UPDATE: I posted a new article here with my thoughts (and new research findings) on the chair now that it has been released.
Only just awhile ago we wrote about the innovative smart chair or the “λ Chair” from company Autonomous Inc since we had such great experiences with their “smart” desk. The company’s Kickstarter was doing VERY well, going past an original stretch goal of only $25,000, reaching $614,382. Only just this morning the company sent out an email detailing their goal towards a $700,000 stretch goal.
Many users were interested in the chair since it’s super cheap, with backers getting the chair for around $200-300 whereas competing chairs in the ergonomic space go from $900-1200. In a lot of ways, it sounded too good to be true–despite claims that higher costs see in other chairs are due to sourcing agents and other traditional retail factors. As of today, around 6:27 AM, only 34 minutes after the campaign’s last promotional email, Kickstarter suspended the campaign.
In an email, Kickstarter explains that “A review of the project uncovered evidence that it broke Kickstarter’s rules. We may suspend projects when they demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Offering purchased items and claiming to have made them yourself
- Presenting someone else’s work as your own
- Misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator”
This email is bad news meaning that Autonomous might lose out on a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, and we as customers–might have been tricked from the beginning.
After digging around in the comments, I found a user linking to what seems to be the chair, sold on another Chinese website. The same chair was sold on Maratti-asian.com–which appears to be an Asian company that also chairs. While the chair is no longer live on the website, you can see the chair listing here from a cached page. This chair is called the Maratti Victor Chair.
So what’s the deal? We haven’t heard anything from Autonomous directly, but some users are reporting that Autonomous has replied that “we got the suspension email out of the blue 30 mins ago, and we don’t know the reason either. and we’re trying to reach out to Kickstarter to find answers.”
In another case, a company rep explained the issue further: “we designed the chair in cooperation with one of the biggest chairs manufacturers in the world. We don’t resell it because one thing you can be sure is that you will not see or buy this elsewhere unless we want to open it to resellers in the future.”
Either the company found this chair and is reselling it and making a ton of money off a misleading Kickstarter campaign, or there is some kind of early deal they had with Maratti-asian.com which has accidentally ruined their campaign. If this was the case, another user from the Kickstarter campaign speculates that “sounds like they designed the chair with a well-known manufacturer, then the manufacturer decided to list the chair as their own product (with pictures taken directly from this campaign’s demo video, I might add), and now we’re all getting screwed. Good job, Kickstarter.”
However, Kickstarter explains in their email that they “take the integrity of the Kickstarter system very seriously. We only suspend projects when we find strong evidence that they are misrepresenting themselves or otherwise violating the letter or spirit of Kickstarter’s rules.” We will see soon enough if Kickstarter reinstates the campaign if this was due to a hasty error from Kickstarter.
If you are sketched out by this campaign and Autonomous, perhaps consider getting this chair. This is my favorite and one of the best-rated chairs from a known company (a bit more expensive mind you).
On their Kickstarter page, Autonomous seems to be redirecting people to buy the chair on their website tomorrow with a 10% discount. They still haven’t explained what might have caused the issue that caused their campaign to be suspended.
Autonomous has not answered what caused their campaign to be suspended. It’s still suspended, and for the time being, they are selling the chairs on their website for a significant markdown. Users in our comment section below and elsewhere have noted that this chair is being sold on other websites already. However, it’s still not entirely clear what happened with the Kickstarter campaign.
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