Crowdfunding site Indiegogo has announced (opens in new tab) it "will be working with a collections agency to attempt to recoup funds disbursed" by backers of Retro Computers' Sinclair ZX Vega+ project.
Revealed in early 2016 (opens in new tab), the Sinclair ZX Vega+ was billed as a handheld games console based on the ZX Spectrum personal computer. By March 2016, Retro Computers had raised £513,000 ($624,000; 367 percent of its original goal) on Indiegogo to support the project, which would come with a built-in LCD screen and 1,000 preloaded licensed games.
Last year, repeated shipping delays—the handheld was first due to ship in September 2016—and a perceived lack of communication between Retro Computers and backers caused Indiegogo to shutter the Vega+'s extended InDemand campaign (opens in new tab). It emerged licensing issues between former directors Paul Andrews and Chris Smith, and Retro Computers itself had complicated things further still.
As reported by the BBC (opens in new tab) in February, Indiegogo set an "end-of-May" 2018 deadline for Retro Computers, after which it planned to initiate debt collection procedures. On May 22, Retro Computers chairman David Levy posted on Facebook (opens in new tab) about the company's legal issues—whereafter Retro Computers said (opens in new tab) it "estimated to ship the first batch of Vega+ units by the 15th June 2018".
Indiegogo then extended its deadline with three conditions: "These included sending us contact information of Sky representatives, and refunding backers immediately upon request, as well as providing Indiegogo with a review console," writes Indiegogo here (opens in new tab).
It seems these were not met, and Indiegogo has now sought the help of a debt collection agency.
The post continues: "Unfortunately, these asks have not been met and we are unable to further provide the Vega+ team an extension. This has been a challenging situation for all involved, and one we thought would be resolved with the backers receiving their game consoles.
"This week, we will be working with a collections agency to attempt to recoup funds disbursed, in an effort to be able to refund backers. Please note that, while we are pursuing collections, this process can take considerable time and the Vega+ team still has the opportunity to fulfill on their obligation of shipping the consoles to backers. We refer you to the Vega+ team for any updates on shipping. The campaign is still open to the Vega+ team, and they continue to have the ability to update you all via our platform.
"We hope that the Vega+ team follows through on their promise, and that any remedial efforts on our part will be rendered obsolete."
Retro Computers has since followed up with this tweet (opens in new tab) (embedded below), and this Facebook statement (opens in new tab), again from company chairman David Levy. The latter concludes by saying:
"As I say, we are still determined to deliver the Vega+ unless we are prevented from doing so as a result of the actions of Andrews and his cohorts. But if we are prevented from doing so, and if there is any legal action against the company and/or its current directors, then Paul Andrews will be brought in as a co-defendant, since he was the owner of the Indiegogo campaign, and both he and Smith were the root cause of RCL's [Retro Computers Ltd.] problems."
Yes - to be clear we offered to demo the unit to @Indiegogo ‘s London based representative and this is how they have reacted. #zxvega https://t.co/vCIyy7Zp8UJune 6, 2018