As complaints of non-compliance with fully paid orders rise and the reports of unreachable customer service and tech lines mount, the tragedy that is the Solidoodle meltdown feels like the stuff of Adele albums. Their website hasn’t been updated since February and their Facebook presence seems to leave a bit lacking. In the information vacuum that has been building since then, the only place to go for information has been forums such as the SoliForum, an independent community of Solidoodle users who communicate with each other to find fixes, support, and work-arounds for printers which appear to have garnered a fierce loyalty, somewhat like that dedicated to a town’s losing football team.
In looking back through communications with Solidoodle, it appears that there have been significant difficulties in providing customers with the products they have ordered, first in extended wait times for delivery and then, more recently, a number of paid for machines that simply never arrive. Obviously, these customers are clamoring for a refund and while it is unclear if they do eventually receive such a refund, what is easy to see is that the wait times have been excessive and the explanations unconvincing. More voices have been added to the accusations of fraud on the part of the company and a swell of discontent has been continuing to rise with no reasonable response from Solidoodle.
According to a former employee, the company has been struggling for some time now. This employee, known only as Solinonymous, has peeled back the curtain and given us a peek at what s/he has been seeing:
“It started with the Press, which without getting into too much detail, was/is a complete disaster. Production tapped out most of our funds and the port delays meant that we weren’t able to re-coup those costs as quickly as we needed. Plus, the Press pre-order campaign meant that we were pretty much shipping the printers at a net loss.”
As problems continued to mount, the company began to miss payroll deadlines…in addition to completely dropping the ball on refunds for unprovided services. However, loyal employees tried to tough it out and soon there was some promise of new investors who would give the company the necessary cash infusion to keep it afloat. As the round of fund raising was completed, there was new money, and with that, new hope.
Unfortunately, it didn’t do as much to alleviate the situation as would have been hoped, Solinonymous continues:
“Turns out most of the funding was used to pay off debts and it wasn’t long before the prospect of missing payroll again became a reality. Last month they called a company meeting and laid off pretty much everyone…obviously, there’s a whole lot more to this story but the bottom line is that things don’t look good. If you have an unfulfilled order, unfortunately, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. If you’re looking for a refund, I would start exploring other avenues to recoup…because there isn’t any money there, and if there was, refunds are not very high up on the list of priorities.”
Granted, an ex-employee may have an axe to grind, but in this case, it really does appear that Solinonymous is providing legitimate information. As of today, the Solidoodle website is still accepting orders, something that seems irresponsible at best. I’d say it’s high time that they make a public explanation for the situation before they get themselves into even more hot water. It’s unfortunate that it has come to this state, but maybe the brilliance of crowdsourcing can provide the company with some ideas and expertise that could prevent a complete a total disaster.
Is Solidoodle on their way out? Let us know what you think in the Solidoodle Problem forum on 3DPB.com.