The next chapter when it comes to denying refunds

Seems like Purism once again changed the rules for refunds. At least that is what i make of the answer to my renewed demand of a refund. Things really seem to be pretty rough for them…

I was one of the earliest backers of the L5 campaign in Septembre 2017. With ever more delays and misinformation i wanted to make use of my right to a refund already in 2020. “Unfortunately” (yes, that is a quote from the answer at the time) Purism had changed the terms of service, so that i would only get my refund when my phone was due to be sent. Well, it’s illegal, but from outside the US i seem to be unable to do anything against it. So i waited.

Now several people who ordered later than me reported to have gotten their phone. Thus, i asked Purism why no one had gotten into contact with me concerning my refund. The answer: i can chose between getting the ordered phone and a coupon of the price i originally paid, to be spent in their webshop. Needless to say that my question for the legal basis for this remains to be unanswered.

So, if anyone thinks to buy from them: hands off! Especially if You are based outside the US!


In my opinion, you will come out ahead if you just take delivery of the phone, don’t even open the box, and then resell it online. Easy profit at the moment.


This is definitely not what i will do. I don’t speculate in goods.


Then you could sell it for your actual cost, including shipping and VAT. Others have sold theirs right here in the forum.

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Well, please let me be clear: the topic of this thread is not “how can i take the risk off of Purism”, but “Beware! This company does neither heed any contracts nor laws.”


Fair enough. Carry on.

Out of curiosity, what do you intend to do? Take “store credit?”

This makes me sad, because it is clearly unacceptable business practice.


If you insist on getting the money back, does Purism refuse?

Hmm… I just had a look to the latest (new to me) refund policy:

  1. If, for any reason, you want to cancel your order before it was shipped, we will issue a full refund.
  1. If you want to draw funds from any product that you: crowdfund, back, pre-order, early purchase, pre-purchase: when your pre-order is reached in the shipping queue you can decide whether to have it shipped or opt for some other option.

So, full refunds are now only for “orders”. For “pre-orders” you get “some other option” - those coupons, I guess?. And Purism applies it retroactively with no prior notice… Wild wild west style again…

( site has changed too. The Todd’s daughters are mentioned on the front page. I feel sorry for them to be used like this to promote such business practices).


Okay, this return policy seems to not be seen by any lawyer in advance. :smiley: I really like Purism but being this under-specific “opt for some other option” while being very specific in every other detail is not ok.

However, it is totally fine to alter the return policy. Every company does this. Its just that it is only valid for purchases/preorders/etc which were made after it has been altered.


Since it doesn’t delay my L5 pre-order, I wouldn’t mind if - in situations like this - Purism would sell the OP’s L5 on the official Shop, with immediate shipping and with full refunding of the OP. That way, OP will be happy, Purism will be happy ($200 profit), a new lucky customer will be happy.


That’s actually a great idea.

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I agree with not being happy when the terms of an agreement are changed by one party after the fact, especially so when they are making changes in their own favor.

When you’re dealing with international contracts laws can get… Complex.

You assert that their actions are illegal, but have you talked to a lawyer to confirm which laws even apply to your particular circumstances? (No need to respond of course, just throwing out something to consider for both you and anyone coming along later)

I know from experiences unrelated to purism that sometimes something that would be illegal in one place becomes legal when only one party is in that place and the other party is in another. (Now that can devolve quickly into its own topic, this is just a point of reference for why I ask about confirming the laws that apply to your specific interaction)

As a social purpose company I’d be curious what social purpose this behavior is intended to serve…


It could be argued that as a crowdfunder, you have zero right to renege on your part of the deal.

Crowdfunding doesn’t really work at all if people pledge money, the funding target is reached, the project commences and your pledge becomes a payment, the company spends the money in order to develop the product, develops the product … and then people demand their money back.

Go to something like and read the rules. (I understand that Purism didn’t use and I am just using this as a basis for comparison. Feel free to post the name of a different crowdfunding site that allows “change of mind” after the funding target is reached, if you can find one.)


The last time I dealt with this topic there were 2 parts: The contract between the backer/crowdfunder and Purism, and polices (not to be mistaken for the contract) changed afterwards. As long as the original contract is honored, Purism can make a policy change in the customer’s favor, and then revoke it later.

The Librem 5 is a risky product to make, so a balance must be achieved with product design, price, policies, and quality controls. I would rather that they skimp on policies for the enthusiasts and keep up the design and quality at a reasonable price. When the product becomes available to purchase from stock, then I expect the polices to be in line with what you expect from a social purpose corporation.


This change in the refund policy is confirmation for me that Purism is having cash flow problems. I had hoped that all the extra publicity that the Librem 5 was getting would provide Purism with enough new orders to provide the funding that it needs. However, this leads me to believe that Purism doesn’t have the funds on hand to repay refunds and order large manufacturing batches, which is why the company is manufacturing in small batches and sending out phones so slowly.

Purism has undertaken a monumental engineering task, and it is so close to completing it, so I don’t think it is time for anyone to panic. I see signs that Librem 5 is generating some new orders, so Purism eventually will get us our phones, but I now think that it will take a while.

We know that there is huge potential demand for the kind of phone that Purism is making. Purism just has to get the software to a good enough state, that it can effectively market the Librem 5 to people who aren’t die-hard Linux enthusiasts.


It’ll never happen as long as the company insists on constantly changing policies that effectively screw the end user. Anyone who does a bit of research discovers very quickly why they SHOULDN’T purchase a product


The OP requested the refund in 2020 and Purism told him that he will get it when it is his turn in the queue. He waited, and now Purism tells him to buy something else from their shop instead of refunding him…

Also, now, a new customer will pre-order based on “Place your order now, get it in a few months!”. He is not crowdfunding now, right? He then will found out that Purism already know that “a few months” means 6+ months at least. He can’t wait that long. He might also learn that he has to pay a lot of taxes so to import it in his country. So he really can’t afford to take the phone even if he waits for it. You might blame him for not reading carefully everything on Purism site and forums… but that is how you should interact with a “Social Purpose Company”? With lawyers?


Doesn’t matter. I can see no logical way in which you are entitled to get a refund on a crowdfunded project. Crowdfunding simply isn’t going to work if backers can change their mind at any point in time after the funding target is met.

You may be right that the OP’s financial situation has changed in the intervening years (with the pandemic and all, that is plausible) and it was suggested to resell the Librem 5 unopened (or even before despatch if import taxes are an issue) but that approach was rejected.


When I pre-ordered in Sep 2018, they already achieved their target and said they will make it and deliver it in April 2019. Based on that I put the order in. And in all these years it was giving me the option for a full refund. It seems that I don’t get that anymore either. I kept my part of the deal… they broke it multiple times already…

But in my earlier comment I show how some naive new customers can easily fall into the new Purism’s trap. That is an ongoing problem and non-ethical behavior.