This witch hunt needs to stop.
We want to clearly explain the situation to everyone, so that there are no misunderstandings and that everyone is going in the same direction.
- Homepin is a new pinball factory, and needed a lot of support to get it off the ground, and, to develop itself as a mainstream factory. The pre-order customers have helped tremendously to get the project/factory established.
- it has not been an easy process, as our company has approached Homepin during these last years to manufacturer a number of our own machines and could see first hand the situation. Each time, we were told that Homepin needed to start the production of Thunderbirds, and once underway, they can start on our machines. Each time however, something which was not in Homepin’s control would influence this work and delay the project – whether it was a 3rd party factory running away with the moulds, or, government officials rezoning factories for different usages. In all cases, Homepin rolled with the punches and continues onwards.
- earlier this year, Highway Games together with Homepin exhibited at the biggest amusement trade show in Asia (AAA Show) and was hugely successful. Whilst Homepin could have gone into production during this time in April, the factory actually went back and tried to improve more of the game play and redesigned circuit boards to make the machine even better.
- Homepin is treating Thunderbirds as its baby. And because of this, they take pride in their machine, and sometimes sensitive when people complain about their “son/daughter”. Some people will like the theme, others will hate it, some will like the game play, others would like to see things improved. In the end, it’s the first machine Homepin has made, and as new models are released, together with fresh community involvement, this project can literally go where ever people want to take it.
Now, back to the current mess;
- the distribution model for Thunderbirds in Australia was not setup well, as there must be one price, warranty, parts, etc…. across all of Australia. It means, the importer is legally responsible for the goods, insurances, taxes, etc… and with this, Highway Entertainment has agreed to help solve all – one rule (warranty, etc.. ) for everyone.
- about 3-4 weeks ago, we started to reach out to all Homepin pre-order customers to explain to them that we would be helping with Australian support. 80% of the people replied, some customers complained that their deal was including free freight and installation, others wanted their machines shipped Fedex, etc… We actually understand very well that most of the people have waited patiently for their machines, and whilst its not our fault the machines were delayed, we allowed people who were upset to vent their frustration in emails or over the phone to our staff.
- as we have been explaining to everyone, it takes time, money and effort to setup the distribution network so that everyone can receive high level of service and support. A customer in Western Australia, should be able to receive the same support as a customer in Queensland. And, since we have offered 8 times the warranty compared to buying a Stern pinball, it means that we must have everything setup professionally, and, have the support of the local community. We are actually very close to announcing all state agents in Australia, and just waiting for Homepin to return back from UK for final arrangements/discussions.
- for a number of pre-order Homepin customers who have been actively writing in this thread, we did reach out to you both via email and also via phone and asked you to call our office to discuss best options as we will work closely to solve. However, many of you ignored us, and some kept writing untruths in this threat. As we told you, Highway is not earning anything from you – and wants to actually help you firstly understand the current situation, and, get you your machine as soon as possible.
- Homepin did actually start assembling machines for the Australian pre-order customers. And, at the same time, needed to assemble and release some machines to international agents so that the machines can be displayed across the world. Even though Highway Games (through its worldwide agents) has collected a number of orders across Europe, China and USA, we are solely focused on getting machines to pre-order customers. Any new orders have all been told delivery in December as Homepin does not have the capacity to manufacture huge volumes.
- but writing letters of complaint to government agencies, in various forums, or, today (if they follow Wayne Gillard’s advice) complaining to ITV, is causing further delays/problems. Highway did go to pickup some of the machines to ship to Australia but needed to cancel the pickup. Customers started complaining why is Adelaide (for example) getting their machines before Sydney, etc..... In the end, it became so messy, that we needed to stop as some of the demands were getting out of hand.
Having said this however, we also do not want people to feel helpless and alone. As we have mentioned, we have already reached out via phone and email to ALL pre-order customers and will work with them for whatever solutions we can provide. Your welcomed to call our office anytime.
Lastly, there are key people in this thread who are actively trying to destabilise Homepin, especially Wayne Gillard/Ballypinball. Whether its trying to convince pre-order customers that you will ship for them, printing distributor buy prices in this thread, and today asking people to contact ITV so that Homepin loses their license (and therefore people losing their machines if Homepin fails) is nothing more than vindictive action by a Homepin competitor. We therefore cannot see why you are going to so much effort (both in these forums, and behind the scenes contacting various factories and license holders) to destabilise and destroy Homepin, when really, you should be concentrating on your own upset customers. If you have something positive to contribute, please share, otherwise people should see your actions for what they are.
Highway has put together a plan for all pre-order customers (who have agreed to work with us) and will be contacting you again tomorrow with the latest news and updates.
We again ask for patience, machines will start flowing soon.