Omnicharge, the portable power bank, is finally shipping to Singapore. However, many people, including myself, are super unhappy with their latest email. This portable power bank is supposedly the best in the market, with a targeted shipment date of October 2016.
As with any crowd-funding project, there are always the possibilities of delays. When I contributed to the project, I targeted end-December 2016 as the shipping date as I can see that it is a well-thought product and 2 months delay should be “OK”.
I paid USD129 plus USD18 shipping fee for the Omnicharge Pro which totaled up to be USD147.
During the course of waiting, the Omnicharge team listened and enhanced the product. Super great moves. I added USD16 and USD15 to enhance it with Wireless Qi charging and DC Output support respectively. The delivery date was pushed to November 2016.
Long story short. After their 24th updates (on 30th March 2017), we received information that those countries outside EU are going to get the product but with a cautionary comment about increased in shipping cost.
What I did not expect is an USD21 extra charge that I need to pay now to get it shipped. Here is an excerpt of the email.
As you may know, due to rising safety concerns, all major couriers have stopped express shipping lithium battery products since January 2017. Because of these new shipping regulations, shipping lithium ion batteries has become much more difficult. The Omnicharge could previously be shipped as semi regulated dangerous goods, but is now required to travel as fully regulated, which incurs extra costs. But amid these challenges we have been able to establish a logistic solution and are approved to ship out of China to Singapore.
Because of these changes the cost of shipping to Singapore has been increased, and to cover these costs we ask you to pay $21 in shipping fees. We have negotiated with our new shipping partner that this will cover the cost of shipping dangerous goods, taxes (GST), and other fees that have arisen since January. You can pay this to our paypal account at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write in the paypal message: “Shipping payment for (your name)”. Once the payment has been made, our logistics partner will be able to process the shipment and expedite your order.
So, if I have to pay this USD21 extra shipping cost, the Omnicharge Pro (that I opted) will officially be the most expensive portable battery charger that I ever owned (USD199). Of course, it has the bells and whistles of any portable battery in the market, is it worth the price?
With shipping fee of about 30% (USD18+USD21) of the unit price, is it “normal”? What about those portable batteries (in even bigger capacity) that are shipping to Singapore from China at super cheap prices (e.g Xiaomi)? What are the differences?
I have seen some complaints from Singaporeans on their comment section. I am still deciding if I should proceed with it, and what if I don’t. I think I am now at their “mercy”.
So, just be careful when you contribute to any crowd-funding projects. You are NOT paying a product. You are supporting the company/person in achieving the dream of a concept or idea into reality (a product).
To all Singaporeans who contributed to this Omnicharge project, do let me know your thoughts.