Just to make it absolutely clear: everyone who has paid for their HackRF through Paypal or Indiegogo will be getting their HackRF, regardless of Paypal’s actions.
I have some disturbing news that I’d like to share with our community. Shortly after the campaign ended, Paypal took it upon themselves to freeze the funds in our account which was about half of the campaign funds. I go into more detail here, but the evidence now suggests they did it simply to lock up the funds while they earn interest on it.
I initially assumed that it would be a simple process to gain access to the funds and wasn’t too concerned. However, emails to Paypal are replied with canned responses only, and Paypal has refused to give us any indication on when the funds will be available, with their customer service staff telling me on the phone that they have no way to contact the relevant Paypal department that froze the account (I found that particularly odd). A quick Google search reveals that people in similar situations have had to wait 6 months for their funds to be returned.
What this means for campaign backers (don’t worry)
I’ve decided (painfully) to pay for manufacturing out of my own pocket, and hopefully at some point when Paypal have earned enough interest at my expense they will return what they’ve taken. There’s absolutely no way that manufacturing can proceed without these funds because this campaign was never meant to make a profit and there’s not much room to move.
I want your help
Needless to say, I’m far from happy. I’ve created letskillpaypal.com to warn other people from falling into the same trap. Please share this site far and wide. On that site, you can also sign up for information about class-action lawsuits against Paypal if you’ve previously been a Paypal victim, and see suggestions on how to contact your political representative to ask why Paypal is allowed to steal money from their constituents.
Indiegogo is partly responsible
After a bit of research, it seems this happens frequently to Indiegogo campaignsthat use Paypal, and so I also hold Indiegogo partly responsible for failing to warn campaign owners and campaign backers that Paypal regularly freezes funds raised through Indiegogo. Please contact Indiegogo now and request that they explicitly warn people of this risk. It would also be nice if Indiegogo reached into their pockets and refunded the not-minimal fees they charged us, considering the whole point of using them in the first place has now been rendered moot. I’ll ask about this and keep the community updated with the results.
Onwards and upwards!