Pebble Has Enough Watches For Best Buy, But Not For All Preorders & Kickstarter Backers

Is it really "Pebble time," Pebble?

Is it really “Pebble time,” Pebble?

Upon posting the news on this site that Best Buy had inked an exclusive deal to sell Pebble’s E-paper watches, we started hearing more than a rumble from our readers who had pre-ordered the watch as either a Kickstarter backer or during the general pre-sale. They wanted to know how Pebble had enough watches to stock Best Buy’s shelves, but not to send to those who had been waiting for months or even a year since ordering them.

In an email to Consumerist, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky explained that “After experiencing the trials and tribulations of shipping out over a hundred thousand Pebbles,” they “made a tough decision” to work with Best Buy to “to help get Pebbles out into the wild in the US.”  He also explained that “certain colours were harder for us to injection mould,” leading Pebble to offer an opportunity for Kickstarter backers to switch to the black versions and have their watches ship immediately.

On the Pebble Forum it says that: “Kickstarter orders for Black, Red, Orange, and Grey should all have shipping notices now.” Bolding is ours.

If you weren’t a Kickstarter but did pay for your pre-order: “Black, Red, Orange, and Grey should all be in Step 3 or later.”  It doesn’t indicate whether or not your Black Pebble will show up before they’re in stores on July 7.

If you haven’t paid for your pre-order yet, Pebble says customers can go to Best Buy to buy a black Pebble and then simply not pay when their position in the pre-order queue comes up, or keep waiting and the “US retail availability of Jet Black now and Cherry Red in August will relieve some demand on the getpebble.com pre-order queue.”

Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky tells Consumerist that all Kickstarter backers who ordered Black Pebbles had their orders shipped over a month ago.

We’ve fulfilled 93% of our Kickstarter backers already (leaving around 6,000 white watches that are shipping right now). We’ve also shipped out 13,000 pre-order Pebbles to people who have placed paid pre-orders for Pebble. At Best Buy, only Black Pebbles will be available. We shipped out all Black Pebbles to our Kickstarter backers over a month ago.

All of this is fine, but it doesn’t explain the hordes of angry people on the Pebble forum and elsewhere on the Internet who backed the project but have yet to receive their Pebble watches. This would seem to go against Migicovsky’s assurance that all Kickstarter orders shipped over a month ago, unless it’s very slow shipping.

To wit:

This makes me livid… I preordered my black Pebble back during the backing and had paid upfront and never heard a word about when I would get my watch. I sent messages and was told May.. No word after May… then told late June.. Then no word… Then on into July and now they are going to sell at bestbuy before I even get any type of notification. Horrid experience and has pushed me to cancel my order… Just crazy

And another:

This is so annoying! I was among the first backers and have Not yet received my Pebble (black). So this is your way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who supported you and helped you get this whole thing started in the first place?

That’s disgusting!

Consumerist reader Craig backed the Pebble in April 2012 and ordered a Grey Pebble, so ostensibly he should have a shipping notice or be part of the 93% of Kickstarter backers whose orders was fulfilled. Not the case:

I’ve seen some people report getting their watch delivered before the site says it shipped, so maybe I’ll get lucky. Based on how things have gone so far with the Pebble in general, I am not holding my breath.

Here is a handy flow chart we’ve mocked up to intepret Migicovsky’s email to us. Please let us know if it reflects reality or if we made an error or neither or both (click to enlarge). We should note that this chart does not reflect the status of non-US customers, as the Best Buy launch is US-only:
pebbleflow