I got a refund!

Purism used to provide immediate refunds for cancelled orders:

If, for any reason, you want to cancel your order before it was shipped, we will issue a full refund.

In early March 2020, Purism added a new clause to the https://puri.sm/policies/ page to say that crowdfunded devices can not be refunded while they are in development:

If you want to cancel an order for products that are in the process of crowdfunding or pre-order, we will issue a full refund once the crowdfunding/pre-order of the product is completed and all pre-orders are shipped.

On 2021-01-28, Purism posted this on its FAQ:

Per our policy, we can not provide refund for products that are in the pre-order status.

When you pre-order a product, you fund its research and development, so your funds are locked into it. When we reach your pre-order in the shipping queue we will contact you to notify that the product you funded is ready for shipping. At that time, you can chose to not have it shipped and ask for other options.

The phrase “ask for other options” means that Purism is trying to get you to accept an in-kind refund, meaning accepting credit to buy another one of its products. At least that is what other people have reported.

If you ordered in the last 8 weeks, then you are governed by the latest iteration of the refund policy. The controversy is not that Purism changed its refund policy, but that it applied it retroactively.

I believe that Purism made these changes due to financial problems, so I don’t criticize the company for making them. Nonetheless, the company can’t apply changes retroactively to its refund policy, and I’m hoping that Purism will be able to pay all the refunds with this new financing round, that has so far raised $7.1M.


Although it is controversial that anyone ever thought that you can “fund research and development” and then back out (renege). It is possible that there was a legal screw-up in the original crowdfunding terms that didn’t make that point explicitly and that may have been costly for Purism (both through reneged orders and through reputational damage). I believe that the actual original crowdfunding terms may have been silent on the question of reneging.

If the original terms had said “you are funding development and you commit the funds irrevocably”, things would have been so much simpler.

I’m hoping that they can (soon) start shipping phones! (even if it’s only the USA Edition) Selling phones but not actually shipping phones doesn’t benefit anyone.

Paying refunds is of questionable benefit to anyone (except to the individual funder of course). It certainly doesn’t generate the 3% return necessary to meet the obligation to noteholders.


amosbatto, that’s a super nice report, thank you!

That won’t hold up in court because terms of contracts can’t be changed unilaterally. I am reasonably certain that anyone seriously unhappy with that provision could just file with small claims court and get refund with no contention. But the first thing to try would be a chargeback with the card issuing bank.

My order wasn’t a pre-order though. It was an order for a thing declared to be “In Stock” “Now Shipping!” with delivery expectation 6-8 weeks. This link would perhaps be relevant here.

I have been receiving those “Investment Opportunities” emails too (3 now). I am wondering if there is any way to verify that they indeed have raised that funding (as opposed to saying BS in order to encourage to join the pool of “investors”). If they are (still) lying about “In Stock” “Now Shipping!” 6-8 weeks delivery for L5USA, why couldn’t they lie about the raised millions?


$7.1M. are not profit but just revenues which a lot of things have to be paid with that money.

I can understand the frustration of the people but you have to think logical in order to understand the perspective of the company.

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I thought it was 9 million they had raised last time I looked. Or do you know some other metric which isn’t being portrayed there? (which in and of itself would be concerning.)

They started with $2.5M (not from 0), because, by law, they must disclose how much the gathered previously.

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Yeah I knew that, but I’m commenting on the misleading nature of the way that was all presented.

They are not even revenue. They are debt and purism has to pay interest on it. I am not familiar with the exact terms of the investment, but as far as I know they can be converted to equity at some point in time. That would still jot make it a revenue…


Good to hear!!! Do you know which state Purism is located in? I’m in Australia so I think contacting their local consumer watchdog would be more useful.

Long story short:

  • I ordered way back in 2017.
  • On multiple occasions I confirmed my postage address when asked to do so.
  • They sent through an e-mail in January 2021 (went to my spam) encouraging me to buy more accessories so that they’d ship in the same box as my phone (which was to ship in late January 2021). In find print somewhere, they told me I should update my address (didn’t need updating… same address).
  • In late July 2021 I e-mailed them to advise my phone had never arrived. They were like ‘oh but you never updated your details, so we couldn’t send it! Sorry… outta stock now… we will send you yours as soon as we get stock in Q1-2 2022!!! Aren’t you sooo lucky!’
  • I e-mailed asking for a refund and got no response.
  • After that, they spammed me about an opportunity to invest in them (using the generic support e-mail address). I responded saying that I didn’t want to invest or receive such spam in the future. Rather, I wanted an update on my refund request. Nothing… no response.
  • Today I e-mailed asking for an update. Let’s see how that goes!

My biggest concern right now is that they double-sold MY Librem (after saying it was ready to ship) and then decided to deliver it to the second person in order to pocket more sales cash (i.e. they made the call that I’d continue to be patient as I’d waited since 2017 whereas a 2021 customer would go buy another phone if forced to wait). IMO given how ancient the hardware now is, this is unconscionable and they should be prioritising refunds for those who they’ve failed to deliver to.

It’s almost as if the spammie ‘update your details’ e-mail was an excuse to push-back 2017 backers (who’d forgotten + already spent money) and prioritise 2021 customers who were standing at the checkout (so wouldn’t have to confirm shipping). It’s really poor form and I don’t wanna do business with them anymore!

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Nah. Noone is getting their Librem 5 at the moment until the chip problem eases - and that wasn’t known about in detail back in January.

I still believe that Purism will fulfill all orders, eventually. (It’s easy for me to say that though as I received my phone, about the same time that yours was falling through the cracks.)

If you are a crowdfunder then your position may be more complicated, both morally and legally.

Purism only worked through a portion of the 2017 crowdfunders before they started running into delays. At last count, it was up to approximately the first 1,300 backers: Estimate your Librem 5 shipping
(And that list only includes the received devices we, the forum members, are aware of, since not everyone posts notices on the internet.)

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Incorrect. In January they advised me that there was a phone in stock that was mine.

FWIW they’ve finally responded to my e-mail. Apparently they will have more stock in 30 days but they won’t consider a refund until the said 30 days are up.

It’s shifty IMO. They’re now hoping I’ll change my mind. Sigh… it’s not much money, it’s just annoying how shonky they are.


I was part of that portion, as discussed. This issue is not moot - my shipment was processed and then later sold to somebody else (they claim this was okay because I didn’t respond to their upsell e-mail). Hence why I’m disappointed in what they did.


File a complaint with the states atty of California. That is where the company is located.

Send them a demand letter You create one here

You can search and use this web site to document their policies when you ordered your phone

I put links to the archive in the complaint and the demand letter as evidence.

You can find most of the information on them on their web site

Good luck!


I doubt that that is correct. It wasn’t sold to somebody else. It was shipped to somebody else, no doubt somebody who ordered at around the same time in 2017 as you did, someone like me for example. :wink:

I’m not seeing what part of what I wrote you are actually disagreeing with. All good though.

That is the current stated refund policy i.e. once you are at the front of the queue, you can then choose either to take an actual phone or change your mind and get refunded.

That of course forces you to think about why you would choose a refund rather than a phone.

I wouldn’t take that figure of “30 days” as gospel though. I will believe that phones have resumed shipping when phones have actually resumed shipping. There have been too many obstacles over the journey to assume that there won’t be further obstacles.

Thanks, I figure it’s worth giving it a try.

While I can live without the money and I get their situation (small company, low margins, chip shortage…etc), I don’t think this makes me a bad person for asking questions.

Anyhow I’ll give it a go and see, I guess.

Just curious, how long would you expect a company to hold a product in stock before sending it to someone else? There are others in the queue too, so to me it does not sound too strange that they sent it to someone else if you did not respond within a couple of weeks. The email I got was sent March 11 and it said that they needed a reply latest the 15th, which is a bit short though in my opinion. In principle i think the reason was fair, since what good would a device sitting in a box do?

Also, I don’t find it fair to call that an “upsell” email, when I read that email I found it very clear that it was primarily for modem and address confirmation, but also allowed paying for a sd-card, extra battery, PGP card or an extra charger which it was simply not possible to buy during the crowdfunding. If it would be an “upsell” they would push people to buy an extra monitor or expensive stuff like that like they did during the crowdfunding, but that was not even available. It was mostly cheap accessories which I considered just to be good customer service.


Importantly, it also benefits the customer to combine the orders and avoid separate postage (since the Librem 5 itself included free postage but if you ordered extra bits 6 months down the track then you are going to have to pay postage for those extra bits).

Also, for legal (safety compliance) reasons, if you want a spare battery then it may be that the only way to do that is to order it at the same time as the original phone. (May only apply to international orders and may vary from country to country, carrier to carrier.)


FWIW, Purism have updated their refund policy (one can speculate why - possibly consumer law advice/decisions played out) and mine is now being processed.

Please read through our policy in detail. If you would like us to go ahead with refund, we can now allocate your parts to another order and refund your Librem 5 product in accordance with the policy.

It’s going to take ‘a few weeks’ (I’ll believe it when I see it) but I’m not encouraging a mass exodus away from the Librem 5 just because the policy’s changed. More just sharing so that everybody’s aware of the current state of play.