Friday, October 2, 2015

The ordeal of backing Pebble Time Steel smartwatch as a kickstarter backer

This is the first time I have backed a project on kickstarter. And, boy, it has been one exhillarating roller coaster ride. It is nice to see a project get incubated and grow against the goliaths in the same industry. The pebble time steel was backed in March 2015. I have recieved the watch on october 1st 2015.

There are some 40,000 comments on the kickstarter website. Most comments can be classified under the following headings
1. Backer numbers
2. The choice of colors
3. Requesting language packs
4. Lack of communication from the pebble side
5. Evident proof of lack of customer support
6. Receipt of tracking numbers
7. Receipt of watches
8. Watches shipped without any regard to the backup number
9. Steel bands not shipped with pebble time "steel". The greatest joke on backers
10. Not to forget how much people loved their pebble time and its simple, intuitive interface.

On this web page you need the tracking number given by the importing country's postal service. If that country has an arrangement of EDI with our country then you can track the shipment through India post. Otherwise, Wait for the Force to Help you.

Aug 24      My order is succesfully processed(email from pebble)
sept 15     See the tracking number in the source code of the plege page
sept 17     Recieved email from pebble with the same tracking number
sept 19     Started seeing tracking info on singapore posts website
sept 21     Package arrived at chennai. From now on tracking information will be available only from India post website.

Tracking through India post is at

sept 30     Went to Bangalore foreign post office and found out that the package was opened in the morning(Lucky)

Once the package leaves chennai all the modern tracking technologies(EDI and the like) stop and we are back to the age old excel sheet entry at the post office.

Reached the foreign post office at 12.00 Noon. The visit was not planned but just went ahead on a hunch.

1. Went to the first desk. Gave the tracking number. The tracking number is searched for data in a Microsoft Excel sheet. A tracking number unique to the Foreign post office(It is actually a serial number which may be generated as the parcels are Recieved) is given
2. With this serial number you go to the next person. He will inform you whether the parcel has been inspected or not.
3. If it is inspected, then you have to go to the guy who will value the item and affix duties
4. Bangalore post office has a standard procedure. Affix a duty of 44% of the total cost(price of the item + shipping costs). No questions to be asked and none will be answered.
5. If the total cost of the item is less than INR 2,000/- then you are a lucky guy.
6. If the item is marked as "gift" and the total cost is less than INR 10,000/-, then too you are lucky
7. Otherwise, the duty is a standard 44% of the total cost. If you think otherwise go armed with all the necessary forex docs to state your case and wish you all the very best in your endeavour.
8. Once you recieve notification that the package has arrived at chennai, wait for a minimum of 10 days before visting the post office.
9. The foreign post office is in the Central GPO, Near Indian express building. 1.5 Km from shivajinagar bus stop. On reaching GPO you can ask anybody in the post office and you will be directed to the office.
10. You can bring the item with you on payment of duties at the post office according to the whims of the staff. If they are in good mood, You can get the delivery at the office itself. The requirements keeping aside the mood of the staff are

a. The invoice copy of the item recieved(There should be an invoice in the package also)
b. Proof of transaction of payment(credit card statement of that month and the like)
c. Address proof in your name with the same address as the delivery address with photo.

Once all the above ordeals are over and you were denied collecting the package at the post office, then go back and wait..........
The status in the tracking page should change by another line indicating your local area.

I would suggest to not consider the free shipping option and to select international courier companies like DHL and the like, who know the duties and rules regarding import of various commodities beforehand. They get the item cleared at chennai itself and courier it to you at the earliest. Whatever you are saving in shipping will be doubled or tripled with the duties at the bangalore post office.

I had ordered a second hand book from the U.S and did not have any issues at all. There was no tracking information, just the info that the book is despatched. It reached me through Indian post in approx 20~25 days. The total cost of the book and shipping was approx INR 700/-

Anyhow, congratulations pebble team, for making a "Simple" watch. True to Unix philosophy of "KISS"

UPDATE:  06/11/15 :-  Recieved the steel watch strap and let me tell you, now the watch really shines. It looks awesome on the wrist. I have never worn a watch with a leather strap. It has always been steel straps. The design of the strap is also excellent and goes well with the watch portion.

P.S:  The round pebble watch is a fashion disaster.

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Nobody can deter me away from "free as in freedom" concept seeded by Sri RMS. See to it that u dont make fun of my belief. If u think otherwise, no need to comment.