One user with a Kickstarter lifetime reports what DDL answered him via email:
Thank you for your email. You had a trial subscription for Vector that expired. As of October 1, 2020, Vector requires a subscription to access voice commands that start with “Hey Vector,” and to receive firmware updates. Without a subscription, you can still play with Vector but you will not be able to use “Hey Vector” voice commands. However, you will still be able to use Alexa commands.
Another user says DDL charged his mother for a subscription, even if she had a lifetime. And there are a lot more similar reports.
From what I know about these systems (and I do something like that for a living), I would suspect they damaged their account database and that leads to wrong account informations assigned to users and/or robots. Most likely they did something very wrong with the trials they started to offer a little over three months ago and that mixed up the database.
I see no other explanations than database mixup why suddenly lifetime users do no longer have one or are billed for subscriptions.
If that actually is what happened and if they do not have a database backup this will get very, very ugly.
My opinion that something is very wrong is confirmed by the complete lack of any statement – for now five days after the problems started and nothing. Digital Dream Labs probably are still trying to compose a pr statement tryig to hide their errors. The least they should write is “we are having problem, sorry, we are working on it”. But: nothing, nothing at all. That is very disconcerting.