claim the company is bankrupt and run off with the rest of the money.

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

11 Jan 2019, 15:10

Sup wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 21:09
I always hate start ups they can just run away with the money people invested into their product and get nothing in return. Most of the time they say sorry this that happens and keep making excuses so the protection time let's say from Paypal expires and the costumer can't do a claim to get there money back and then they claim the company is bankrupt and run off with the rest of the money.
On the other hand, one should be aware of the risk.

At the moment Sonder's website offers only the possibility to "pre-order" with no deadline (just "available soon").
Put another way, you send them $238 ($199 + a $39 flat fee for shipping and handling) and they are under no enforceable obliglation.



By the way, there are two things which should be read together on their website. One is in their description of the keyboard:
Every Sonder keyboard is unique, personalise it your way. Perhaps you use your Sonder as a bloomberg terminal, or for audio editing; with Sonder all your settings are saved automatically to the cloud.
and the other is in the Liability clause of their Terms and conditions:
[…] in no event will the Company […] be liable for any […] damages whatsoever, including […] loss of confidential or other information, […] loss of privacy […].
Well, good luck then :lol:

FranciscoSonder

Yesterday, 06:40

AliQ80 wrote:
09 Jan 2019, 17:50
adhoc wrote:
09 Jan 2019, 17:15
It’s a little weird they told matteo they have no working units yet, but told you they’re sold out and that you have to wait for the next batch...
Exactly, Thank you.

What I’m trying to say they seem to try not to make a lot of public statements so they don’t get caught on a discrepancy which would bring suspicion to their whole business , but as you can see things are starting to show out.

I even have a theory they may be putting all this show to scam some investors, but that is just a theory.
Not exactly, we have shipped units to over 40 countries, demonstrated units are CES a week ago, and are TechCrunch, additionally there are indemnity; we are not a limited liability company so as a director we are financially responsible for funds invested.

The secrecy is as reported; the product is joint IP with a large multinational; it’s not entirely for us to disclose.

If you have questions I’ll share my conversation with Mateo or you can email me directly, first name and then at Sonderdesign dot com.

User avatar
PlacaFromHell

Yesterday, 18:36

Reminds me of that weird spanish fake account of the guy called "Luego" and the Drevo or something keyboard. I'll make some popcorn, this will be a lot of fun.
I'm sorry for your money. I know how it feels wait those things forever. Good luck.

User avatar
cookie

Today, 02:40

Ohh man, this sucks :(
How much money did you lose? Any way to use some legal rights so that you get your money back?

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