Dear *******, Thank you for using the Courts Service Online system. Your application has been received. We will be in contact with you via this email address in due course to let you know if your claim is appropriate for the Small Claims procedure.
Ok, so there it is – i’ve now started the legal process to get my cash back. Lets be clear, this isn’t some ‘error’ or ‘mistake’ – they either don’t have 1,200 euros to send me, or perhaps they have all left the building so don’t really give a s**t – or perhaps have the money but don’t give a s**t and left the building.
I have seen Sean’s blog – but those of us who have followed him over the years have seen this all before; build up to the big event – event fails, silence for a while, then re-emergence. Except this time I doubt there will be any re-emergence – even the most die hard funders must have fallen by the wayside by now – and not being able to send across 1,200 euros would suggest that to be the case.
Its been a while since I’ve been chasing a bad debt, which i used to do as part of my job – I’ve been to Court many a time to deal with people who don’t want/think they should be paying for something – and its quite a bizarre thing when you actually meet them face to face and you realise they actually firmly believe their twisted version of events.
I don’t believe Orbo works, but I believe Sean knows it does, and that’s just the way it is. I don’t think we are ever going to know any more than that.
When I met Sean for the first time at a presentation in Spitalfields (can’t remember what year), he said to a small group of us after the talk – ‘magnetics can be very tricky, and if you are not very careful you can get fooled’ (or words to that effect).. was that him setting the stage, or words of a man obsessed? I prefer to think the latter.
Ok, so I got my money back from my credit card company.. well at least for about 6 weeks that is. I then had a letter from them confirming they would be taking the money out again as I had essentially paid ‘transferwise’ rather than dealing directly with Steorn Limited (?@£$£$%^!@$£%) and my claim was null and void.
I have since sent quite a few further chases to Steorn – and I even had confirmation from Steorn’s CFO that money had been sent as of last week – but still nothing has arrived in my bank account.
I have threatened Steorn with a winding up order, but having set about completing the service documentation for this today, I have discovered that in sunny Ireland, the rules are different to the UK – the minimum you need to be out of pocket by is 10,000 euro’s! (in the uk its a more sensible £750 – and a very effective way of getting your money back).
Anyway, I have filed a Small Claims Court application tonight instead..
What a pain in the arse this all is..
I got a heads up from a poster on this blog today re an update on the dispatches website..
It appears that the chargers/phones didn’t actually work, and Steorn is now asking for investors to cough up even more money for a new business plan with a 7-10 year timeline (!!)
I really do not get it – they had a trial run of the damn thing last year and it apparently worked – they went into production – manufacturing what appears to have been thousands of these units – did at no point someone double check there was constant output? what is the verification process within Steorn? does Shaun just say ‘yep its working’ and then everyone there just accepts that? Good grief.
Anyway, I requested a refund a few weeks ago now (obviously sensing the impending bad news – or maybe just fed up of waiting) – I received an email shortly afterwards confirming that it would be processed.. guess what.. it wasn’t.. sent another chase and they said they would sort it out.. they didn’t.. and my final chase wasn’t replied to at all.
So.. Game Over.
[Ok, so i did buy the charger on my credit card and they are in the process of organising a refund – but still, pretty despicable behaviour on behalf of Steorn]
Further reading at the very comprehensive dispatches website here
I’m sorry this blog never made it (maybe see you in 7-10 years?)
Last week I asked for update regarding delivery timescales..
Today I received a reply to confirm they ‘are working on getting a definitive timeline in place’.
So no real update really – very disappointing. There was a brief glimmer of hope when products were back on sale on the orbo.com website, but this is now showing as ‘sold out’ again.
I don’t really know what to say about the live feed – a small rota like that could be powered for a very long time with an ordinary battery – unless we see that rigged up to the scope, its really not showing us much.
The shorting test is slightly more interesting, however, this is currently in a downward trend.
Regardless of what happens with the above, at the end of the day I’m not going to believe anything until I have something in my hand and testing it myself.
I will continue to hold on and wait, but i’m not sure how much longer I can do this for!
According to WordPress its been 18 days since my last update so its probably time I wrote something. So testing on Frank A’s blog has proved inconclusive despite Steorn providing a new unit for him to test. We have not been getting weekly updates from the Ophone users in Dublin, and I still haven’t taken delivery of my Ocube. So its been a bit of a car crash really – which is a real shame. I have continued to send chase emails to Steorn and in the most part they are answered, however, yesterday I had a formal update that I assume has been sent to everyone with a cube on order:- an offer of a refund, or an Ophone in the next 10 working days with a further wait for the Ocube in the next six to eight weeks.
I’ve confirmed I will wait, but i’m not holding out much hope at this stage in the journey; but at least we are coming to the end of the line.
I didn’t set out on writing a blog about waiting for something to arrive – with hindsight I probably should have waited until I had taken delivery of the charger!
Anyway, for those of you who are still reading this blog – there has been an update video posted here by Steorn, which explains the problems they have been having with the products and what they are doing to try to and resolve them.
I have to say it is rather disappointing to see two 9v batteries in the component line up, not so much because of the question mark it raises over whether this might be secretly powering the unit, but more because this will essentially give the charger a shelf life of 5-10 years, with little chance of repair given the potting (filling the unit with goop that dries as hard as rock which seals everything together in one lump). So in essence the charger could suddenly become a rather expensive paperweight after a relatively short period of time. Despite this news I won’t be cancelling my order – terminals are being left accessible at the back of the unit so it still might be possible to use in some shape or form if the unit ‘dies’ after the 1 year warranty runs out.
Frank A’s testing continues on his website here and apparently he has organised a Q&A with Steorn which will hopefully clear up some of the questions about the configuration of the ‘test’ Ocube. Also, another interesting blog goes into more detailed analysis of the video and general history of Steorn here.
So, the party isn’t over yet – perhaps it’s just started.
Quick update on the Ocube order for you – I have just received the following email from Steorn:-
‘We have shipped two ocubes and have received reports back that the lithium ion battery in the devices is charging to somewhere in the region of 8V, which is well in excess of the safe level of 4.2V. As a result, we have had to halt any further shipments while we address this. We are currently testing a new configuration with a battery charge controller and these tests will take several more days. Once we are satisfied that the units are operating as they should we will provide another update concerning shipping etc’
Given the potential hazards of Lithium ion batteries I’m pleased that this is being addressed now, but obviously the delay is disappointing. It’s also interesting that the tech is ‘over performing’ at the 8V level.
On a more positive note an Ocube has been received by a customer here – so I’m very excited to see one unit out there in the public domain ready to be tested!
So there’s good news and bad news.. the good news is someone I know has an Orbo charger on its way to them as we speak (which is pretty momentous I think!), the bad news is mine hasn’t been sent yet.
I’ve nagged the Steorn guys again and they have said they will ‘do their best’ to get mine out in the first batch – here’s hoping.
I’ve sorted a usb splitter to power the digg it button. The digg unit only stays on for a minute or so and doesn’t draw any power when it switches off – but it does recall the number of times it has been pressed when switched on again. It goes up to 999 – let’s see how far we get..
I thought I would just reiterate the purpose of this blog as I seem to be getting quite a few comments voicing concern about me wasting/losing my money/mind etc.
Just to be clear, I am fully aware of the controversial nature of this phone charger – hence the blog! I’m also aware that 99.9% of people don’t believe it will work as stated – all I am doing is buying it, plugging it into my phone, and blogging what happens. To that end comments that I receive which are not related to testing will be deleted – I really don’t want to get involved in moderating people’s opinions.
In other news, I have not received a confirmation email yet regarding delivery, and it might be that my charger is not going to be in the first batch to be sent out, which is disappointing – but it is what it is. I will let you know as soon I get confirmation either way.
Just to confirm I have chased Steorn for an update on delivery – apparently this will be in the next few days and I will obviously update you as soon as I know.
In other news I have bought great little in line voltage meter from adafruit industries, measuring voltage, watts, amps, and mAH (you can read more about it here). I appreciate this may not be the most accurate device, but this testing really isn’t going to be about the detail, its more about whether the thing keeps charging.
Picture of the unit below charging my phone – I will endeavour to discharge my phone each day (which I generally do anyway) and will then plug this in and give readings at the start and finish of charging (and charge time).