Beware of shipping costs, International backers/early pre-orders

Hello all,

I’m one of the (many?) people that did not buy a Form1 through kickstarter, but placed a pre-order (February in my case). During this order, I got to chose my shipping option, which was immediately added to the amount to be paid. In this case, my shipping was US$ 379 (estimated delivery May 2013).

During these last months, I’ve been repeatedly coming back to the Formlabs website, to see if there was any news on when my printer would be shipped. As we all know, there was no such news. To deal with my frustration, I tried to see what would happen if I ordered a new Form1 (as I’m sure many of you have done as well). The Form1 price is the same, but lo and behold, the shipping to the Netherlands is now only US$ 279!!!

This means there is a US$200 difference in shipping if you ordered your Form1 to be shipped to the Netherlands back in February, or if you order one today. That basically means you’d be able to order an EXTRA bottle of resin and have some cash left for a cup of coffee.

Still believing in the good intentions of Formlabs, I created a ticket, asking for clarification on this issue, assuming I would be refunded for the lowered shipping costs. After waiting for 14 days, however, my surprise was big as I read the following answer:

In terms of the shipping cost for the Form 1 itself, you would have to reorder the printer to get the lower shipping cost due to the difference in exchange rates between now and this past February. However, reordering would cause you to lose your place in line – as soon as we’re finished fulfilling Kickstarter pledges, we’ll begin shipping pre-orders in order of when they were received. The choice is up to you, of course; we want to get you printing on a Form 1 as soon as we possibly can.

So… while I’m not a Kickstarter backer, I do like to think I helped support Formlabs by ordering (AND PAYING) the full amount while they were still developing their product. Months and months of waiting have gone by. And now we’re being punished for ordering early, because if you order at this moment, you’ll get a US$200 bonus!!!

I’m secretly hoping the answer was a mistake by one of the new customer support staff that was recently hired, and have asked for further clarification in the ticket. However, I’m very curious how this would work for Kickstarter backers. Would they also have to cancel and re-order their printers??? Would this also mean they would move back to the end of the queue??

Oh dear… I don’t even want to think of the upheaval that would cause. So be warned…

Hmmm… coincidence or on purpose, but currently it’s not possible to check shipping rates anymore using the method I used before…

Our shipping rates do fluctuate in real-time, based on a number of factors. Over the past several months, as our volume of shipments has grown, we’ve managed to negotiate better rates with our international carriers – our overhauled shipping calculator is passing those on to you!

Those rates are very much variable from location-to-location, and in some cases, can be dramatically better than the rates we were getting earlier in the year. That’s great for all of us – it’s cheaper to get resin, resin trays, and of course, printers themselves around the world.

We’re continuing to work to minimize our shipping costs and pass on the savings to you, and we’re laying plans to ship directly from international locations, which will bring down our shipping costs still further.

The rate you paid was what was originally quoted to us at the time you placed your order – we understand that it’s been a real slog, waiting for your machine, and that it adds insult to injury to not get the better shipping rates we’re now receiving, so we’re willing to extend you the difference in store credit back. We’ll process that now.

If any other pre-order customers feel like they’ve been similarly affected, take a look at our new shipping calculator to check your rates, and drop us a note at We’ll see what we can do. If you do decide to cancel and re-order, however, that will update your shipping date.

If the calculator isn’t functioning correctly now, we’ll take a look. There haven’t been any changes on that front.  Repeated checks with the same address will be cached, and if it times out during a request, that specific address will be cached as invalid, at least until it clears. That’s a present limitation in our system that we’re working around.

And yes, we do have a lot of new faces in the office – and we’re working on a number of our policies at once, so apologies for the crossed-signals!

Thanks Sam!

This is an answer that makes me happy, indeed, as store credit would work fine for me.

On a side note, I just checked delivery to France, which is quoted as ‘FREE’.  That sounds almost unbelievable, could you check and confirm that? Because if it’s really free, it would be worthwile investigating a forwarding service from France!

Great, Andrew.

Re: France – Whoa. OK. That is definitely an error. We will take a look.

It has to be said, Formlabs *can* be quick!

Many thanks to Rachel and Sam, as my issues have been solved to satisfaction. I got the difference in shipping costs credited to my account and already used it to order the extra resin I was planning to order.

I expect this issue will also quickly be solved for any other international orders, although you may have to let them know about it.

Great to hear this - I just checked my pre-order (done in May 2013) and shipping to the Netherlands was $304 by then… maybe not worth it to go through this trouble. I am holding my breath on the VAT & duties that we’ll have to throw at UPS/fedex/…

The Oculus Rift guys had a great solution by using a UK distribution point for all european orders - got mine without any taxes! formlabs please check whether this might be viable for your business as well (you probably have palmer lucky’s number somewhere :wink:

The wait continues…

+1 agreed with Jouke Verlinden

I hope Formlabs ships in bulk to somewhere in EU region where the tax charge is low to 0. Assuming the average tax paid is around 20%, that would be a great sum saved for purchasing at least 5-8 bottles of resin.

(could not edit my previous comment) offtopic but maybe useful: the Oculus guys used a fullfillment center in Feltham, UK.

Thanks Ard van der Leeuw for the information

I’ve submitted a ticket.