Crowdfunded 3D printer shipments withheld to backers who complained about lateness

Cobblebot's crowdfunded 3D printers were supposed to ship in October, but many backers have yet to get theirs, including the "super early" backers -- and it turns out this is on purpose, as Cobblebot is deliberately withholding shipments from customers who complained online, citing a nebulous Texas defamation statute that bans statements regarding "dishonesty, fraud, rascality, or general depravity."

Customers who are informed that their shipments are being withheld due to their complaints are also told that there's no point in complaining because "the support department does not have access to the legal department's records." As Techdirt points out, there's reason to believe this isn't true, because "The man behind Cobblebot is Jeremiah Clifft, who's also an attorney… or at least was one. This makes composing and sending C&D's full of scary legalese very, very cheap. It also indicates that -- even if there are two walled-off divisions of the "Cobblebot team" -- one man stands astride both, holding a recently-expired license to practice law."

To date, Cobblebot seems to have sent out more C&Ds than printers, apparently targeting customers unhappy with shipping delays, unkept promises (like the inclusion of assembly instructions/videos) and its general unresponsiveness to legitimate complaints.

Now, Cobblebot has every right to pursue truly defamatory comments, but there's a process for that and it should be wholly unrelated to the process of fulfilling backers' orders. By its own statements on the matter, its order fulfillment team is completely removed from its legal team. There's no reason these two should be mixing in this fashion, and they only appear to do so when it works out in Cobblebot's favor. Defamatory comments or no, the backers have paid for their products. They should be given what they've paid for.

3D Printer Creator Withholding Long-Delayed Shipments To Early Backers Over Supposed 'Defamatory' Comments [Tim Cushing/Techdirt]