Offering a product with a false shipping date is wrong and illegal

Let’s say IBM offered a computer for sale in the near future that listed features such as speed and new features not currently offered by its competitors.
However, as that future approaches IBM says now wait 3 months longer.
What IBM has just done is violate several fair trade and unfair competition laws because purchasers hold off buying from others due to IBMs false announcement.
FL’S clean and cure machines announced in May for a September release has been pushed back to December.
If I made curing machines I’d be calling my lawyer.


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I am not going to pretend to understand the law whatsoever…but you do make interesting points.

FYI the legal aspects of this have been debated in the past here. Make of it what you will.

I’m not saying that what FormLabs is doing is right, it’s not, because they’re taking people’s money before having a shipping product, but in terms of a lawsuit because of “unfair trading practices”, that’s going to be a tough one to prove in a court of law.

They can simply argue that they had every intention to release the product on the original date, but unforeseen circumstances are preventing it from happening. They can also argue, that you, the buyer, still have the right to a refund should you choose to do so.

If on the other hand they refuse the refund, then that’s a whole new ball game…

The wording on our store was ambiguous and might have made it seem that the ship date was being pushed back so I want to clear that up. The original ship date for those who pre-ordered Form Wash and Form Cure has not changed. We’ll be sure to educate any who have pre-ordered Form Wash and Cure if there are changes to the fulfillment date.

The 20 week lead time that you’re seeing on the store is the amount of time that those who order Form Wash and Cure today can expect. Users who pre-ordered the units earlier are first in the queue.


I should have realized that.

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As to the law, that’s why IBM or Microsoft do not make announcements without having products.

I doubt that. It’s more likely that companies the size of Microsoft or IBM have enough financial clout to be able to delay payments to their suppliers until contracts have been successfully completed.

Not that IBM is in the hardware business anymore.

Large companies take pre orders and money without product every day. Often they miss the agreed upon shipping date. This is pretty much every Tesla vehicle release for instance (calling a dozen or so cars “production” is simply false on the model 3).

Delaying release happens all the time–for example there’s almost no video games that don’t get delayed (while having a flood of Preorder Now! advertising)
I buy collectibles and they’re very often delayed while taking deposits or other forms of payment.

IBM is one of my customers. They are most definitely still in the hardware business. They do slip product launches sometimes, though it’s a major issue when it happens because “We’re IBM, dammit”. But when it does happen, the customers who have preordered those products wait. I suppose that if delivery dragged out long enough and/or IBM wouldn’t refund the money when the customer finally got pissed off enough to cancel, then they’d get sued. I can’t recall that ever happening but I suppose it must have. IBM’s marketing practices used to be a lot more cutthroat. For most companies, though, you can cancel an order and get a refund up until the order has been shipped. I expect FL is no different in this regard so there would be no basis for suing.

There’s even a word for when a product is very late or isn’t delivered, “vaporware”.

As for the anti-trust unfair marketing practices angle, I think that would only apply where a company owns (and so is capable of manipulating) a big piece of the market. I’m not sure there’s enough of a market for UV Cure Boxes and Resin Wash Stations sufficient to be monopolized even if FL had this intention.

I’m not sure if I understand this fully but it sounds like your saying FL is selling something that may or may not be available on a particular date. I would guess that they are doing pre-sales of an item with a date that may or may not be 100% accurate. I don’t think that is illegal since a product is probably already in existence and the variation on date could be due to manufacturer of parts, distribution issues (slow boat from China), customs etc. There are all sorts of snafus that can nerf a ship date.

Not sure what the beef is unless you ordered an item with all sorts of selling points and never got the item.