Ping Wallet Collects $59,000 On Kickstarter, Disappears

ping walletThe Ping Wallet (later renamed Linkwallet) seemed like a boon to the absent-minded consumer. It was part of the super-slim smart wallet boom on Kickstarter, and it would sync to a user’s smartphone with Bluetooth and send reminders to put payment cards away, and even remind users if they tried to leave their wallet at home. Sounds like a great idea, and maybe it would be if the project creators hadn’t vanished a few months ago, shipping no wallets and not answering their messages. Update: we’re sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with this article, but the management of Linkwallet have re-appeared and say the wallets will be in backers’ pockets by the end of 2014.

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The Kickstarter campaign ended in September of 2013, with wallets promised in December 2013. What happened? Production delays are a fact of life, and shipping delays are always a possibility, and people who like to be super-early adopters of new hardware funded through crowdfunding campaigns understand that. However, the creators of the Ping/Link Wallet have disappeared.

After the Kickstarter campaign, the team posted updates about the project and its planned ship date. The last one was in June, with a supposed update from the production line in China and a promise of a July ship date.

We at Link Wallet would like to extend our sincere apologies for the delay on delivering your wallet. We are currently in China working on improving the battery life of the wallets. Here at Link we value product performance over profit.

Currently we are putting together a compensation package to show how much we appreciate your patience. We have been working non-stop around the clock to workout any possible kinks and begin dispatching our first shipment. Wallets are expected to be delivered by July. Once again we will like to extend our apologies for the delay and thank you for you patience.

Cool! The backers were patient, as long as they knew what was going on. As Kickstarter itself says on their backer FAQ:

Creators who are honest and transparent will find backers to be far more forgiving. We’ve all felt the urge to avoid things when we feel bad about them, but leaving backers in the dark makes them assume the worst. It not only reflects badly on the project, it’s disrespectful to the support that community has given and to other Kickstarter creators. Regular communication is a must.

Until earlier this week, the company was still accepting pre-orders for their imaginary wallets. Yet the last time anyone logged into the Kickstarter account that raised $59,000 was almost two months ago, on July 10. The preorder page has since been shut down, though it’s not clear whether Linkwallet or the sales platform they used, Celery, ended the presale.

Celery officially declined to comment to Consumerist about this mess, but they don’t appear to have any connection to Linkwallet except as an online order-taking platform. Backers on the Kickstarter comment page say that they did contact Celery, concerned that Linkwallet was still accepting pre-orders without shipping the Kickstarter orders that had been paid for back in 2013. They reported back to the comments page, saying that company representatives told them Linkwallet’s account was shut down after the supposed wallet-makers wouldn’t respond to any messages from Celery.

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Linkwallet also didn’t respond to Better Business Bureau complaints filed against the company by upset, wallet-less backers. Consumerist e-mailed the company and called the phone number on file, which had been disconnected.

Some backers are teaming up to file a lawsuit against the Miami-based company. Perhaps they could contact the Florida state attorney general to begin a lawsuit similar to the one that the Washington state attorney general filed against the creator of a game that raised $25,000 on the site.