Last March I heard about these cool new headphones that were finally going to be the ones to break wires, so to speak. I read about them when they were a Kickstarter, but I waited until they were available on their website because if you put money into a Kickstarter project, and it never comes to light, you lose that money. So, I purchased on the website instead. Remember, this was in 2016.
The first delivery date was supposed to be June 2016. They ran into some delays and the first date was pushed to fall 2016. I though, “Ok, projects with as much ambition as this one, sometimes unexpected things crop up.” Fall 2016 comes, no dice. They were now pushed to March 2017. March 2017, more problems. This should have been my warning sign to get a refund, but I like helping start-ups that may be game changers. Then the new release date, June 2017, was missed. Finally, in late July 2017, they claim, units have begun shipping. I was stoked. I wasn’t in the Kickstarter campaign and I knew I wouldn’t be in the first batch. I kept checking the website for updates and they slowed to a crawl.
Fast-forward to last night’s email…
Dear backers of KANOA,Over the past 2 years you have joined KANOA on this journey to create something special. Despite the many challenges and setbacks, you have continued to support us, and for that we are forever grateful.Unfortunately, we have come to a roadblock. We’ve summarized a chain of events to explain how we got here and what it means for you.How we got here:KANOA was born out of a passion for merging music and technology into our everyday life while doing that in the most natural way possible.Before opening up our crowdfunding campaign, the foundation of KANOA was already in the works. Our founder invested the initial capital in KANOA, which went primarily into market research and a feasibility study designed by a large engineering firm hired to develop the product.Year 1: Progress looked promising until the end where it became apparent that we were not ready for production; the product did not meet our standards and we knew it would not meet yours either.Year 2 : It has always been our mission at KANOA to seek the highest of quality at all cost. Thus we made the tough and costly decision to start over and develop the product we had initially envisioned. Our dedication to our backers and their belief in our product pushed us to continue.To catch up on a mostly lost Year 1, we began hiring more in-house, brought on seasoned experts to manage the transition into a new team of hand-picked engineers, and took greater control of the development of the product. Another costly endeavor, but our team included some of the most skilled and hard-working people. Throughout this process, being completely transparent with our backers became a corner stone of our culture, posting a detailed update every single Thursday since. We partnered with an excellent contract manufacturer who helped us make leaps of progress towards bringing the product to market.Last week : We shipped some of the first KANOA earphones and launched our mobile app into the Apple App Store. .Capital funding is essential for ramping up production. Unlike on typical crowdfunding platforms we allowed backers to ask for refunds at any time. This policy kept us honest, but also added vulnerability once we had made major financial commitments. Setbacks and some bad publicity, like reviews of non-shippable beta units, stirred our audience. Most significantly and to our unpleasant surprise, our investors recently backed out of our funding round. We do not blame them, but this was a pivotal setback since capital was essential for ramping up production.Today : At this time, we are in negotiations with investors for funding, and also large tech companies on an acquisition, while prioritizing our commitment via KANOA to you. Unfortunately, without that investment, we do not have enough capital to stay operational while we find a solution.What this means for backers:As a backer you have played an integral role in the development of the KANOA product and company. We are proud of the level of engagement and passion you have shared with us every day. Our loyalty and dedication has always been towards you. Which makes it even more difficult to say that without the capital to fund production, we will not be fulfilling any more preorders.While we are proud of our team for taking the company this far, without the necessary capital to continue, all employees have been let go; this means that customer support and social media are unmanned or have been shut down.This is not the outcome we had foreseen, and with the quick turn of events, we are emotionally overwhelmed. We know you are disappointed, and can only ask that you understand that we genuinely tried.KANOA was a small dedicated team, and we fought persistently day and night to make KANOA a reality. You can be assured that we are doing our utmost best to come back to you in the future with an option to deliver to you.Sincerely,-KANOA, INC.
Needless to say, I was pissed. They had my $140, and I wasn’t going to get the product I was promised. I came upon this video this morning and everything came to light. Kanoa was a scam, not an outright scam, but a scam nonetheless. They obviously couldn’t produce the product they claimed they could and were just going to ship whatever they could.
Up until a few days ago they were still accepting orders and taking people’s money knowing full well they were not going to ship them a unit. Now, it’s a full-blow scam. All social media accounts released to Kanoa are deleted. The website only has one page. They took the money and ran. People haven’t been in the office for weeks as there’s FedEx delivery notices on the door. They’re gone and the money is gone. The letter above reads like it is nothing but a legal attempt to keep the money and not deliver a product.
If you, like me, have been take by Kanoa, there is the beginning process of re-couping our money with a class action lawsuit. Since I “pre-ordered” these last year, the window to dispute my charge has passed. I should have used PayPal and I could have, most likely, recouped my money. Alas, I cannot through normal means.
Here is a link to the Facebook page for the class action lawsuit. https://www.facebook.com/kanoaclassactionlawsuit/
And here is the video that brought to light the scam that is Kanoa.