Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whoa-oh Take The Money And Run

I don't know why, but this just galls me today. Way back in Summer 2012 I was just starting to jump on the crowd-funding bandwagon, and a fellow named Bruno Galice had a campaign on Indiegogo running to produce a small band of pirate goblins sculpted by renowned gobbo sculptor Kev Adams. I pledged, the project funded, and I looked forward to my new gobbos.

Cool concept art! 
The problem is that nothing arrived. In fact, many of the backers reported receiving nothing. I held out hope. Things happen. It's not like nothing had been done on the project, since we had been shown supposed evidence of the sculpting WIP and manufacturing.

First there were sculpts

Then there were more sculpts.

Teasers of what we would be receiving.
Then there were bins of pewter!
Months passed, and still nothing arrived. Multiple emails went unanswered. The Indiegogo message area for the project was filled with people wanting answers for their non-delivery. There were claims that things had been sent but somehow not received. There were claims of illness and accusations of lying and all sorts of drama. All the while I held out hope. It wasn't a huge monetary investment on my part, so I was more than willing to wait however long it took.

The last update from Bruno Galice to backers came in February 2013, in which he claimed that he was sending out another 25 parcels that day. Speculation on the Indiegogo campaign messages ran rampant until the campaign was suddenly missing. I contacted Indiegogo about the sudden disappearance and received this response:
Unfortunately, at this time, the Indiegogo campaign, “Pirate Goblins Box Set”, has been discontinued.
Campaigns may be removed from Indiegogo if the campaign is found in violation of our ToU or at the campaign owner’s request during the review process. You can see our full Terms of Use here: http://www.indiegogo.com/about/terms.
We have asked the campaign owner, to contact his contributors. Unfortunately, at this point we have not heard back from him and have frozen his account and campaign(s) so that he can no longer use Indiegogo again.
Additionally, you can try reaching out them through their other social media sites.
Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/pages/TrepsGames/122059754603237Twitter- https://twitter.com/treps
Okay, then. I continued to attempt to contact Bruno through email. I remained positive, if less so than before. I even offered to pay for shipping if that was a problem (he responded that money was not a problem.) Email after email went unanswered after that. Every day I would get home from work and ritually ask my family, "Box from France?" Every day the answer was no.

Eventually I sent him this email.

Hi Bruno, 
   I just saw a few pictures someone posted on their blog about getting the Pirate Gobbos. I don't really know what's going on with you personally, but I saw that the indiegogo project had been pulled. I would still like to get a set of the goblins when you are able to send them. No hard feelings, no questions asked. Just please don't forget the people waiting on those wonderful little gobbos. 

Soon after, I received this unexpected photo.

For me?!!? Really!!?
What better evidence could I hope for than a photo of my gobbos and an envelope with my name and address? So I waited. And waited. And nothing arrived. 

My final email to Bruno, in my typical non-confrontational manner:
More than three months have gone by since you sent me a photo of the package with my name on it. I never received the goblins. I think I finally believe that I'm never going to get these. Whatever is stopping packages traveling from France to U.S. is impossible to overcome. Thanks for trying.
There was still a part of me that thought staying congenial would lead to me eventually getting the gobbos. It didn't. I will never get them. I have, as they say, been had. 

Maybe a great guy, but don't entrust
him with your money.