ZX Vega+ console faces Indiegogo’s debt collectors

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ZX Vega+ console faces Indiegogo’s debt collectors

Indiegogo has said that it is willing to extend the deadline it gave to a project attempting to make a handheld version of a classic British computer.

But the crowdfunding site says that the team behind the ZX Spectrum Vega+ has yet to meet its conditions.

In February, Indiegogo threatened to appoint debt collectors if the campaign had not fulfilled its commitments by the end of May.

The project’s chief told the BBC he was “still determined to deliver”.

Dr David Levy added that he believed many backers “still are fully supportive of our finishing the project”.

The campaign originally pledged to send out the console in the summer of 2016.

The company he chairs, Retro Computers Ltd (RCL), has issued an update to backers saying it now intends to deliver the first consoles by 15 June.

He also told the BBC that “Indiegogo has extended the date” to mid-June.

However, the US firm explained that the situation was more complicated.

“We’ve taken several steps to protect our community, including demanding refunds for any backer that has requested one and banning the campaign owners from launching any other project on our platform,” explained a spokesman.

“We have also begun the process of sending the campaign owners to collections, which will commence unless the campaign delivers on the promises it made.

“More specifically, yesterday, we sent very clear requirements, which have not yet been agreed to by the campaign owners, despite them posting a campaign update earlier today.”

The conditions required of RCL are that it:

  • provide physical evidence of its readiness to deliver by sending a final unit to Indiegogo by 5 June
  • give an immediate refund to any backer who has requested one and no longer wishes to receive the console
  • provide contact details for a person at broadcaster Sky that is apparently delaying the consoles being sent out. The broadcaster owns some of the intellectual property involved

Indiegogo also disclosed that RCL had suggested it now planned to deliver the handheld consoles without 1,000 games pre-installed as originally promised.

“If these requirements are not agreed to… we will continue with the process of sending the project to collections, which has already begun, and we will immediately notify backers, as previously discussed,” the Indiegogo spokesman added.

Iconic brand

The Vega+ campaign raised a total of £512,790 from more than 4,700 people on Indiegogo before the US firm blocked it from accepting more funds in March 2017.

This was a highly unusual step for the fundraising service, which normally allows projects to decide when they want to stop accepting money.

According to RCL’s most recently filed accounts, it had £433,008 of assets at the end of March 2017.

Should the company be forced to refund the cash, it would mark one of the highest-profile crowdfunding failures to date.

Its use of the iconic Sinclair brand has meant the project has been widely followed by both the gaming and mainstream press.

However, debt collection agencies lack the legal powers to force an immediate repayment.

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