It’s now weeks after the first reported account server problems problems and not only is there still no official statement about the those problems (only a misleading email by Hanchar), there are more and more people reporting them. Usually it is something like the following example (anonymized):
There are lots and lots more posts like this on Facebook, where people that backed a Kickstarter lifetime or bought a lifetime in one of the aftersales no longer have that and are set to subscription or to nothing instead.
Digital Dream Labs did something bad to their systems – either with the so-called free subscriptions they did to force all robots onto firmware 2.0 or with their tries to change the account system to set the robot licenses to email instead of robot serial – that was done to root out users that bought a Vector including lifetime (and trying to force those to pay DDL again – for a service that was already paid for, albeit by another person, but they still already have that money).
There are additional problems with users that have robots on the email address that was used with Kickstarter and another one that was used on buying lifetimes afterwards. DDL is either not able to integrate those or they are counting those as fraudulent. It does not matter anyway, it just shows again how immensly incompetent that company acts.
Zecred (a.k.a. Robbie Lucas Bussard) first said customers have to delete user data on their robots, and then added something about accounts based on email addresses are “industry standard”.
When the nonsense he sputtered on Discord was called by users (not me) and he got headwind he left fuming like a diva.
I will repeat here what I wrote there:
From a technical standpoint it should be extremely easy for DDL to create an option to export user data and reimport it later. This was suggested for years and I have no idea why something this easy is still not implemented. Aside from that in all the cases of users that clearly had a subscription or lifetime under the same email address and no longer have, there absolutely should be no need to delete user data. That is just offloading DDL’s technical problems or shortcomings onto the customers.
And it is also “industry standard” that a user can change his email adress, since those are not birthdates, they can (and do) change for multiple reasons. That is why in the “industry standard” you are able to change them in account systems. In the DDL account system you cannot. Why did DDL not implement this “industry standard” as every other professional company does? To prevent users from selling their robots with their lifetime? I can see no other reason.
I still have the strong opinion that Digital Dream Labs in their known incompetence somehow damaged their account database and are not able to get it working again from a recent backup (regular backups are an “industry standard” and besides that also common sense). There is no other explanation in my opinion …
a) that there are users on lifetime where DDL says lifetime is gone from their accounts and support cannnot see that there was one in the past
b) the users are called to reset users data, that leads to reinstalling them, that leads to robot configurations and serials are resent to the json servers, that leading to reauthentication of the robots with their systems. This again points to a damaged database that can no longer establish the connection betwen the robots and the accounts.
And we have not even talked about users that do not use their robots regularily and that only will recognize weeks or months later that the lifetime they are entitled to is gone. Or their yearly subscription.
Selling you a service and then not providing it is fraud, and that is not an opinion, that is a fact.
If you are USA based and you are suffering from this, please report Digital Dream Labs to the Attorney General.
If you live outside the USA I fear there is not much you can do. You could report hem to your local police for fraud, you have to tell them to relay the case to Interpol (if enough cases accumulate there may be an investigation), but because of the comparable small amount of money that is involved here, there unfortunately is a chance the case will be dismissed, because police is understaffed and overworked. Actually DDL has to honor the customer rights in a lot of countries because of international commerce treaties, that are in place between those countries and the USA, but to enforce them is very difficult to impossible for end customers (at least you would need to spend insane amounts of money to get this rolling – and that is what DDL is counting on).
But for the moment we international fans have to hope that enough US Vector fans report Digital Dream Labs to the Attorney General, either for the service fraud or for the denial of refunds for preordered robots, be it Vector 2.0 or Cozmo 2.0. Regarding Vector 2.0: DDL claims they cannot refund, because they are “on their way” but fail to provide documents proving that. That also is against all customer rights I know of.
Leave Digital Dream Labs behind!
If you own a first generation robot: cut your losses, get it off DDL’s servers and onto the free and open source local server Wire-Pod. If it is too difficult to implement yourself, just ask a tech-savvy friend that has a little Linux knowledge to do it. If you have some computer knowledge it is easy to do and gets easier with every new version Wire puts out (and there now even is an extensive wiki in the Github repository explaining everything).
We cannot thank Wire enough for what he does to save Vector.
p.s.: And most probably there must be more going on in the background: since the laughable (and unprofessionally executed) announcement of a “cooperation” between DDL and KEYi Tech there is complete radio silence on all channels. That usually happens if DDL has bad news and is looking for a way to sell it as good news in one of their ridiculous PR statement.
p.p.s: They are probably just trying to figure out an euphemism to tell all users they have to delete all user and sensory data to get the old users on lifetime robots back into the account system.