back to article Indiegogo lawyer asks ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Where's the cash?

Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo has revealed to The Register that it has set its lawyers on flailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd. The platform confirmed to us that its corporate attorney has written to RCL seeking reimbursement from the company so that it can pay back RCL’s customers, or “backers,” as Indiegogo …

  1. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Optimists

    I'll wager it's all gone. Vanished in expenses, management salaries, and 4p on product development.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Optimists

      It got spent on some other lawyers ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Optimists

      >I'll wager it's all gone. Vanished in expenses, management salaries, and 4p on product development.

      And possibly fact find missions to the Patpong area of Bangkok, looking for erm.... low cost manufactures.

      1. Tim Jenkins

        Re: Optimists

        "...fact find missions to the Patpong area of Bangkok, looking for erm.... low cost manufactures."

        Touchpads or joysticks?

  2. King Jack
    Happy

    What do they expect?

    When I were a lad you bought things that existed. Now idiots like to throw cash at vapour then complain when they get vapour. Hey, stop complaining, you got exactly what you paid for. Learn a lesson. Pay for real things when they are in the shops and not before.

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: What do they expect?

      Shops? err Grandad is that you?

      Actually.....

      Anyways when you, (and I), were a lad people all the time invested in things that they wanted but didn't exist. That's why you have variants of such wants in those, erm, shops. I think it's probably nowadays people have an instant platform and somewhat encompassing platform to voice their discontent when those things which don't exist still don't exist which brings such things to short term prominence. Now where are those spandex helicopter jet pants I ventured an interest in back in the day?

    2. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: What do they expect?

      Pay for real things when they are in the shops and not before.

      A wise old man once told me that a fool and his cash are easily parted.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: What do they expect?

        From a fool a cliché is often imparted.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi

          Re: What do they expect?

          From a fool a cliché is often imparted.

          In some situations, this one included, whatever could be said is going to revolve around, resonate with the meaning of some known cliché, so why not just say the cliché straight instead of avoiding it in the name of pedantry?

    3. Velv Silver badge
      Go

      Re: What do they expect?

      What a closed attitude.

      Crowdfunding absolutely has its place, small investments in small businesses has existed for centuries, with the Internet opening new opportunities to contact potential investors. And investors is what they are - you risk a small amount of money up front for something later. And therein lies the rub - is it made clear enough what level of calculated gamble the investor is making?

      Vapourware? Let’s not forget RCL had previously successfully released the Vega, and had videos of the Vega+, so it was not a wild gamble on Vapourware, it was a relatively comfortable punt.

      Shops? I’m pretty sure we’ve all bought something from a shop and been disappointed. Belkin comes to mind for me, won’t buy their stuff again, fairly sure others could name their disappointments. There’s plenty crap everywhere, so a punt on something not quite there could still be a good punt.

      1. Conor Turton

        Re: " We need to act before it’s too late and London’s success is threatened. "

        Yes crowdfunding has its place but the dumbasses who invest in them seem to not understand that there is a risk they can lose their money BECAUSE IT IS AN INVESTMENT IN A STARTUP.

        1. ByeLaw101

          Re: " We need to act before it’s too late and London’s success is threatened. "

          It;s not an investment in a statup, that would suggest you get shares in the company. You don't invest, you buy a product (possibly slightly cheaper) but you don't get anything else back for your "investment". Now, a crowdfunding exercise where you buy shares into a startup would be more interesting ... oh wait...

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: " We need to act before it’s too late and London’s success is threatened. "

          "BECAUSE IT IS AN INVESTMENT IN A STARTUP."

          It's more like a donation than an investment. An investment usually buys you a share of the profits. Crowd funding isn't even close to being an investment. Depends on the funding model and the reason for the crowd funding campaign. Depending on the model, it's an advance payment for a product which you may not get, it's a donation with a specified reward (eg my LOHAN engraved glass tankard) worth much less than the donation (or the model doesn't work), or it's just an outright donation with no reward/payback at all.

        3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: " We need to act before it’s too late and London’s success is threatened. "

          Crowdfunding absolutely has its place, small investments in small businesses has existed for centuries, with the Internet opening new opportunities to contact potential investors. And investors is what they are - you risk a small amount of money up front for something later.

          That's a customer, not an investor.

          BECAUSE IT IS AN INVESTMENT IN A STARTUP

          An investment typically gains you equity or interest in the success of the venture. Crowdfunding doesn't provide any of that. It's a speculative pre-sale, often without a solid guarantee that the product will be delivered as described (or even delivered...)

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: " We need to act before it’s too late and London’s success is threatened. "

            so why not just say the cliché straight instead of avoiding it in the name of pedantry?

            Because it's unoriginal, hackneyed, trite and boring.

            Like popcorn comments. Or rounded corners, or holding it wrong. It's been done a billion times and become worn out.

        4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
          Boffin

          real or vapour?

          “backers,” as Indiegogo refers to people who use its website to place orders for production-ready items.

          er what? I thought the whole point of indigogo was to back non production ready items? also if the items are production ready "customers" might be a better word.

      2. Cavehomme_

        Re: What do they expect?

        “Punt” being the key word. Expect to lose all your money and don’t complain when you do, even if something turns out to be a fraud one day. Crowdfunding does work but it’s also becoming a cesspit where very naive punters hurl their money expecting instant rewards from someone unknown entity located on the other side of the planet.

      3. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: What do they expect?

        i.e. Belkin Products, and or your level of disapoint.... Well face it you wern't promised a Rose Garden, and even if you were, you still had at least the Lot. With Crowdfonding you hardly even manage to get that far, as to ascertain if the final Product is such utter crap as all that.

        And, I suspect this is the problem with Crowdfunding, after all in your words it's an "Investment". In which there in the problem remains. As is the case with say playing the Stocks. (A more respectable version, which grants its owner a nicley printed Cartificate of Shares in such a Company), upon which Dividands (e.g. Product), can be drawn upon. But, that has never prevented anyone from crashing said Stock, and their Companies, into the ground either.

        I can't think of a single thing that has ever came from the Crowdfunded sector, and has since permeated itself into the engraned consciusness of the Public. Sans perhaps the niche Oculus Rift, (Before it got Zucck'ed), or the equally failworthy Ouya. (These last Two having actually making it to Retail).

        But, perhaps you'd care to prove otherwise?

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: What do they expect?

          Exploding kittens! (Quite good fun.) Various comic writers seem to use it to do bigger projects (for example books or extra stories) where they need a certain size take-up for it to break even for them.

          Frontier Developments managed it for Elite Dangerous, this is slightly cheating as apparently they put a few times more money into the project than the kickstarter. However the story there is roughly the same as for those comic writers: an existing talent or production team that has demonstrated they can deliver and want to size up the market for something a bit more ambitious.

          Hardware wise, the success stories are thinner on the ground. Possibly there are more unknowns and more logistical challenges involved. They often seem to be trying to do something that the technology is not quite there for yet, and this is not a good way to be carrying out R&D. The Artiphon seems to have worked out, but they started with a working prototype and their kickstarter's last open update https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/artiphon/introducing-the-artiphon-instrument-1/posts/1732086 gives an idea of the things that can go wrong for even a successful project (so far as I know all pre-order backers got theirs, and the things are on open sale now).

    4. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What do they expect?

      You weren't around in the 80's were you?:-)

      That's the way that home micros got sold for years.

      And the 90's too, with the back-of-PC-World suppliers that used today's payments to buy the parts for PCs ordered two months ago.

      Oh, yes, we were parted from our money then too!

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: What do they expect?

        Perhaps in your neck of the woods, or in some Mom, and Pop Shop, where having a larger inventory in something as then seen as a fad, you could raise such an argument. But, then Mom & Pop were not wholesale buying a bunch of ruddy Vapour, with little to show for their investment. So while Mom, and Popsie woud eventully return every other Dollar to their "Shop", whith which to purchase more "Goods" to sell at Retail. I for One absoulty fail to see your analogy here. As buying phyiscally ready made goods =/= as buying into someone elses dream. With almost certain intent to bugger off with the Money, at a moments notice.

  3. SVV Silver badge

    Where's the cash?

    It's Indiegonegone.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Where's the cash?

      It's Indiegonegone to a numbered account in the Caymans.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Perhaps Indiegogo and similar sited need to monitor the firms who use their facilities to keep track of where the money's going and what it's bought.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Kickstarter, Indiegogo et al are basically the casino in a poker game. They get their rake from each hand and aside from lip service they really don't care who wins or loses. And their rake is very substantial.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Kickstarter at least wants to see a working prototype before it lets start-ups or businesses use their platform. Indiegogo doesn't.

        That is why Indiegogo has a much lower success rate than Kickstarter (9% vs 36%).

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Can't be true

          Given the number of Kickstarters I've seen for items that are physically impossible.

          And the Kickstarters I've backed for books and games (physical and PC) that certainly did not exist when Kickstarted.

          Not entirely sure what a "working prototype" of a book would be, to be honest. A plot outline?

          1. Grikath Silver badge

            Re: Can't be true

            "Not entirely sure what a "working prototype" of a book would be, to be honest. A plot outline?"

            A bit more than that, but ..yes-ish. Rules for what will be accepted for the Slush Pile differ per publisher/editor, but you basically got to follow the same rules before you hit up kickstarter. That means a full plot outline + relevant chapters, or a full manuscript in the pre-editing stage.

        2. DropBear Silver badge
          Facepalm

          "Kickstarter at least wants to see a working prototype..."

          Pointless lip service to grand ideals, they literally couldn't care less whether or not there's an actual prototype. There have been projects reported to KS (long after funding ended, for basically absconding with the funds) by half of the entire backer base (or so the comments seem to suggest) and absolutely nothing, nothing at all happened - not even a "we tried, they aren't answering us either". There are literal, obvious perpetuum mobile "projects" being proposed regularly and nobody seems to mind. KS gets his cut on whatever gets funded, and it's quite obvious that's the only thing they care about - anything else is just noise in the wind...

        3. werdsmith Silver badge

          That is why Indiegogo has a much lower success rate than Kickstarter (9% vs 36%).

          Those figures are for becoming fully funded via the campaign, not actually completing and fulfilling once successfully funded. For the latter the success rate is much higher for both.

          Using your numbers, RCL Vega+ would be one of the 9% successes.

        4. anothercynic Silver badge

          Kickstarter > Indiegogo

          I've found so far that all but one of my Kickstarters have delivered. The one outstanding is for a *very* innovative umbrella, but I've pretty much all but written off that 'investment/speculative presale/donation/whatever-you-wanna-call-it-today'. I'll be *very* pleased if it eventually delivers, but I'm not holding my breath.

          As for Indiegogo... 100% of my projects there have failed (that's one of one projects), and the response I got from Indiegogo's customer services after questioning whether the project was allowed to hold my 'reward' hostage ('pay an additional £40 or you won't get it') was sufficiently bad to write them off as a credible crowdfunding platform for life.

          I know of people who've had the exact inverse experience, so it's a bit of a toss-up really... Crowdfunders are a good thing in general; it's a shame that RCL has seriously screwed this up.

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    I have a fabulous deal

    Give me £15 and in 12-18 months I *might* deliver a bottle of wine to you.

    But don't worry! Early backers like yourself will enjoy massive savings because the wine might retail for £17. Assuming I ever deliver it. And if I do I guarantee it will taste at least as good as the cheapest carton wine that some other unscrupulous person might have made by loading their van up with after a cross-channel run, and decanting it into a fancier bottle!

    Buy 4 bottles for £65 and I will even write a personal message on the bottle thanking you for your very sensible, consequence free, mathematically challenged, forward thinking.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi
      Pint

      Re: I have a fabulous deal

      Have a pint, my man! (I don't think you mind alcohol-free, do you?)

    2. Blofeld's Cat
      Coat

      Re: I have a fabulous deal

      I'm deeply tempted by your "4 bottles for £65" offer, but I am unfortunately somewhat short of funds at the moment.

      The maker of my Bitcoin miner is still waiting for more pickaxes to be delivered, and that prince hasn't transferred the money yet.

      Would you consider an exchange for 4 bottles of the alcohol-free Vodka I bought? It comes in three flavours: "Malvern", "Buxton" and "Highland Spring".

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I have a fabulous deal

      Give me £15 and in 12-18 months I *might* deliver a bottle of wine to you.

      But don't worry! Early backers like yourself will enjoy massive savings because the wine might retail for £17. Assuming I ever deliver it.

      No thanks because there is a great choice of wine in all the shops and supermarkets already.

      Crowdfunding campaigns are for stuff that some people might want but don't exist already.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have a fabulous deal

      Crowdfunding in a nutshell

    5. 54bombay

      Peckham spring water

      Reminds me of an episode of "only fools and horses", Peckham spring water anyone

  6. Vector
    Trollface

    Maybe they should have consulted with Magic Leap. They seem to have been able to keep the gravy train running for 8 years and over a billion dollars!

  7. IR

    Given that you can easily buy handheld NES emulation devices for $25, it's crazy that they couldn't mass produce a prebuilt more basic device for 100 quid each.

    If you still want a VEGA equivalent then you could build a PiGrrl for $60 plus case, and you'll get the added benefit that it can handle anything up to SNES games. Need to be handy with a soldering iron and a 3D printer though.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      ...or you can buy the $10 full-size bluetooth gamepad with a holder clamp for your smartphone, which is definitely capable of emulating any Spectrum.

  8. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Sending the lawyer's letter

    I expect Indiegogo's letter from their lawyers demanding RCL refund backers will attract the same response as my sending a letter to them would.

    It will be a curt "Fuck off. It really has got nothing to do with you. You have no legitimate legal grounds to make us do what you demand. Take us to court".

    It reminds me of the Not The Nine O'Clock News parody of That's Life -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2QZprRgxDc&t=50

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Sending the lawyer's letter

      "It reminds me of the Not The Nine O'Clock News parody of That's Life -

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2QZprRgxDc&t=50 "

      Ah, so THAT'S where the Bart Simpson "I didn't do it" story came from :-)

  9. grizewald

    Plexidrone anyone?

    The Plexidrone scam, which raised $2.3 million on IGG, has been dragging on since 2014 or earlier. The company behind this spectacular vapourware - DreamQii - are still merrily selling "Pre-orders" for their vapourware on their web site and have still not shipped a single drone to a backer.

    Where is IGG's pursuit of DreamQii?

    Lots more backers, lots more money and a far longer string of bizarre excuses for missing deadline after deadline after deadline.

    Maybe they're untouchable up there in Canada eh?

  10. RedCardinal

    >>The platform confirmed to us that its corporate attorney has written to RCL seeking reimbursement from the company

    Oh no! The lawyer has written a letter. Lol. They'll be trembling in fear....

    *discards letter in bin*

  11. Spartacus Mills

    have Indiegogo broken their own rules?

    Indiegogo's terms & conditions for campaign owners states the following:

    "In order to be approved for Shipping, proof of visual preparation for shipping such as completed components or packaging is required"

    - and yet, without recieving any proof of 'visual preperation' or a completed component, Indiegogo have not just approved RCL for shipping, they gave them a *deadline* by which to ship... ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me...

    Better check how my magic beans are coming along.

    - Jack

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For SALE my Perk from WEDG - Mail server yours for ONLY - £500

    promise of perk of - Wedge Pro - 1TB + RAID + extra 1TB HDD + 2x2TB upgrade +T Shirt and Stickers

    Indiegogo campaign Wedg. (was also previously launched on Kickstarter).

    all promises then

    hit issues with another company claiming IP - allegedly!

    the company was "SOLD" to Montrose Innovations with Carol Bohm-Scott as contact - who NO ONE can find ! - suspicious????

    registered at an UBER office that's now closed ! - Suspicious!!

    WEDG company dissolved by Companies house as well as the parent company Montrose Innovations for non compliance of filing.

    So to be 100% clear if you want this perk you will get absolutely NOTHING for your £500 just like me :-(

    STILL INTERESTED ?

    Indiegogo were chased to contact the company to get updates at regular intervals they did nothing.

    "we have our cut -- your problem now, good luck SUCKERS"

    of all the campaigns i have back this was the only one to not deliver something BUT also the most costly ! in future I will wait for launch and pay the premium for a boxed product !

  14. TrevorH

    Who'd keep half a million squid in a paypal account. I get worred if I have a fiver in mine!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Who'd keep half a million squid in a paypal account.

      Especially when PayPal freezes accounts with any pretext whatsoever. Let alone having suspected fraud being published in the media.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. ExtremelyCreamy

    Failed at the first

    What I never understood was how you were supposed to type in all the names of the teachers on Skool Daze they always showed on the thing.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Failed at the first

      I have to say, as an avid Speccy guy, I don't see how you play an awful lot of games on just a joystick.

      The suggestion above concerning "just use a smartphone and a joystick" is also just a much nonsense.

      If you don't have a keyboard (even one of those portable Bluetooth keyboard + controller + joypad), then you can't play games or you have to configure everything manually for each game, and that's a lot of faffing.

      Sure, Jetpac, you can get away with. But even things like Batty, Target:Renegade, you can't even start the game or get through the menus to select what joystick you're using without keyboard input.

      Play Speccy games like on a Speccy, and that means a keyboard.

      (I have a RetroPie with the above Bluetooth keyboard, but I also have three "real" Speccies).

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Failed at the first

        I preferred keyboard, OPQAM layout.

        As the joysticks were 8 way ,only one fire button , it was much more accurate to use keyboard to get those diagonals !

        helpful in Way of Exploding fist. and chuckie egg

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RCL is obviously...

    ...run by a bunch charlatans, crooks and wide-boys. If you looked closely at the life-styles of these no-hopers you would probably understand where the money has gone. Under these sort of circumstances I cannot understand why the directors of the company are not held personally responsible for the loses of their backers. The threat of being severely hit in the pocket may make them get their act together and not fritter away other peoples money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RCL is obviously...

      "I cannot understand why the directors of the company are not held personally responsible for the loses of their backers"

      Because Indiegogo is a scam.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forgive the incredulity, but I'm quite surprised this got to this situation.

    I can remember helping my brother play certain Spectrum 48K games, such as Manic Miner and a weird game involving an oversized gorilla. This was via decent 14" Sony Trinitron TV. And it was tough even with this size screen.

    So, how come loads of people pledged money for a handheld device with a screen not much bigger than a mobile phones?

    Even with a high PPI count, the screen would still be so small, that the "pixel perfect" requirements of playing some Speccy games would really make this device almost impossible to play.

    Sure, it will allow some older members to recount their mis-spent youth...but unless you could output the video to a larger screen, this device surely is just going to end up as a display item on some peoples sideboard (those of a "certain age" know what THAT is)...whilst for others, it'll either be consigned to the bottom of some drawer, or re-sold on fleabay for a healthy profit.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      I agree with all you said , except: healthy profit? a tenner maybe , meaning a loss of about £100

      not a problem though as no-one is going to get the device from the looks of things

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    written to RCL

    was it an angry letter? Or was it just their first letter?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Successful Crowdfunding for hardware?

    I backed the Gemini PDA device in IndieGoGo. It's turned up (late, sure but only a month later then I was told when I backed - I'm aware it was much later that early backers were told), so I think that counts as a successful crowdfunded hardware project.

    Interesting to note that one of the directors of RCL mentioned in the article is also a director of Planet Computers, the company behind the Gemini. I wonder how much of the problems are to do with the current group of directors, and how much is down to the previous group actively trying to scupper the project.

  21. IndiaCharlie

    I do wonder why "this project".

    I've back some on Kickstarter and on Indiegogo.

    Most have completed successfully.

    Indiegogo seems to be very selective about whom they chase; so why this project?

    I won't touch anything Indiegogo based now, as they seem to have project governance issues. One I backed allowed a made-up person to be nominated as the campaign owner, at a dropbox physical address.

    The original owner carries on his merry way (presumably with all the "donations"), and all Indiegogo says "hmm.. there seems to be some communication issues", closing any raised tickets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IndiaCharlie

      sounds like the project i mentioned above. offering my "perk" It wouldn't have been manchester based then moved to an "office" in Victoria London would it....... there can't be another one like that can there? ... well we are talking Indiegogo :-( so could well be many many of them :-(

  22. 89724102172714582892524I9755670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

    ...another case of Indiegof*ckyourself

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