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Update 2023-06-30: PSA Regarding Mechs & Co and Vendor Group Buys

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Update 2023-06-30

Per our last update, moderators from Geekhack, /r/MechanicalKeyboards, /r/Mechmarket, and MechGroupBuys have been in contact with Chris and Mike of Mechs & Co. Unfortunately, it's been a one sided conversation. We, as a united front, have offered to help in any way we can with Mechs & Co's situation, but while we've made good on our actionable items, we have not seen the same from Mech's & Co.

* We have reached out to other vendors for the possibility of assisting with fullfillment
* We have reached out to other vendors who would be interested in purchasing bulk in stock product to inject money into shipments
* We have ensured an open line of communication directly to the mod team
* We have offered advice and suggestions as to improve communication with the community
* Mechs & Co did not deliver upon regular updates to the team with hard deadlines set collaboratively
* Mechs & Co did not reopen their discord, nor did they post a transparent update
* Mechs & Co were unresponsive and unreachable through traditional avenues of communication
With that being said, we believe that there is significant risk of insolvency or bankruptcy which would put the fulfillment of the paid group buy invoices, let alone the unpaid ones, in serious jeopardy. Mechs & Co has a considerable amount of in-stock, unsold inventory, and we have seen no attempt to discount in attempt to revitalize cash flow. Due to the lack of cash flow out of Mechs & Co, manufacturers are cancelling unpaid invoices and have had to list Mechs & Co's stock directly or resell to other customers or vendors.

For the sake of transparency, we've included a list of paid and unpaid group buys given to us by Mechs & Co. There are group buys in which we did not get a status such as GMK Taiga and GMK Moonlight. Some of us are customers too, so when we decided to include this, it's because it's what we as customers would want. Mechs & Co collected money for all of the following sets and keyboard group buys.

Keycap Sets
KeysetPayment StatusProduct StatusGMK ArtPaidIn Production QueueGMK Terror BelowPaidDelivered to Mechs & CoGMK TruffelschweinPaidIn production queueGMK TakoPaidShipping to vendorsGMK TerrorUnpaid-GMK TiramisuUnpaid-GMK NTDPartially Paid-GMK ArcticUnpaid-GMK MercuryUnpaid-GMK GladiatorUnpaid-GMK Cream MatchaUnpaid-GMK CinderUnpaid-GMK BordeauxUnpaid-GMK RegalUnpaid-GMK Beige AddonUnpaid-GMK WoB EssentialsUnpaid-MW HereseyPaidA-Stock in TransitMW PlutoUnpaid-MW Stone AgeUnpaid-MW CulturedUnpaid-MW BaristaUnpaid-MW FuyuPaidShipped to M&CMW PavilionUnpaid-MW CommuteUnpaid-MW HayastanUnpaid-DMK RubberPaidIn transit
KeyboardPayment StatusJex 3CV2PaidBulwarkUnpaidHubble65Partially Paid - Final Invoice still owedXOX70PaidSaevus CorUnpaid/CancelledLoki65Unpaid/CancelledNorvus60Paid - Status Unknown (Supposedly in M&C Warehouse)
As this situation continues to unfold, we want to remind the community of a few things:

* Watch for red flags in vendors such as excessive group buys or lack of communication
* When possible, purchase with a payment method that offers buyer protection, like many credit card companies do
* Do your due diligence for GBs, and report a thread or profile to the mod team when you believe there is a scam
* Be wary of content that seems inorganic or persistently biased in favor of a company
* When in doubt, ask questions; if you don't get answers you're satisfied with, it may be a sign to take your business elsewhere
We are not advocating for any specific action; however, here is a brief summary of your consumer rights, which applies to ALL Group Buys, Pre-Orders, and General Purchases:

* Always use a credit card and an official e-commerce platform like PayPal, Shopify, Shop, or Stripe (some unscrupulous business try to request venmo / zelle / bank transfer).
* The PayPal Dispute Period is 180 Days; you should pay attention to advertised turnaround times (like some cable makers claim 2-6 weeks). Communication is Key. If they start ghosting customers and you’re at the 5 month mark, you should probably file a dispute, as this is the easiest time to do so. Furthermore, if enough people file disputes they’ll be penalized $35 per dispute, so it’s an incentive for them to follow through. Even if they are communicating, artisans and cables really shouldn’t be taking 6 months, so you have to ask yourself if you’re comfortable with the risks of potentially never receiving your item.
* However, provided you used a Credit Card and not a Debit Card, if you are past the 180 days PayPal dispute period, you may be able to escalate to a Credit Card Chargeback for Reason Code: Goods Not Shipped / Delivered.
* MasterCard, Visa, and American Express Credit Card Networks typically support between 360-540 days for a dispute, but it is best to submit one before the 1 year mark when possible. Also note that you may need to escalate to a supervisor, and specify that the items you ordered were Never Shipped, thus your chargeback reason is for Goods Not Shipped.
* Additionally, in the event you believe you’ve been scammed, file a report with your relevant local regulatory body, such as the FTC
* If you are not in the USA, there are also other relevant country Consumer Protection regulations, such as in the UK, Canada, EU, and Australia, so you may want to check what legal rights you have if you are not covered by a Credit Card.
As a cross platform Mod Team, we've taken a few things away from this situation to improve what we can do for the community:

* In the future you will most likely see rules regarding vendors and group buys to be consistent cross platform. While each community retains it's own unique space, it's important that we have some baseline rules to help ensure that we are doing everything we can to help avoid situations like this in the future.
* We've already begun to cross-ban scammers and people willing to take advantage of the community.
The Mods of /r/MechanicalKeyboards, /r/mechmarket, Mech Group Buys, and geekhack

Edit: Further status updates made on 2023-07-01

Original Post

Our hobby is subject to the same economic cycles resulting in reduced overall market demand over the past year. This in turn has increased financial pressures on several KB vendors, many of whom operate on limited cash flow and deferred product fulfillment.

Some vendors (such as Prevail) closed while making good on their customer obligations, while others have overextended themselves, resulting in insufficient funds to fulfill orders or pay manufacturers for existing orders. Notably, while the hobby was in peak demand during covid, several vendors re-invested Group Buy (GB) profits to meet Minimum Order Quantities or MOQ (for example, if there is a minimum quantity of 1000 and only 700 sets sold, the lead vendor bought the remaining required 300), and/or bought a large quantity of extra units beyond the MOQ. Vendors purchased these extra units hoping to make more profit, assuming demand would continue to grow, which has not happened.

It has come to our attention that Mechs & Co, who ran many GBs, has been financially struggling due to the aforementioned circumstances. We are currently in touch with the owners, who have committed to providing regular updates and transparency on their unfulfilled GBs and pending orders. While this will not solve the problem for all customers, if they deliver on their promise, it will at least provide more visibility which is currently lacking.

We strongly recommend that the community be extremely cautious when joining any GB from any vendor, especially those who have a large number of unfulfilled GBs. Be alert when updates start to become irregular or cease, and avoid joining more GBs from those vendors.
We intend to follow up as soon as we have more information about the situation.

The Mods of /r/MechanicalKeyboards, /r/mechmarket, Mech Group Buys, and Geekhack

Link to /r/mk topic on the matter

Thanks for the PSA. Unfortunately, I feel that some of the cues require you to dig deeper and also be able to recognize certain trends. It's not always easy for newcomers to read the signs and make an informed purchase decision, especially when other vendors can be doing the same things and still appear "fine."

for real though, maybe a guide to safer buying or similar could help

^good stuff

Please give a stern talking to next.

appreciate the info Hoff & Hali coming thru w/ the receipts; a true shame though.

Thanks for mentioning this. COVID was probably the main reason why the hobby exploded in popularity and for some reason these vendors didn't think to themselves whether the hobby will maintain it's popularity after covid, and whether it was sustainable to do so.

after all of these fiasco with shady vendors, it has definitely made me more weary when it comes to joining group buys and I hope everything can get resolved with vendors like Mech&Co but the reality is that products might not be delivered ever, so I hope that damage is minimal.


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