Dough, previously known as Eve, fails to meet the smell examination
Here’s a truth I learned over the past four weeks: I would absolutely not trust Dough with my money. We’ve been writing about Dough, formerly Eve, since 2017. The company makes monitors and made tablets that got excellent reviews! But it’s also developed a reputation for disappearing with people’s money — a charge it disputes — and leaving some people without their products or a refund for months or years at a time. Four weeks ago, Dough finally promised to fix that reputation with rapid refunds and customer support.
I decided to put that to the test, inviting any Verge reader to reach out if they didn’t get help soon. Now, 42 current and former Dough customers representing nearly $50,000 in sales tell The Verge they were ghosted by the company after promises of refunds and ship dates. Most say they continue to be ghosted even after filling out the company’s supposedly rapid-response form.
“We really want to improve our reputation”
Four weeks ago, Dough claimed its fortunes had turned. The upstart monitor company insisted it would offer refunds “very soon” to the customers it left behind. It slapped together a new Customer Issue Resolution Form so anyone who fell through the cracks could supposedly get rapid help, suggesting they could receive their refunds or get their missing monitors shipped within mere hours.
“Especially now that we are launching in retail and shipping online from our webshop in 48 hours, we really want to improve our reputation,” Eve and Dough co-founder Konstantinos Karatsevidis told The Verge. But it doesn’t seem that Dough wanted to improve its reputation enough to issue many quick refunds — or even stay in touch with customers who filled out the company’s new form.
Out of 42 respondents, only eight people told me they got their money back. Four of those were forced credit card chargebacks — two Visa, one American Express, one Mastercard — so they don’t really help the company’s reputation. Of the genuine refunds, three out of four were merely the buyer getting back a $100 deposit because they’d never gone through with their full order. One person got a refund for two deposits — seemingly from the Dough boss himself. “All refunds come from company funds, not from Konstantinos. The account we use is registered to his name due to requirements from Wise,” says Dough. Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge
Only a single person confirmed they got a full monitor refund after filling out the form, sharing their credit card statement with The Verge as proof. But that person ordered their monitor only one month ago and changed their mind within a week. That timing makes things much easier for Dough: “All orders placed after March are refunded immediately, as we are able to process the refunds directly to their payment method,” Dough marketing and sales lead Javier Leal told me.
Meanwhile, 11 people told me that after filling out the form, they got no response at all. I checked with each of them again this past week to be safe, and they’d still received no new communication from Dough. So much for “very soon.”
Of those who did get a response, nine tell me they gave Dough their personal bank account numbers — and yet are still waiting for their refunds. Some of them were promised a refund by the first or second week of September, deadlines that have already flown by. When they asked about the status of those refunds, the people say, they got no reply. Here’s what your inbox could look like if you were a unlucky Dough customer, based on numerous examples I’ve seen:
Almost ready to ship, we need your money to fulfill your order!
We’re getting your order ready to be shipped.
I don’t have an exact shipping date. Rest assured, we are all working really hard to get things moving. The current shipping estimate will not move any further.
(long past the shipping estimate) You want a refund? Don’t go, look at our great reviews!
We’ll process a refund, please provide your bank, address, account number, SWIFT code, and routing number.
We have initiated your refund. Please allow up to 20 business days for the refund to process.
I’m not sure why your refund hasn’t been processed yet, the request is still pending.
The request is still pending.
All I can see is that it is pending.
Get $300 off our new monitor! Unfortunately your refund was not processed as expected. We’ve escalated the refund process.
All I can say is that we are 100% committed to providing this refund.
Last chance to lock your price for our new monitor!
Due to the military escalation in Ukraine, the majority of our support team are currently unavailable. Our monitors made it to Amazon — order yours today and you’ll get it this week!
Most customers didn’t seem surprised by this behavior, though. They told me they’ve been ghosted for months or even years by this company — and provided reams of old email as proof. “Please allow up to 20 business days for the refund to process” is one of the most common phrases I saw in those emails. Some of those “20-day” promises were broken months ago; some of them were broken years ago. Two of them were broken this August.
There’s an obvious reason why the company’s refund promises stretch back years. The company famously couldn’t deliver to all the buyers of its original Eve V tablet from 2017 and didn’t refund them, either, pointing the blame at a suspiciously related entity called Fortress Tech that, it claimed, walked away with the money. But the emails I received from Eve customers show it had promised refunds to those customers too — “We estimate that we will be able to ship you a device in Q3/2020, or the cash refund in Q4/2020 at the earliest,” is another exceptionally common phrase I saw. Importantly, it said that to customers in 2020 — after a previous promise to do better, after shifting the blame to Fortress Tech, and after those customers had filled out a previous rapid response refund form. So when Dough / Eve tries to tell you it’s not responsible for those customers — the company goes back and forth on this point — know it already promised to make them whole.
Of the 11 customers who were newly ghosted after filling out the form, there are a couple obvious themes: many of them purchased an Eve tablet rather than a monitor, and the others were mostly trying to get support for a monitor that (customers claim) was shipped broken or bricked by a firmware update. Dough is fully aware that it’s ignoring the V tablet customers, telling me that it had received 18 form submissions from “V customers from Fortress” who “won’t be refunded yet.”
That doesn’t mean Dough is wholly unwilling to ship out new product. One grateful customer told me he’s already received a replacement monitor after showing me pictures of massive vertical banding across his entire original screen. Dough — Eve — already sent out a form in 2020 that promised devices or refunds. Many customers are still waiting. Screenshot from customer email
Another just received his Spectrum 4K monitor a year and a half after ordering it, after seven months of arguing with the company for a refund, and long after it started shipping direct from the company’s website. He was told last summer that his refund was just “20 business days” away, too. But they finally shipped it after he filled out the form, I verified, thanks to his UPS tracking number.
“Without your coverage, I’m convinced I would have never received the product,” he told me. Here’s another success story that caught my eye:
It was not until I competed the form in your story that I finally received a refund of the deposit today. Although I am happy to receive money which I had effectively written off, it’s both curious and disappointing that there was neither an apology or an explanation as to why it took so long, or any other sort of gesture of good will, and not until the media got involved.
Here’s the nicest thing I heard from a customer:
I mean, I would have preferred a refund (given that I’ve since bought a new monitor), which I expressed, but it’s obviously cheaper and less cashflow impact-y to send me a new monitor. I guess I can’t complain right now – but being ignored for 4 months and only getting a ticket responded to once you were both on CC…