In 2019, I wrote an article about Xmera, a crowdfunded e-bike that was supposed to be able to “read your mind” to help you get better exercise. While it wasn’t supposed to be able to read your actual thoughts, it was supposed to come with an EEG reader in the helmet that could control the bike’s level of pedal assist, turn the lights on and off, etc. It seemed like an exciting project, but with all the different products we cover here at CleanTechnica, I lost track of Xmera.
Indiegogo Backers Feel Ripped Off
Recently, one of Xmera’s Indiegogo project backers reached out to me to let me know that he hadn’t received his product and hadn’t heard from the company in some time. He also gave me a link to a Facebook group for disgruntled Xmera backers who felt like they’d been swindled out of their money. Some customers told everyone that they were in the process of disputing the charges with their banks, and that there was a lot of back-and-forth between their banks and Indiegogo. Another customer told me he had received a refund after hounding the company for months. The Indiegogo page’s comments also has a lot of customer complaints and accusations of fraud.
When I started trying to contact Xmera, things didn’t look great, either. The Xmera.bike domain was gone, and my e-mails to the company bounced.
Xmera Says COVID-19 Is The Problem, & It Still Plans on Delivering
With some effort, I did manage to get ahold of someone from Xmera to get their side of the story.
“We are aware some of our backers are pissed off on us and we totally understand and deeply regret the situation.” the company’s representative said. “We have informed them in several communications about the state of the project.”
According to the company, they were going to start production in early 2020 (just as their crowdfunding campaign said they would), but the pandemic affected China and Taiwan before the US and Europe. This made it so that they couldn’t get to the factories in China and Taiwan to supervise production and verify quality control, so they had to put the project off. The founders’ home country of Romania is also supposed to be under a wave of COVID right now, further complicating things for the company. Finally, they said that containers and shipping prices are unusually bad right now.
The company says that its plan is to wait for COVID and shipping container issues to level out before beginning production. They currently hope that it will all be ready to go for May 2022.
Further updates are supposed to come via the Indiegogo project page, as the website was shut down to conserve funds.
Just The Facts This Time
I know that me getting a statement from Xmera isn’t going to please readers who still feel like they’ve been ripped off. I know some people on Indiegogo say they’ve heard this before, and that they think it’s an excuse.
Truth be told, I can’t verify anything other than that there are still travel restrictions in Asia. Taiwan, in particular, has very strict measures that are stressing people out and still causing economic strife. Vaccines are also hard to come by in the country, with President Tsai Ing-wen saying Beijing is keeping them from getting a good supply. Whatever the cause, it is clear that there’s a big mess that’s keeping the restrictions tight in Taiwan.
So, it does seem plausible that Xmera is unable to fulfill orders and still intends to. It’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on the Indiegogo page for now.
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