Burned By Kickstarter: A Padcaster Parrot Pro Story

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I’m sharing a personal experience and a warning with you all today. I’m often asked to promote Kickstarter projects on this site, and I turn them down 99% of the time. There are too many stories of disappointed customers, missed deadlines, failed projects, and money lost. The only Kickstarter projects I promote on this site are ones created by companies with whom I have a long-term relationship AND who have experience with these kinds of projects.

Today’s post is NOT about a Kickstarter project that has ever been mentioned on this site before. I’m extremely glad that I did not suggest my readers back this project. Unfortunately, I watched a video by YouTuber Gerald Undone about this project – a video he has since removed from his channel – and I did choose to back the Padcaster Parror Pro Kickstarter campaign.

I know Kickstarter is not a store, and there will be risks when you back one of its projects. Ultimately, I chose to take what I perceived to be a small gamble based on a few things: Firstly, I trusted that Gerald Undone had done his due diligence. I typically find him to be thorough and honest. I’m not saying he wasn’t in this case, but here we are. I must be honest that my decision was swayed by seeing the product favorably reviewed on his channel. And I do find it odd that he deleted the video without uploading any kind of explanation or retraction. Secondly, the original Padcaster was an available product for some time. This wasn’t a new business. Thirdly, this wasn’t Josh Apter’s first Kickstarter project, it was his fourth with his Padcaster company.

Missed Delivery Deadline

When I backed this project, the estimated delivery date was July 2023. Some Kickstarter backers started to get their Parrot Pros in January 2024. I do not have mine at the time of writing, even though I paid the shipping fees back in mid-November 2023. Will I ever receive one? Who knows.

In Stores Before Kickstarter Backers Received Orders

Today is January 17th, 2024. I don’t have my Parrot Pro from the fully-funded campaign. On its own, that wouldn’t be so bad. However, the Padcaster Parrot Pro has been available at retailers across Canada and the USA since December 26th. Yes, Padcaster sent the Parrot Pro to retailers BEFORE they sent them to their Kickstarter backers. They used the $400,000+ fund from Kickstarter to get the Padcaster Pro into stores before fulfilling the orders of those Kickstarter backers that made their project viable in the first place. The whole project is already 7-months behind schedule, and instead of sorting out their patiently waiting backers, they appear to have rushed them to store shelves instead so they can make a fast buck.

The last update from Josh Apter before I wrote this post was that the shipment had arrived at their warehouse on December 28th. It is now three weeks later, and I still do not have a tracking number for my shipment. All the while, I could have gone to a local store or somewhere like B&H online and picked one up right away.

Cheaper to Buy from Retailers

Aha! I hear you say. It will be more expensive in the store than you paid on Kickstarter. Well, let’s see. I paid $129 during the Kickstarter campaign and $30 for shipping. I can now buy the Padcaster Pro for $149 from B&H, with free shipping. So, in essence, I could have bought this from B&H several weeks before I will get mine (assuming they do ship one to me), and it would have cost me $10 less!

How’s that for a kick in the teeth? Of course, the Kickstarter campaign comments are full of rightly disgusted backers and people demanding their money back. Sadly, that won’t happen. It’s just not how Kickstarter works. So, let this be a lesson to you all: Padcaster is a despicable company. Avoid them at all costs.

Does the Padcaster Pro Suck?

As I said, I don’t have mine yet. However, there are more than a few complaints about the quality of the Padcaster Pro glass from those few who have received theirs. Many are complaining about soft text or double images. After this long wait and suffering the fact that Padcaster screwed their customers by fulfilling retail channels before Kickstarter backers, it might not even be worth the wait.

Why Would A Business Do This?

Any moderately intelligent business owner would know that putting a Kickstarter product on store shelves before fulfilling Kickstarter backers’ orders wouldn’t go down well. Particularly if you have already missed your projected shipping date by half a year. You’re basically kicking your core customers, and that’s not a good move in the long term. The only reason I think a company would do this is if they are in financial difficulty and need the income from the retail sales ASAP to bail themselves out of a grossly mismanaged project. I have no doubt that Padcaster’s reputation has been ruined by this debacle.

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Professional photographer based in Yukon, Canada, and founder of Shutter Muse. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, Apple, Adobe and Red Bull.
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1 thought on “Burned By Kickstarter: A Padcaster Parrot Pro Story”

  1. Paid for it. Was told it was going to ship any minute, was asked for (and paid) shipping charges, extra! Then he went radio silent after saying units were ready to ship and closed the Indiegogo! Sent him emails, no response. SCAM.


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