Vega+ Shipping Dates
- End of September 2016
- October 2016
- In time for Xmas 2016
- February 2017
- A "few weeks" from March 10th 2017
- Summer 2017
- 8 weeks from August 9th (October 4th, 2017)
- Mid October 2017
- April 2018
- May 8th - 12th 2018
- May 12th 2018
- May 31st 2018 (Indiegogo deadline)
- June 15th 2018
- July 6th 2018
World of Spectrum
Searchable threads in one long post:
The Vega+ daily blog is now so long that by default it only shows the last 7 entries. If you wish to read the full history, click the button below.
Sunday 3rd January, 2016top
Monday 15th February, 2016
The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign opens, hoping to raise £100,000 to manufacture the first 2,500 units in the UK from a complete development of the Vega+:top
Sunday 27th March, 2016
The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign closes, having raised £366,655 (367% of the product’s goal).top
Friday 8th April, 2016
Directors Paul Andrews and Chris Smith resign from Retro Computers Ltd.top
Saturday 9th April, 2016
Lady Angie Sinclair resigns as a director from Sinclair Research Ltd.top
Wednesday 13th April, 2016
Andrews UK sends a notice out to games rights owners informing them to contact RCL for payments and questions.top
Friday 15th April, 2016
RCL post an update on Indiegogo, stating that Janko Mrsic-Flogel and Suzanne Martin are joining the company:top
Tuesday 19th April, 2016
Janko Mrsic-Flogel and Suzanne Martin illegally appear as directors for Retro Computers Ltd on Companies House. The shareholders agreement states that 75% of shareholders must agree before appointing new directors, but half of the directors (Paul Andrews and Chris Smith) never agree to this.top
Friday 22nd April, 2016
RCL post an update on Indiegogo:top
Monday 25th April, 2016top
Wednesday 27th April, 2016top
Tuesday 24th May, 2016
The former directors Chris Smith and Paul Andrews are given a bank statement for the month after they left showing that within a period of nine days (16 to 24 May 2016) consultancy fees of £42,056.40 were paid to Mr Levy, £10,000 to Sir Clive Sinclair, £12,000 to Mr Mrsic-Flogel, plus £1,176.68 to Ms Martin. So in just 9 days, a total of £65,233.08 was paid out.top
RCL post the following message to re-assure backers that everything is going well for the September delivery:
"We delivered last year, and we will deliver in September as promised to you and 3500 happy customers, and we plan on keeping them that way. We are sorry we haven't updated you, but that is because we are busy working with Rik Dickinson and in fact we are further ahead than we were at this point last year. We have a great team of programmers, and they are doing a cracking job. And the best bit of news - we have some new games - ones that we didn't have last time."top
Tuesday 21st June, 2016
MCV (the Market for Computer and Video Games) publish a statement from Chris and Paul. The article is called Chris Smith and Paul Andrews step down from Retro Computers and confirms the pair stepped down from the firm due to "irreconcilable differences" between them and the last remaining director, David Levy.top
Wednesday 13th July, 2016
George Cropper releases the ZX Vega+ Scandal video on Youtube, suggesting the project is heading into troubled waters and that backers should start applying for refunds.
Cornerstone Media International posts the following on Twitter:top
Thursday 14th July, 2016
Retro Computers Ltd release a statement (credited to Lee Fogarty) claiming new features will be added to the Vega+ including a brighter screen:top
A backer asks for something of substance from RCL:
"With under a month to go to shipping the 1st units you must have something of substance to show us by now! If you are, as you say "are further ahead than we were at this stage last summer". Don't get me wrong I think this will be a great product and clearly so do a few thousand others, but all you have is a prototype with a cracked screen and some painted buttons?"
RCL re-assure everyone that shipping is still on track for September:
"We are due to ship mid to late September. Next week we will be at Games Con and will have something to show then."
Later on during the month when RCL are called up on not being at Games Con, RCL say: "We are sorry that you misunderstood or misinterpreted our comment that we will be at Gamescon to mean that we would have our own stand."top
Tuesday 2nd August, 2016
RCL announce a Vega+ Game Coding Competition, "designed particularly to stimulate the growing interest in coding amongst the current generation of schoolchildren, and thereby to create a similarly enthusiastic generation of coders for the UK in the coming years." There are 2 age categories (under 16 plus an open section) with prizes offered in both categories and "the best games will be available for free download for owners of the ZX Vega+ and its predecessor the ZX Vega". RCL promise that "the software utilities necessary to create games for the Vega+ (and the Vega) will be available from the Retro Computers Ltd web site at the beginning of September, together with full rules for the competition."top
Monday 8th August, 2016
RCL tweet that "We are in production and very happy to be..."top
Tuesday 9th August, 2016
Dr David Levy, Chairman of Retro Computers Limited issues a statement on the RCL website claiming that RCL are investigating financial irregularities and that RCL are pursuing legal proceedings to recover funds.
(This statement turns out to be completely untrue, as the BBC will later investigate and find no proof of any of these claims. The statement is later deleted from the RCL website, but the original post has been archived).top
Thursday 25th August, 2016
RCL announce the "bar of soap" update with "Rick Dickinson Designed Vega+ Model Images Revealed For The First Time".top
Thursday 1st September, 2016
The software utilities promised for the Vega+ Game Coding Competition fail to materialise.
Lee Fogarty tells George Cropper "they are still on track for shipping to backers end of sept"top
Friday 2nd September, 2016
Confirmed reports that the BBC remove the lies from David Levy that legal action in progress to recover funds from Paul and Chris, as BBC investigated and no proof of these lies/claims are offered by Levy or RCL.top
Monday 26th September, 2016top
Tuesday 27th September, 2016
Chris Merrimen aka ChrisTheDJ posts an article on The Inquirer called ZX Spectrum Vega+ defies naysayers with confirmed launch date. and a sub heading Game over for the haters. Lowlights from this incredible work of fiction:
- Retro Computers has confirmed that the much anticipated ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld console will arrive on 24 October.
- SMS Electronics has confirmed that it is all systems go for the launch. Andrew Maddock, CEO, said: "We are excited that the project is going ahead and will soon be in volume manufacture."
- As it is, the device, with its 1,000 preloaded ZX Spectrum games, will launch just three weeks after the end of September estimate, which is an acceptable margin of error in anyone's books.
- Mr David Levy said "We are very confident that with the manufacturing strengths of SMS and the worldwide reach of our new sales and marketing partners, the Vega+ will be a huge and long-lived success."
- Online retailers should also have the product in time for Christmas, although it was always going to be too late for bricks and mortar retailers.
- The Retro Computers team is able to give out an almighty 'told you so' as its handheld launches in just three weeks' time.
Friday 30th September, 2016
The September shipping date is officially missed.top
Saturday 1st October, 2016
Lee Fogarty posts saying that the Vega+ is now going into manufacturing:top
Tuesday 11th October, 2016
Lee Fogarty posts the final date available for having your name added to the honour roll. RCL also confirm that they plan to have the Vega+ in online retail stores in time for Christmas. Highlights from the post:
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ to give our product its full name, comes complete with 1,000 licensed games built-in and is currently available via the InDemand phase on Indiegogo, will launch on the 20th October. Shortly before that, on the 19th October, the Roll of Honour will be frozen, and you will no longer be able to pledge to have your name or the name of a loved one permanently etched in retro computer gaming history. You will still be able to purchase a Vega+ via the IndieGoGo InDemand phase, but from the 19th October onwards we will no longer be adding names of backers to the list.
The team behind the hugely successful Vega+ also plan to launch on selected online retail sites in time for Christmas 2016 and will soon be announcing their new sales and marketing partner who won the account after a lengthy 4-way selection process.top
Saturday 15th October, 2016
The campaign receives "Arrow certification":
On the World of Spectrum forums, a member asks who is in charge of the the World of Spectrum twitter account that has been posting abuse. Richard Chandler confirms that Lee Fogarty is in charge of the account. (A full backup of the Don't Panic thread is online).top
Wednesday 19th October, 2016
Mark Greenshields had generously donated the royalties for the game Kick Off to charity. David Levy emails Mark Greenshields claiming that RCL have already paid the royalty for the game KickOff to Great Ormond Street Hospital:
Solicitors Teacher Stern also email to back up the story. Clare Toomer writes:top
Thursday 20th October, 2016
Launch party. People that attended had to sign a non disclosure agreement, and many people that paid for this perk were not invited.
RCL release (and later delete) the following update:top
Tuesday 25th October, 2016
RCL release update 24 with a bizarre apology from David Levy for not wearing a jacket:top
Thursday 27th October, 2016
As shown in the camera metadata, photographer A.J.Levy takes photos of the Vega+ components that will be used over the coming days to pretend these were taken at the launch party, 7 days earlier.
RCL post a tweet, claiming to have been filming the production line and to ignore the clueless trolls!top
Monday 31st October, 2016
The October shipping date is officially missed.top
Wednesday 2nd November, 2016
RCL publish a news article on their website confirming that their lawyers received a request from Darren Melbourne to remove his game Hades Nebula from the Vega+.top
Thursday 3rd November
The RCL team are at Wired 2016. RCL release a short 17 second video of the game Cray 5 running on a Vega+.top
Friday 4th November, 2016
Paul Andrews uploads a series of photos from the original ZX Spectrum Vega launch party to Flickr.top
Saturday 5th November, 2016
The RCL team post that they are at the one day Wired 2016 Next Generation event, where 12-18 year olds will be able to try out the Vega+. RCL say that "the big surprise hit of the day so far has been our very own Spectrum Vega+ and right now we are staggered and moved to see the powerfully positive reactions from a whole new generation of Spectrum fans".
This is the day that RCL will later claim that children found a problem with the Vega+ buttons.top
Wednesday 9th November, 2016
RCL release an update saying that they intend to release the highest quality Speccy product, and they were invited to be be part of the Test Lab with Telefonica - "one of the most exciting and innovative elements of WIRED2016 and WIRED NEXT GENERATION 2016". RCL also say "WE WILL come back to you with our more precise delivery plans very soon".
This update fails to mention the faulty button problem.top
Wednesday 16th November, 2016
RCL contradict themselves by claiming they haven't given Vega+'s to anyone before backers. On October 20th they claimed they had given one to Dermot O'Leary at the launch party. This was their exact message:
"We were really lucky to be invited to #wired2016 but we haven't given Vega+'s to anyone before backers. The Vega+ got a lot of love..."
Sunday 20th November, 2016
Backer Daniel Newby asks RCL what has happened to the launch video, and RCL claim online bullying has forced them to remove it. (Note: RCL have deleted this post and their reply).
Daniel Newby: Has anyone seen rc's video of the launch event is it on another website anywhere was a month ago I think.
Retro Computers: Daniel a number of people who attended the launch have been subjected to online bullying. We do not wish them to be bullied further and so this video will not be shown for the foreseeable future. We will be releasing more footage of the unit but not with images of people who backed the campaign.top
Friday 25th November, 2016
Almost 3 weeks after the Wired 2016 event, RCL release the following news regarding the button:top
Monday 28th November, 2016
Chris Merriman posts an article called ZX Spectrum Vega+ production is delayed but RCL 'hopes' for pre-Christmas rollout in The Inquirer. Chris talks to Suzanne Martin asking to clarify some of the burning questions from backers. The article explains that there will be a further delay to the Vega+ after playtesters had identified a problem with one of the buttons. RCL can no longer promise Xmas delivery, but confirm that backers' money has been ringfenced. Suzanne also confirms that they have been deleting comments on the Indiegogo campaign, and that they will not be giving any delivery dates unless they are 110% certain. Suzanne also says that the project is a "labour of love", which is interesting considering they have half a million pounds from backers. Quotes from the article:
Retro Computers Limited (RCL) has confirmed that there is to be a further delay to the ZX Spectrum Vega+, the handheld version of last year’s ZX Spectrum Vega, a recreation of the iconic 8-bit computer.
The problem was revealed on Friday night on the project’s Indiegogo page. The team explained that playtesters had identified a problem with one of the buttons in the small production run that had already taken place, which led to the decision to pause the full-scale production, pending a change to the component. RCL will also retroactively fit the new button to consoles already manufactured.
Does that mean Christmas delivery is off the table?
"We still hope to get some units out before Christmas, but being completely honest, we can’t promise that until we get the test results back this week."
But what about customer money?
"It’s safe. It was ringfenced from the beginning and anything you hear otherwise is completely untrue. The disputes are about the proceeds from the original Spectrum Vega. Retail of the Vega+ will happen after all the backers have their machines."
One other matter of concern is that when there have been problems, comments have been deleted from your Indiegogo page. Generally, that’s not the done thing.
"True. It’s not something we do lightly. Much of what has been deleted is rude, multiple posts (sometimes over 100), attacks on other backers and offensive. Some of it comes from elements that are not only known to us, but to Indiegogo as trollers and spammers."
"We’ve worked closely with Indiegogo over what we should do and are only deleting posts that break their community guidelines, after confirming with Indiegogo that it was the right course of action."
The main complaint is the lack of communication over a delivery date. What do you say to those people?
"We've opted to stop giving delivery dates until we are 110 per cent certain that we are going to meet them."
"We will deliver. It will be brilliant. In the meantime, don’t believe everything you read elsewhere on the internet. This remains a labour of love for all involved and we are passionate about exceeding your expectations."top
Thursday 8th December, 2016
RCL force-refund backer Peeto against his will. Peeto had been asking questions about the campaign, and to remove him from the comments section, RCL simply marked his contribution as refunded to silence him.top
Wednesday 14th December, 2016
RCL release an update called A Pain in the Buttons, featuring a video of a Vega+ being assembled and the infamous "labour of love" comment:
A 1 and a half minute video is released which includes footage of a Vega+ being put together. At crucial spots in the video (47 seconds), the footage is suddenly sped up, and when the technician attempts to screw the screws down, they do not seem to be grabbing onto anything. As the second screw is being screwed in, the first one pops completely back up!top
Tuesday 20th December, 2016
Backer Richard Ratcliffe releases a 41 minute video The Evidently [Vague-A] Plus on YouTube, detailing how he was forcibly refunded after RCL confused him with somebody else. The video contains screenshots from the campaign, an email trail, a look at the company house records and much more. Suzanne Martin refunded Richard's pledge without his permission, then as a gesture of goodwill for their cock-up, RCL said that the "refunded" status of his order would be undone (meaning he would be sent a Vega+ unit anyway). He was also told he would be invited to the launch party. (The launch party invite never materialised, and he has been abused for months in the Indiegogo comments, saying that he is not a backer.)
Paul Andrews and Chris Smith release a statement to confirm that they left RCL before any funds from the crowdfunding campaign was received. The statement confirms that the remaining directors and employees of RCL have been creating a smear campaign and spreading lies. The full statement is available but a part of it has been reproduced here:
Sadly we have been forced once more to issue an immediate statement with regards to the company we founded but resigned from on the 8th of April 2016. To confirm we still remain joint 50% shareholders of Retro Computers Ltd.
Once again we have to draw people’s attention to the fact we left the company before any of the money from the Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for the ZX Vega Plus console was received by the company.
We have issued this statement as it has been drawn to our attention in both documented and verbal evidence that the current directors and employees of RCL (Mr David Levy, Ms Susanne Louise Martin, Mr Janko Mrsic-Flogel, and Mr Lee Fogarty) have been spreading lies and disinformation about us. This includes false allegations as to (non-existent) unaccounted funds, missing stock and also claims of fraud, allegedly prior to our resignations from RCL. This misinformation has been given to multiple people and companies, including employers, business contacts, and online social media outlets and so on, in what appears to be some sort of smear campaign, to what ends we do not know. For clarity RCL have been unable to actually identify any such unaccounted for funds or missing stock: all stock was held in high security and tracked storage facilities of a major distribution company which we had no physical access to and no stock was authorised to be sent (under our watch) to anyone but company approved retail agents.
On a personal note we wish to make it very clear that had we known of the past business records or interconnections of the current directors of RCL neither Paul Andrews nor Chris Smith would have become involved with them at all. We also wish to be clear that prior to our departure Mr Janko Mrsic-Flogel was not involved with the company in any way and Ms Suzanne Louise Martin had been no more than a part-time contractor PR consultant, not an employee or director. We also wish it to be known that they were appointed as directors of RCL without our consent and in breach of the Shareholders Agreement by Mr David Levy and that neither of those parties own any shares of RCL.
Vega+ backer Peeto posts on the Indiegogo comments section to say that he was force-refunded against his will:
Peeto: At least some honest update. But I am out/not by my wish/
Retro Computers: Peeto... do you want to come back? RCL
Peeto: yes. I know, what to expect and still answer is yes. What should I do? I would like to have same pledge with same amount. thx
Retro Computers: We'll contact you by email and see what we can sort out. RCL
Friday 23rd December, 2016
The "In time for Xmas" deadline is missed. A VentureBeat article is published called Retro Sinclair ZX Spectrum handheld console to ship in February after series of delays. The final few lines of the article says:
In short, the company is now confident it will be able to dispatch the first units in February. How many that will be still isn’t clear, but if it fails to deliver this time around, there could be more than a few people asking for their money back.
RCL post an update on Indiegogo stating that there is a delay with the console due to a problem with one of the buttons, but the required modification is complete:top
Saturday 7th January, 2017
Lee Fogarty was found shilling for RCL today. Lee signed up a new Indiegogo account in the name of Nick Roper. Several eagle-eyed people spot that Nick Roper happens to have the exact same photo as Lee Fogarty's profile:
The bare minimum tier pledge level which allows backers to post comments on the Indiegogo campaign was paid and a comment added in the name of Nick Roper.
Once it becomes clear that backers have noticed the shilling, Lee alters the comment so that now it appears that Lee himself has answered it:
Lee posts an explanation about registering to add an old friend to the honour roll. Lee states that he has spoken to RCL and had his own name added anyway, so that he can post as himself from now on. (In private messages later in February, Lee changes his story and says that Nick Roper has in fact been dead for 20 years!)
Sunday 8th January, 2017
RCL ramp up the 1980s trivia on their Facebook and Twitter pages. People begin to ask about the state of the project and why "useless garbage is being posted that has nothing to do with retro computers". Their posts are deleted and users banned from being able to post on the Facebook page.top
Monday 9th January, 2017
George Cropper uploads a video to his Funky Spectrum YouTube channel exposing Lee Fogarty's shilling as Nick Roper.
George highlights several points in his video:
- Lee works for RCL, so there was no need for him to pay £5 to sign up a new account just to add a "life long friend" to the honour roll.
- There is absolutely no instance of a "life long friend" called Nick Roper on any of Lee's social media accounts.
- RCL have claimed that the device is in manufacture already, so shouldn't the honour roll be closed already?
Tuesday 31st January, 2017
Concerned onlooker Jamie Ball donates £5 to the Indiegogo campaign so that he can post in the comments section. After posting comments that ask serious questions and do not show RCL in a favourable light, RCL remove the £5 pledge option to prevent anyone else from doing the same. If you wish to ask any questions and raise pertinent issues, it will now cost at least £10 to have them ignored.top
Wednesday 1st February, 2017
Someone creates/renames an account called "Jamie _Ball" (with an underscore to prevent a duplicate name). The fake account ends up posting 4 times, and here are the messages in order (oldest at the top):
@Peeto, MY KEYBOARD APPEARS TO BE STUCK IN THIS MODE
WELL ITS TEATIME SO I WON’T BE HERE FOR HALF AN HOUR – I THINK MUMS DONE FISH FINGERS AGAIN.
BLEEDING CAPSLOCK – NOT ALOUD TO HAVE MY TEA UPSTAIRS ANYMORE. I WAS PLAYING WITH MY JET SET WILLY AND MUMMY BURST IN – DROPPED MY FISH FINGER SANDWHICH ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD, NOW NOT HAVE TO HAVE TEA AT THE TABLE AND I SWEAR THERES BREADCRUMBS BEHIND THE CAPS-LOCK key ooh wait a minute OH BUGGER…BACK TO TROLLING
GRRR – I’M STILL TROLLING – WE ARE ALL GULLIBLE IDIOTS, NO WAIT, YOU ARE ALL GULLIBLE IDIOTS – THATS BETTER…I AM THE ONLY PERSON IN THE UK WITH MY NAME. ANYONE ELSE WITH MY NAME IS CLEARLY A FAKE….
Friday 3rd February, 2017
As of today Friday 3rd February, Suzanne Martin is shown as the owner of the campaign when contacting Indiegogo:
Campaign Owner’s Name: Suzanne Martin
Campaign Owner’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday 4th February, 2017
After a week of replies on the Indiegogo comments page saying that RCL have something that "everyone was going to love", RCL release a 37 second video of a keyboard plugged into a USB port, then an obvious cut to a close up of the Vega+ that is supposed to show the keyboard working. The video seems to be edited in such a way that you cannot actually see keystrokes on the keyboard typing anything on the console. RCL also say there will be photos to follow:
"Kicking-off the final countdown with a tiny - Saturday Night Update... and the first chance to see the keyboard in action... Stills to follow...."top
Monday 6th February, 2017
The stills from the "keyboard being plugged in" update over the weekend fail to appear.
In a private message, Lee Fogarty claims "police have 20,000 screenshots of abuse from andrews, george, family, etc"
Thursday 9th February, 2017
A High Court Injunction is granted against Retro Computers Ltd, David Levy, Suzanne Martin, and Janko Mrsic-Flogel, in the matter of the unlawful attempt to remove the share of Paul Andrews owned in the company Retro Computers Ltd. Final judgement sealed 28th Feb 2017.
Out of frustration at not being able to comment to warn other people about the project, Codetapper creates the Retro Computers Ltd Vega Plus Public Discussion Facebook group. To begin with there are just a few polls asking people what they think of the project, but the group begins to grow rapidly! The description of the group says:
Public discussion and polls for the recreated ZX Spectrum Vega+ project. This group was created because the company RCL ban people from their facebook group/Indiegogo campaign/Youtube channel, they delete comments if they disagree with them, so they cannot be trusted to run an independent forum. This group was created to try and find out what the entire community (including those that have not made a financial contribution to the campaign) really think about the project.top
Friday 10th February, 2017
The infamous "after" shipping date! A blog post on the RCL website (with Lee Fogarty shown as the author) titled "First Vega + units will ship after the 20th February 2017" is posted. The article blames the previous directors, and ends with the line "We are, however, delighted to say that the first units will ship after the 20th February 2017."
The Indiegogo campaigns lights up in fury as this post is nothing but a "guaranteed not supplied before" date. Hundreds of comments are posted to the Indiegogo comments page.top
Saturday 11th February, 2017
When asked whether Lee Fogarty regretted inventing his shill account Nick Roper, Lee says that is a disgusting allegation and that poor old Nick Roper actually died 20 years ago. Lee claims that Nick's daughter (who was a baby at the time of his death) just happened to be scrolling through the comments section of the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign and saw her Dad's name being dragged through the mud. She apparently knew he was a big ZX Spectrum fan and thought a great way to remember her Dad was to scroll through the comments section of an obscure webpage.
Lee also claims that he posted as Nick Roper, realised it was the wrong name and changed it within minutes, but "trolls" captured it:
Evidence refutes Lee's claim, as a screenshot was captured 20 hours after his Nick Roper post. A second screen capture 20-and-a-bit hours after the original post shows Nick's name suddenly replaced with Lee's, so it had to have been 20 hours later, not "within minutes" as Lee claims.
Monday 13th February, 2017
Lee Fogarty claims that he is nothing to with RCL apart from their website:
There isn't one lol - I am nothing to do with RCL apart from their website :) But hey - the trolls will tell you different!— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) 13 February 2017
Friday 17th February, 2017
Paul Andrews and Chris Smith issue an open letter to RCL and its directors, asking for answers for both them and the backers. (RCL has never responded publicly or privately to this open letter).top
Friday 24th February, 2017
Indiegogo close down the Vega+ campaign due to missed delivery deadlines and a lack of communication to backers. The perks options are all disabled, meaning nobody else can contribute money towards the campaign.
RCL immediately post an update that the honour roll has now been closed.
RCL end with the hilarious Terry Pratchett quote "A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on".top
Saturday 25th February, 2017
A store is added to the new RCL website, with links at the top of the page allowing you to place an order for Vega and Vega+s.
The Vega+ costs £129.99 + £5 shipping, and payment options are PayPal or Store Dummy. At the end of filling in the form, the website throws you back to the beginning:top
Sunday 26th February, 2017
Friday 3rd March, 2017
Several backers on Indiegogo ask for RCL's address, and backer Bryan O copies it from the RCL website and pastes it. In one of the most bizarre responses ever, RCL reply with a sledge-hammer style response:
"That is not Retro Computers Address RCL".
A simple correction would have ended the discussion amicably, but Bryan comes back with:
"You're alive! Thank goodness, I thought you might be trapped under a heavy piece of furniture and unable to reach the keyboard. I got the address from your website btw, so let's say that it's as accurate and correct as the rest of the info found there!"
Please note that this comment (and the 2 replies) have since been deleted from the Indiegogo comments page despite RCL claiming they do not delete comments.top
Wednesday 8th March, 2017
Holly Brockwell publishes an article on Gizmodo UK at 1:30pm with the title "Will the ZX Spectrum Vega Plus Ever Materialise?"
Within hours of the article going live, it is suddenly pulled from the website. All that author Holly Brockwell is allowed to say is "it is being reviewed", and RCL maintain radio silence about the whole thing.
As a trap for RCL, a backup of Holly's article is uploaded to codetapper.com and the link published on the Indiegogo comments section. Codetapper wrote a post saying that the page was online to see who was sending out takedown notices, and if he received a reply that he would publish it for everyone to see.
At 10pm, the trap was sprung by Lee Fogarty, as he sends an email directly to the web host Mythic Beasts with the subject "Illegal article on one of your websites". No immediate action is taken due to the 13 hour time difference between the UK and New Zealand.top
Thursday 9th March, 2017
The awesome guys at Mythic Beasts send a copy of Lee Fogarty's email complaint to Codetapper, and he informs the Facebook group that Lee Fogarty was responsible. As promised, Codetapper publishes a follow-up article Lee Fogarty issues takedown request of Gizmodo article on the site along with his response that Lee just made up a whole pack of lies. It is clear that Lee is working for RCL to issue takedown notices, and the proof has been obtained.
The BBC publishes an article Sinclair ZX Vega+ funding campaign halted by Indiegogo. The BBC were due to publish the article in December 2016, but were threatened with legal action by RCL. The BBC delayed publishing the story to give Suzanne Martin time to provide evidence, but when she failed to do so, the story was published. Highlights of the article:
- Indiegogo halted further fundraising because of delivery delays and a lack of communication to backers.
- RCL's lawyers Michelmores LLP say they are concerned that the BBC is in fact supporting and participating in a malicious campaign intended to denigrate RCL's reputation. They went on to request that the BBC show them its report at least 48 hours ahead of publication so they could identify any false information, which the BBC refused to do.
- The BBC delayed publication of the report to give RCL managing director Suzanne Martin time to provide evidence of the threats RCL claimed, but she did not do so.
Friday 10th March, 2017
A landmark day, as RCL come out with one of their biggest blunders so far on the Indiegogo comments page. Nigel Malin asks "When backers ask for a refund, why don't you give them one" and asking if they will delete his question.
Suzanne Martin replies "We aren't deleting any comments - but we are aware of a number of bugs. Some people can't post. We have never refused to refund a backer."
Lee Fogarty is also active on the Indiegogo campaign, when replying to Jonathan Boyd about the shop on the new RCL website. Lee replies:
Lee Fogarty's statement is rather strange, as the website had the shop link added on February 25th, 2017. Lee must have some incredible software (that the rest of the world do not have), as he claims he can reverse lookup website accesses back to the actual name of the person! Some wishful thinking must have crept in here.
David Levy posts another excuse/delay on the Indiegogo campaign. This time they discovered that the software for three of the user features had not yet been implemented. They claim to be taking immediate action to rectify this situation but realistically now expect it to take a few weeks before they will be ready to ship the first units. The post then blames the former directors. RCL also claim they will provide updates to their progress as and when they feel it is appropriate. The full post:
Further Delay in Shipping the Vega+
David Levy: March 10th 2017
Retro Computers Ltd regret to announce a further delay in shipping the Vega+ games console.
Explanation for the delay
During what we had expected would be final testing of the product prior to the first shipment, we discovered that the software for three of the user features, which had been announced for the product, had not yet been implemented. We are taking immediate action to rectify this situation but realistically we now expect it to take a few weeks before we will be ready to ship the first units.
This problem is part of the legacy that the company inherited when our former Managing Director, Paul Andrews, and our former Technical Director, Chris Smith, resigned on April 8th last year. In their letter of resignation they wrote:
“We will within 7 days of date of this notice hand over or deliver to the Company any and all assets, work in progress, tech and data currently in our possession and belonging to the company.”
Unfortunately the handover did not include any technical assets, and specifically excluded the software for the Vega+ which had already, in December 2015, been developed to the point of having working prototypes available in time for the January 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We therefore had to create the Vega+ technology completely from scratch, starting in May, and the development work had to be carried out by a small team who did not have any of the specific Vega knowledge and experience of Chris Smith who led the development of both the Vega and the company’s Vega+ prototypes.
In addition to the above problems it is also taking us longer than we had hoped to fill the gaps in our list of 1,000 games caused by some games rights owners withdrawing their permission to employ their games in the Vega+. For some time now Paul Andrews has been contacting rights owners and encouraging them to withdraw their permissions. Why someone who is still a 25% shareholder in the company would do such a thing is a question best asked of Mr Andrews himself. We are making good progress in bringing the number of games back up to 1,000, thanks to many game developers and rights owners who support our project and wish to help us, but we anticipate needing a few more weeks to complete the roster.
The net result of all this is that we expect to make the first shipment of Vega+ units a few weeks from now. We will provide updates to our progress as and when we feel it is appropriate.
Several months earlier, children had apparently discovered the button problem that the RCL testing team hadn't noticed. And yet while they were fixing the buttons, nobody at RCL happened to notice that three user features were missing? Backers ask what the missing features are, but their questions are ignored.
Another update is posted on the Indiegogo campaign that clarifies that RCL have not changed the specifications and are committed to a British product. The full update says:
Very Much Red, White and Blue.
Fact Check - Over the last few days, there has been some speculation that we have changed our technical spec for the Vega+ - we haven't.
It has also been reported that we have switched manufacture to China - we haven't.
We are still committed to a British product, and we have some great new team members who are helping us reach that goal.
We have a planned retail launch this summer - but as previously promised we would deliver to backers before we launch to retail.
Tomorrow we will show you the first Red, White and Blue units....
In a Facebook post, Lee Fogarty replies to a backer asking about when he can buy one by saying "June".top
Sunday 12th March, 2017
Dave Barron (one of the admins on the "democracy" group) posts to Suzanne saying "I think when you get red white and blue on Monday it might be nice to post videos of them working and booting up, not just still images."
Suzanne Martin replies "That is what we always planned to do."
Another backer also asks for the units to be videoed, and if they are working units, to show them starting up. Suzanne doesn't seem to know what she has ordered and says "As far as I know I have been sent working units. They are spending the weekend in a depot."
Dave Barron posts that he will quit the "democracy" facebook group if the images do not materialise the next day. (Dave Barron sticks to his word and quits the "democracy" group when the photos fail to materialise the following day.)
Monday 13th March, 2017
Accounts for RCL are due today, and become overdue as the clock strikes midnight.
RCL post yet another excuse on the Indiegogo campaign, blaming the courier company Parcelforce for sending the units back to the depot despite Suzanne Martin claiming they paid extra for a Saturday delivery:
A number of people found this latest excuse utterly bizarre because courier companies deliver the parcels to you, not serve as a post office where you have to collect them from!top
Tuesday 14th March, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts a small update containing 2 photos on the RCL website:
Rose are Red, Vega+'s are Red, White and Blue.....
So a day later than planned but here for the very first time a sneak peak of our red, white and blue baby Vega's. We will post footage, better stills and another up-date of the screen booting up and playing a game tomorrow...but for now, we couldn't wait to share these beauties with you.....
We hope you agree that they look pretty fine....
The post claims that the photos are "a day later than planned", yet the cases were supposedly going to be photographed and videoed on Saturday - 3 days ago! This time RCL have made sure to strip all properties from the images after being caught out over the fake launch party photos.
David Counihan on Facebook asks for dimensions of the Vega+, and Suzanne Martin says they will be supplied tomorrow:
"Can Suzanne or anybody else in the know tell us all the actual size of the ZX Vega Plus? What is the dimensions and also the size of the screen. Thanks in advance."
Suzanne Martin replies, "I'll set up some shots tomorrow and confirm the dimensions....."
Lee Fogarty confirms he works for RCL when asked "Do you work for the Vega people?" and replies "I work for the vega people on different projects - they have their hands in many pies!"top
Wednesday 15th March, 2017
The backer that was promised the dimensions of the Vega+ by Suzanne Martin posts another message in the "democracy" group:
So yesterday I asked Suzanne Martin "Can we have dimensions of the Vega+. Her reply was and I quote "I'll set up some shots tomorrow and confirm the dimensions....."
So my guestion is where are the dimensions and where is the shots / video?
It doesn't take long to edit a 5 minute video or even to glam it up "Hollywood" style.
Come on Suzanne
As Ronan Keating sings "IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES"
There is also some comedy gold in this screenshot (contains swearing, but click the image to see it!)As it turns out, none of the photos or video of the Vega+ materialise, and for some reason, nobody thinks to pull out a ruler to measure the dimensions of the Vega+.
Suzanne Martin then posts the following about another delay while they give the video "Hollywood" treatment:
Suzanne replies to a couple of people saying she "will keep you informed" and "will update you later" and doesn't. A huge screenshot here is include, but some of the more amusing responses from frustrated forum members to this latest delay are:
- Probably would be better to upload after editing, I know that my editing software is a bit sluggish trying to reference HD footage across a network connection. I find editing it all locally first is a lot easier.
- Hollywood treatment? That's brilliant. I'm super excited for the video. Are you gonna open the video with a nice slow motion pan shot? That would be the bees knees
- Wonder if the extra time is being taken up constructing a bullet time camera.
- The longer the wait, the better the video!
- Am I dreaming or do posts keep vanishing. It sure ain't Memorex on this Facebook thing.
Thursday 16th March, 2017
An article by Gareth Corfield appears in The Register titled Why is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ project so delayed?
In the article, Suzanne Martin denied that the £500,000 from backers had been spent on legal fees, and said that the money had instead been spent on "starting from scratch".
Also in the article, Lee Fogarty is named as part of RCL. The article says, "Speaking on behalf of RCL, Fogarty, has since posted pictures of what he said is a Vega+ onto the company website."
Lee Fogarty complains on World of Spectrum that Gareth's article is biased as he supposedly spent a week with Paul Andrews researching the story, and only a couple of 30 second calls with RCL. Gareth denies this with the following tweet:
@majorrobbb I have just short of an hour of recorded phonecalls with RCL spokesmen, including Mr Fogarty.— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) March 16, 2017
Photo of ZX Vega units (3 in boxes) are finally shown.
The video is finally put online, but after all the delays and hype about giving it the "Hollywood treatment", all it shows are the scuffed prototype units that were manufactured several weeks ago. There are suspicious fades, no boot-up process, the button presses seem to require a huge amount of force and even then do not seem to match what's happening on the screen. One of the units that is shown turned on seems to have developed dead pixels already. These do not appear to be finished units.
The "Arrow certification" that has been present since the 15th of October is revoked.
Preston Thomas (admin of the website spectrum4ever) absolutely loses his rag and posts a blog article called Vega+ News - Mic Drop. Preston (using one of his handles "Sinclair Ferranti") proceeds to call people that have expressed concern about the Vega+ project "fuckwits", and another is an "asshole mouthing off like a 2p whore doing blowjobs all day on Indiegogo". The backlash from the community is swift and brutal, and Preston deletes his entire website within 24 hours. The original article was captured before the site was deleted.top
Friday 17th March, 2017
RCL publish "Just a pile of Vega+'s..." Been hanging out with these beauties...
An article is published by Connor called Crowdfunding Fraudsters: The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+top
Saturday 18th March, 2017
Four days after Suzanne Martin promised the dimensions of the Vega+ (and failed to deliver), Mat Recardo posts an image with his estimates:
Mat calculated the dimensions based on the size of the USB ports. For whatever reason, Suzanne wouldn't pull out a ruler and measure them herself, and only after Mat supplied the figures did she post to say they were correct. Suzanne then asks for permission to use the image herself, but this information is not dispersed to the 4780 backers that might also be interested. If you were not looking in the "democracy" Facebook group, you would not even know about this. (Some people speculate that RCL do not want to give any specific details because if they differ in the final product, they could be pulled up on this. Hence they specialise in vague information).
Somebody else asks how much the Vega+ will cost, and James Waller confirms that the price was £129.99 on the RCL website before it was pulled. Lee Fogarty replies saying that "the site was not pulled and the store was in testing and never public!" An awful lot of people seem to have seen the store that supposedly wasn't there. Lee finishes saying that the store is coming soon.top
Monday 20th March, 2017
RCL regurgitate last weeks video footage and release a second video called "Vega Loading Screens and Music" that shows slightly different cuts of the previous footage. Three Vega+ units are seen already turned on - one appears to be working properly, one has developed dead pixels, and one seems to have crashed on a white screen. Like the previous video, the button presses do not seem to match up with what is happening on the screen. There are multiple fades to black whenever you would expect to see something interesting such as navigating a menu or loading a game.
CEO Janko Mrsic-Flogal (CEO of Planet Computers and one of the directors of RCL) releases an update to the Gemini PDA Indiegogo campaign. He takes the unusual step of clarifying that backers are donating to the project, and that there is no guarantee of a product. This seems very strange considering the campaign is still acquiring funds!
"We just wanted to remind our backers that under Indiegogo's Terms, all contributions are donations to help us create the Gemini PDA keyboard mobile device, and not purchases where you're guaranteed to receive an item. We have every intention of sending your perks out to you, but like many crowdfunding campaigns there might be some bumps along the way."top
Tuesday 21st March, 2017
A concerned backer asks about blue marks on the inside of one of the boxes that the blue Vega+ shell has been stuffed into. In the photo, the box insert has been hacked with a craft knife to make it bigger, and looks like it contains blue smudge marks. Suzanne Martin posts a reply about photoshopping:
Suzanne Martin replies, "no that is a photoshopped blue line - well done for spotting it"top
Thursday 23rd March, 2017
Lee Fogarty leaks a PDF file he created called creepy.pdf which is full of claims about being watched, nails in tyres, photos of motorway sliproad signs and various other claims. According to the file properties, it was converted to a PDF on Tuesday 24th January, 2017.
One of the most interesting claims by Lee Fogarty is the following on page 5 of 7:
Lee Fogarty seems to have intimate knowledge of escort sites and their login procedures. Which escort site is meant here, and is there a reason why it could not be revealed?
RCL post Well we have some really positive news... on their website. The article claims they've been overwhelmed with offers for games, but they're reaching out for more games. They also state "We’ll have games details coming soon too….. stay tuned".
RCL post a response called Gareth Corfield of The Register published an “investigation” into the Vega+ crowdfunding campaign, trying to discredit him. Despite thousands of ignored comments from backers, RCL claim "Our sole mission is a happy backer - so with that in mind, your support means more than you know."top
Friday 24th March, 2017
Gareth Corfield asks for backers that have been refused refunds to contact him in confidence.
Are you a #zxvega+ customer of Retro Computing Ltd? Have you asked for a refund? Contact me in confidence - email@example.com— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) March 24, 2017
Saturday 25th March, 2017
Paul Andrews releases a statement that backs up Gareth's article saying that it's all supported by facts.top
Tuesday 28th March, 2017
Gareth Corfield contacts RCL giving them warning about an article he is about to publish:
Lee posts a rather abusive message back to Gareth, but as courtesy Gareth delays publishing the article a day to allow RCL time to respond. Whenever the media are about to publish an article about RCL, there seems to be a flurry of activity, and today is no exception.
Suzanne replies to a backer on the Indiegogo page asking about their refund and posts "We haven't refused - but this isn't the place to request a refund. If you have requested a refund through the legitimate channels we are working our way through those."
Suzanne Martin claims "We have nearly 20k worth of spammed emails from the last 21 days - we are very small team and we will get to people. We are just working our way through them to respond to people with genuine concerns." If Suzanne has been able to identify 20,000 emails as spam, why can she not just delete them? Some backers post comments wondering if RCL are classing refund requests as spam.
An ex-backer points out that there is a disparity between the number of comments shown on the phone app and the website. It appears that 2172 comments are missing. Suzanne Martin avoids answering his question (possibly because she has admitted to deleting comments in an article in the Inquirer) but instead claims that the backer is being asked to post comments by Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne.
Suzanne Martin posts on the "democracy" Facebook group saying that within 14 days (by Tuesday 11th of April), RCL will have worked through their backlog of emails, including the spam and refund requests. If you believe this post and you have requested a refund by email, you should have your refund within 2 weeks.
Another backer posts a comment on the Indiegogo page to confirm that RCL are lying about not refusing refund requests. The person had emailed them multiple times without any acknowledgement. They paid by Paypal and went through the resolution centre. Paypal contacted RCL who refused the refund.
Lee Fogarty posts multiple times about a plan by the former directors to bankrupt the company, but Lee ends the conversation by saying that it is all guess work on his behalf.top
Wednesday 29th March, 2017
Gareth Corfield publishes a follow-up article on The Register called ZX Spectrum Vega Plus backers complain of months-long refund delays. The article goes into detail about a large number of people that have been ignored regarding refunds. We learn that Lee Fogarty had asked to be attributed to "an RCL spokesman" in the previous article, and denies that he works for RCL. The article was delayed by a day to give RCL time to respond, which they failed to do. From the article:
We asked a company spokesman for comment. That person had previously given The Register a half-hour interview on 9 March this year, in which they asked not to be named and for their comments to be attributed to "an RCL spokesman". Their full response to our latest request for comment on the delays in refunds and poor communication with backers was: Another 'fact check' Gareth? As you well know, I am not employed by RCL nor am their official spokesman, and I don't receive emails or any correspondence for RCL. Do some homework ffs.
RCL release update #56 on the Indiegogo campaign showing a preview of the proposed Vega+ box design, and a couple of bizarre photos of a monitor showing a sleeve design for the box:
A backer posts "My only question is that how was the vega going to be delivered previously promised on 22nd Feb if the boxes weren't even a twinkle in a graphic designers eye?" Suzanne Martin replies "We have had the box design(s) for months."
Chris Matthews posts on the "democracy" Facebook page, suggesting that the image of the Vega+ is such low quality that the graphic designer should be sacked. He suggests that it must be a mockup only and that they must have a finalised version to show. Chris also points out that there is an on-screen tell indicating that RCL are not using a genuine version of Adobe Illustrator. Suzanne re-iterates that the design "was finalised months ago". (This post has since been deleted from the "democracy" group):
As the graphics designer points out, the entire box design looks like it's been cobbled together in a hurry, and a lot of people immediately spot a major problem with this design:
Thursday 30th March, 2017
Vicki Leeming (who was one of the people mentioned prominently in Gareth's article from yesterday) is finally contacted and refunded by RCL. 2 others that have been vocal in the comments section of the Indiegogo page are also refunded. The backers count drops by 3 to 4771, and the funds raised drops down to £512,690.
RCL prove they cannot even check the most basic of facts before posting nonsense on the Indiegogo campaign. In a reply, RCL write:
"Almost everyone posting negative comments here on a daily basis or in the closed Vega Plus Group set up by Richard Ratcliffe and George/Jamie Cropper have never been backers or they have already had a refund. Richard Ratcliffe is posting here on Paul Andrews orders. We have screen grabs to prove this...."There's 4 glaring mistakes in this post. Anyone posting on Indiegogo must have been a backer at some point, as only backers can post. The people posting what RCL call "negative comments" (asking for refunds, asking for updates, asking for the truth) are mainly requesting refunds.
The second mistake is who set the group up - it was Ian, on February 9th:Next up, they say it was setup by Richard Ratcliffe and George/Jamie Cropper. George Cropper and Jamie Ball are 2 different people, yet RCL are implying they are 1 person.
Their final mistake is that Richard Ratcliffe is taking orders from Paul Andrews regarding posting. The truth is that Suzanne Martin has switched the campaign owner back to Paul Andrews so that if anyone on the Indiegogo campaign has a complaint, they are shown his name as the project creator. As Paul Andrews is not a backer, he has no ability to reply on the campaign. Here is the actual message Paul posted, directed at any backer that happened to read the message:
Lee Fogarty claims that the Nick Roper shilling fiasco from January was caused by him putting his (20 year deceased) mate's name in but pulling out when he saw the campaign owner. According to Lee, when he decided to back the Vega+, Nick Roper's name magically appeared. Here's his post:
@Daniel. I registered on indiegogo for the FIRST campaign. It was my understanding the role of honour was for the registered name. I put my mates in. I then saw the name of the campaign owner, and knowing his history decided not to back it. I have backed the Vega+, and made ONE comment - someone asked for a video - before realising it was the same name and immediately changed it. It was screenshotted within a minute and since then his daughter has been hounded off fb. But you knew that anyway…
There's 2 huge problems with Lee's version of events:
- The screenshot showing "Nick Roper" as the author was captured 20 hours after Lee posted it, and a short time after that, Lee realised his shilling was exposed and changed the name. "20 hours later" does not seem the same as "immediately changing it".
- Assuming anybody actually believes that Nick Roper existed, Lee has never mentioned the name of Nick's daughter. Nick Roper has only been ever mentioned in 10 comments on Indiegogo (over the last 3 months, up until today 30th March 2017). Lee would have people believe that backers somehow tracked down this unnamed daughter and hounded her so much that she shut down her Facebook account! Lee's other version was that she happened to be reading the Indiegogo comments when she saw her Dad's name being dragged through the mud and shut down her account.
Friday 31st March, 2017
Another deadline is missed without a response from RCL. David Levy's statement on Friday 10th March, 2017 saying that they "expect it to take a few weeks before they will be ready to ship the first units" ran out today 31st March, 2017.
SMS Electronics may not find this quite so amusing, but somebody managed to link a joke photo of the Vega+ to the SMS Google Maps entry. The fake Vega+ unit appears as the cover photo for some viewers:top
Sunday 2nd April, 2017
The Daily Mail publishes an article called Clive Sinclair, 76, ditches lap dancer wife 36 years his junior - and rekindles his romance with his 69-year-old former secretary.top
Monday 3rd April, 2017
The number of comments visible on the campaign varies wildly depending on the device you are using. As of 6:35pm today 3rd April 2017, the Indiegogo phone app shows 8180 comments, while the website comments section shows 7261 - a difference of 919. Where have the missing 919 comments gone?top
Friday 7th April, 2017
After multiple attempts, Lee Fogarty eventually manages to release a 20 second video showing the Vega+ being turned on (click the link to download it) and a static photo.
The video is extremely low resolution, and after pressing the power button, it takes approximately 10 seconds to boot to the Retro Computers logo, then another 8 seconds to bring up the first menu. Due to the low resolution, the menu text can not be made out, but Lee says this is a deliberate ploy to prevent the games list being exposed.
Several people post on Indiegogo and point out that the video has only been uploaded to the sycophant "democracy" group where a couple of hundred people can view it, rather than a proper update for the 4770 backers. Lee replies:Lee also posts the dimensions in the same "democracy" Facebook group. The unofficial dimensions mentioned in that group so far are:
- 160 x 78 x 22mm (estimated by Mat Recardo and confirmed as correct by Suzanne Martin on 18/04/2017)
- 153 x 74 x 21mm (estimated by Mat Recardo, Suzanne confirmed as incorrect on 18/04/2017)
- 155 x 75 x 20mm (measured by Lee Fogarty today 07/04/2017, almost identical to Mat's supposedly incorrect guess)
- 160 x 80 x 20mm (according to Suzanne Martin today 07/04/2017)
George releases a response video to today's boot-up video called The Vega+ - Can people just get refunds now?top
Saturday 8th April, 2017
At the Dizzy 30th Anniversary celebration, Lee Fogarty turns up with some of the prototype Vega+ units. In a live video recording of the event, it shows Lee interrupting the Oliver Twins just as they are about to begin:
At one stage one of the units is left unattended, and Will Woodvine and Ant Harper take photos and a video of it. Will Woodvine posts the following review in the Spectrum for Everyone Facebook group:
It speaks volumes for the contempt RCL seems to have for their backers that a completely independent person is able to record and upload a video of one of the prototype Vega+ units booting up, navigating the games menu, selecting a game and playing it. Backers have been asking for this for more than 6 months, and someone recording it on their phone can upload it within a few hours!
Darren Melbourne's request that RCL remove the game Hades Nebula from the Vega+ was posted in a news update on the RCL website on November 2nd 2016, yet the video footage from the Dizzy 30th event shows the games list and Hades Nebula is still present.
In the Spectrum4Ever Facebook group, Suzanne Martin confirms that the Vega+ is not yet in production when she uses the future tense "it will" for her response.
Chris: Is it a prototype Jarrod or does it work?
Suzanne Martin: It works :)
Paul: It's probably one of the working prototypes - looks bigger than I thought as well, hope it goes into production
Suzanne Martin: It will....
Sunday 9th April, 2017
The Daily Mail uploads a follow up article called The desperately frail millionaire, his jealous ex and a VERY unladlylike war that left Sir Clive Sinclair's pole-dancer wife pole-axed.
A video showing Crystal Kingdom Dizzy game played off the SD card on one of the pre-production Vega+ consoles is uploaded, and re-posted on YouTube. The video is called A quick play with the ZX Vega plus.top
Monday 10th April, 2017
Lee Fogarty argues with various people on the Indiegogo comments section when they ask what is going on, and why is he all over social media gloating about "his" Vega+. Lee claims that launch party attendees were getting the pre-production units and that Suzanne Martin was at the event:
Someones a bit sweary this morning! It was well known that launch party attendees were getting the pre-production units. Several of those members were handed units at the weekend and have been extensively testing them since. They were also shown to other backers that happened to be at the event, some of which have reported on them. And they are sending feedback too. BTW - Suzanne was also at the event with the coloured units.
And of the c**** that received theirs on Saturday, you have two veteran developers that played some older titles, one veteran/current developer that play a hell of a lot of spectrum games, probably the most prolific spectrum developer that is still writing now, a blogger that knows the spectrum inside out, and the owner of World of Spectrum. On display for anyone to use unrestricted were the version with the button issue and the version that was fixed. Some got to photograph the coloured units.The coloured units were played with. There were several bloggers there that had unrestricted access to the units and left to do or write whatever they want. There was a lot of smiling people by then end.
When asked for evidence that Suzanne Martin was there, Lee avoids answering the question. There seems to be no evidence that anyone from RCL other than spokesman Lee Fogarty was there:
@Lee Fogarty - Any chance of posting a photo of Suzanne there with a ZX Vega+ on Saturday? You know, to show the appreciation of your generous backers and to show them that they still matter?
@Federico - no - there was the Dizzy 30th event on Saturday and several of the original launch party backers were there, so they got the promised pre-production units. The rest are being posted. In the meantime, they have played the hell out of them and sent reports to RCL - and some to me for comments - and kindly handed their units to anyone that wanted to see them on the day. There was an ex indiegogo backer there that has posted videos and an unbiased review online.
It seems awfully strange that if Suzanne Martin was at the event, why did she not hand out the Vega+ pre-production models to the Oliver Twins? Why would RCL delegate this particular task to an RCL spokesman that claims he doesn't work for the company? Moments after this, Lee disappears and non-backer James Waller appears (right on schedule) to start his daily ritual of defending and supporting RCL.
I asked the Oliver Twins if Suzanne Martin was at the event. Their reply confirms they did not see her, only Lee Fogarty:
"I heard she was planning on being there... but it was so busy and so many people I (Philip) didn't personally see or talk to her. Lee obviously was there."top
Tuesday 11th April, 2017
RCL had targetted today as the day to have gotten through all their emails and processed all refunds. Suzanne Martin said the following on Tuesday 28th March, 2017:
"We posted earlier today about several of our email accounts being spammed - We are working through them and estimate this will take up to 14 days. For those saying we should just delete those messages - that isn't an option."
RCL have ignored all communication channels, so there are no updates and no refunds as promised.
Two generous backers that have had repeated refund requests ignored post comments on Indiegogo to say that they will donate their entire pledge to charity:
@Rcl Hello there. Isn’t it a lovely day…isn’t it?! The Sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Why the only thing that could make this day any better would be getting a refund. Think about it, it's a great idea, you know it, I know it, James Waller definitely knows it... its all gravy baby! And... wait for it... if you refund me I’ll even donate the money to Great Ormonde Street Hospital! I cant be any fairer than that. My order ID is 6010.
@RCL – I have requested on many occasions that I want refund. I see Graham has made a generous offer of donating his refund and, as this is not about the money for myself, I shall too offer to donate my £105 to charity. In my case I would donate it to Guide Dogs for the Blind and I am happy to provide proof of such donation once refund has been confirmed. My order ID is 2109 – please contact me to arrange.
Richard Ratcliffe asks Indiegogo to confirm who is responsible for deleting comments on the Indiegogo campaigns. Brian from Indiegogo replies:
"Campaigners are solely responsible for managing the comments on their campaigns."
The accounts for RCL are now more than a month overdue (having already been granted a 3 month extension in December), so they now fall into the £375 fine category.top
Wednesday 12th April, 2017
The store on the RCL website was re-activated today, and the Vega+ is now available for pre-order for £129.99. Strangely enough, the shop claims that it is currently "in stock" and the units will be shipped in Summer 2017. Summer in the UK is considered the 3 month period from June to August, so they will probably intend to ship on August 31st, 2017:
Rather worringly, the battery specification has yet to be finalised, so presumably RCL have not even ordered the batteries for the 4770 units that David Levy had said were going to ship "in a few weeks" more than a month ago on the 10th of March, 2017:
The "Store Dummies" payment option from shop earlier in the year has been removed, and the only payment option is now PayPal. The previous iteration of the store had a £5 shipping charge, but this has been reduced to 1p.
The form to buy a Vega+ does not perform basic email address validation, so a completely bogus value like "a" will be accepted. All the address fields can also be bypassed with a single character. Even more concerning is when purchasing in bulk, the total doesn't make sense - the total is always £130 (including shipping) no matter how many Vega+s you order. If you order more than 13,000 in a single transaction, they will cost less than 1 pence per unit. Perhaps Lee has studied some alternative mathematics course that I'm not aware of:
Many people had wondered why Preston Thomas and his wife Tamara (both non-backers of the Vega+) were so vocally supportive of RCL in spite of the shambles the campaign has been, and in a thread on the new Spectrum35 Facebook group it suddenly became clear why. While Preston and George were having a heated discussion about a possible charity boxing match at the Spectrum 35th event, Preston admitted that he was going to be a tester for the Vega+. The vital part of the conversation was:
Preston Thomas: you spread lies about me getting a vega +
Preston Thomas: i was going to be a tester but it never happend
George Cropper: so, Preston, tell us some more about this vega+ testing unit you were going to be getting ?
After George called him out on the Vega+ testing unit, Preston suddenly stopped replying. Preston sent Lee Fogarty and Jim Bagley private messages during the conversation, and accidentally posted these on the screen dumps he uploaded. After posting links to the rival The64 campaign, he tried to warn Lee and wrote:
Preston Thomas to Lee Fogarty:
why is george and ian in your group ?
lee this is really kicking off
About 15 minutes later, the entire thread was deleted, but not before it was captured:
Reporter Gareth Corfield tweets to say that David Levy's email address is now bouncing. I'm no Nostradamus, but one can assume that if Gareth is contacting RCL, another article will be published in the Register over the next few days and therefore RCL will be scrambling to put out another nano-update to the backers or at least answer a few questions on the Indiegogo campaign.
David Levy's official RCL email address bounces. Four weeks ago he was emailing me from it. Curious. #zxvega— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) April 12, 2017
Later in the day, Lee Fogarty realises his broken store on the RCL website gives the impression that it must be "amateur hour". Rather than fix the calculation, Lee takes the store down. The store has now been put online, then subsequently taken down twice in the last couple of months. Third time's a charm perhaps?top
Thursday 13th April, 2017
Lee Fogarty must fancy himself as a betting man, as he uses the "bob each way" methodology. If you write something down enough times, eventually one of them must be spelt correctly:
Would you really trust your personal details to a company that can't even spell the most basic words correctly?
Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register titled ZX Spectrum reboot project's Great Ormond Street charity cash questions. The article suggests a £20,000 donation was received, but sales suggest more was due. An excerpt from the article:
Tens of thousands of pounds destined for Great Ormond Street Hospital from ZX Spectrum Vega firm Retro Computers Limited appears not to have been paid.
Retro Computers Limited (RCL) had promised to pay 10 per cent from proceeds of sales of its Vega console to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, England, under the terms of its licensing agreement with the owners of games bundled with the machine.
RCL did pay £20,000 to GOSH on sales of an initial 4,000 units but proceeds from the apparent sale of a remaining 6,500 devices were not made to the charity.
“I can confirm that we received donations totaling £20,000 from Retro Computers Ltd between March 2015 – October 2016,” a GOSH spokeswoman told El Reg. She confirmed no more donations were received after October 2016.
This information from the GOSH spokeswoman refutes the claims of David Levy and solicitors Teacher Stern sent in emails on the 19th of October 2016.
As I correctly predicted yesterday, David Levy has broken weeks of radio silence and issued a typical response on the RCL website claiming the information on which The Register article is based is out of date.
Someone at RCL has been busy deleting comments on their Facebook page relating to the story.
A new website address post is added to the RCL Facebook page, pointing towards their store page.top
Friday 14th April, 2017
A "shop launch offer" is added to the RCL website, offering a Vega and Vega+ for £199.99. The teaser text only mentions the Vega and "this item will ship in 3-5 days", and it's only when you follow the read more link and scroll down that you see that it's still the same old pre-order as before - with the Vega+ shipping "Summer 2017". One hopes that RCL mean the UK summer and not New Zealand summer (which would mean shipping December 2017).The more cynical readers of this blog may see this as a desperate cash grab to get enough money to produce the Vega+ consoles, and it is no doubt a wiser investment to hold off until the console is actually produced before parting with your hard earned cash. For anyone wishing to invest with this company, I would advise you to try and contact them before purchasing and see how open their communication channels are, otherwise you may end up with a single £199.99 Vega console for your troubles.
On the comments section of Gareth Corfield's latest article, someone posts that 8-year old Amelia Russell Green (a cancer sufferer) was promised one of the developer units, but has literally died waiting for it to arrive. Instead Lee Fogarty used one of those prototype units to gatecrash the Oliver Twins Dizzy's birthday event. A snippet from the post:
I'm even more disappointed that we were promised 1 of the 5 developer units to aid a girl with cancer, we still haven't received it over 6 months later and it only supposedly needed a button changing. She's fkin dead now so that worked out splendid.
The Retro Hour release podcast number 66, which features the Vega+. Host Ravi attended the Dizzy 30th event and had a play on one of the prototype Vega+ units. The Vega+ section starts at 14:44 in the podcast. A few points from the podcast:
- Ravi confirms that nobody from RCL was at the event. This is the complete opposite to what Lee Fogarty said, as Lee claimed that "Suzanne Martin was at the event" in a post on Monday 10th April. (Ravi must be under the impression that RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty is not an actual employee).
- Ravi was instructed not to take photos of the games list because it was confidential.
- The device he tried out was definitely a prototype unit, and featured unresponsive buttons.
- There were 4 or 5 Vega+ prototypes at the event.
Meanwhile on the "democracy" group, one-time RCL advocate Dave Barron posted a question for Suzanne Martin, asking for a truthful update of the product. (Dave had been skating on thin ice the day before when he posted a comment suggesting "RCL will fall by the wayside"). The moderators swooped in to prevent any further commenting on the thread, so Dave started another thread simply saying "Refund please". A moderator wrote "Bye bye Dave", deleted both threads and banned Dave from the group. There is no screenshot of the final act unfortunately as my browser refreshed the page as I was about to grab it - you have to be very quick in that group as posts vanish faster than a David Copperfield magic show. Kim Jong-Un would have been proud to witness this style of democracy in action! :)top
Saturday 15th April, 2017
More bugs found in PHP developer Lee Fogarty's RCL store. It is currently impossible to remove any products from the shopping cart with the trashcan icon. Step 1: Add some stuff to your shopping cart:
Step 2: Press the trashcan icon beside each row so that your shopping cart "appears" to be empty:
Step 3: Press the Update cart button. Note that all the products are still in it. So the Update Cart button is broken, but perhaps the Go to Checkout button works. If you press that, you end up on the final checkout screen:But once again, all the products are still in the cart. Does anyone at RCL test anything? Children found button issues in November, nobody noticed the packaging designs used a watermarked image, three user features were found to be missing in March, and the third version of the store still contains bugs!
Despite RCL having well over 100 refund requests outstanding, owing Paul Andrews over £80,000 (as part of the court settlement) and having failed to pay funds owed to Great Ormond Street Hospital, RCL apparently have funds available to setup Facebook advertising campaigns to presell consoles:top
Sunday 16th April, 2017top
Monday 17th April, 2017
A question sent to Indiegogo asking about the campaign received a generic reply, but at the bottom of the response it shows Paul Andrews as the campaign owner.
Paul Andrews has contacted Indiegogo multiple times to have his name removed, and back on February 3rd the name shown was Suzanne Martin. For some reason, Suzanne Martin keeps restoring Paul Andrew's name as the campaign owner.top
Tuesday 18th April, 2017
The accounts for four companies run by the RCL directors (Retro Computers Ltd, Erotic Chatbots Ltd, Intelligent Toys Ltd, Private Planet Ltd) have accounts overdue and fines, and several will be struck off (and all assets returned to the crown) if they are not submitted soon:top
Wednesday 19th April, 2017
Gareth Corfield releases an article Game authors demand missing ZX Spectrum reboot royalties on The Register. The article states that many games rights holders (including Mark Cale/System 3) have had their software used without permission, they have not received any royalty statements to prove charity donations were handed over, and there are a string of broken promises by Suzanne Martin to supply documentation. David Levy (director of RCL) continues to blame the former director Paul Andrews, who left the company more than a year ago! RCL also continue to insist they never refuse a refund request - another obvious lie.
All too predictably after media coverage, Lee Fogarty publishes a statement by David Levy claiming the article is another fake "news story", blames Paul Andrews for any problems with the rights to games, and that the former directors are trying to damage "a great project":
Lee Fogarty also claims (with absolutely no evidence to back up his claims) that Paul Andrews, Chris Smith and Darren Melbourne have been modifying documents and posting them online:
Lee Fogarty's post states that Mel Croucher was the other developer and has also pulled his games from the Vega+. Lee has failed to mention how a lowly website operator knows all this insider information.
In response to David Levy, Paul Andrews wrote the following:
Developer John Pickford also posts the following, confirming David Levy was the point of contact he dealt with regarding the games rights:top
Thursday 20th April, 2017
Paul Shirley (author of Spindizzy and Confuzion) confirms that he was never asked about donating his royalties:top
Friday 21st April, 2017
In a bid to assist the large number of people contacting me about being refused refunds by RCL, a cut-down version of this blog has been created. The cut-down version shows all the missed deadlines and the link can be forwarded to financial institutions to assist with section 75 style chargeback requests.
RCL are now wasting money sponsoring Facebook ads regarding legal action against Nick Cooper. If that wasn't alarming enough, RCL are deleting all negative comments on the post (click the link and notice it says "view X more comments" but when you click, very few will appear as they have all been deleted):top
Saturday 22nd April, 2017
RCL are now wasting money sponsoring Facebook ads that include "alternative facts" about Paul Andrews and also deleting comments on the Facebook post:John Pickford has already confirmed that David Levy (and not Paul Andrews) was his point of contact when he refused allowing his games onto the Vega on Wednesday 19th of April:
For those of you that don't know what Paul Andrews looks like, here is shown here on the left at the original ZX Vega launch party along with an SMS director and a PR consultant. You can view more photos from the launch party on this Flickr page, along with a statement regarding the video/photos taken at the event (where cameras were in plain sight, and nobody declined to be filmed). Thanks to Paul for releasing these photos from the event into the public domain.
A backer that has been trying to obtain a refund confirms that David Levy's email is still completely full:top
Sunday 23rd April, 2017
The ZX Spectrum Next kickstarter campaign has finally been launched. In a single day it has reached more than 80% of its funding goal of £250,000, and the console should be delivered in January 2018. This is a testament to the honest people behind the campaign, a complete contrast to the current Vega+ directors.
Presumably in response to the Next being launched, RCL are sponsoring ads that direct people to their store. Perhaps they have finally worked out that sponsored ads for legal disputes don't bring in the large volume of sales they need to manufacture the device?top
Monday 24th April, 2017
The ZX Spectrum Next kickstarter campaign has hit it's target of £250,000 on its second day!
Meanwhile over in the Vega+ camp, 4 refunds seem to have been processed. The campaign has dropped by 4 to 4766 backers, and the total amount raised has dropped to £512,145. If you're wondering if you are one of the lucky 4, the names that have been marked as refunded are nathan41, Stefan Andersson, eusebioas and Martin Mackay.top
Tuesday 25th April, 2017
The old domain retro-computers.co.uk is no longer forwarding visitors to the current RCL site. A message greets visitors saying:
This Account Has Been Suspended
To reactivate your account please contact billing on 01202 237027
By examining the WHOIS record for the domain, it shows that RCL have never even bothered to change the registrant's details. It still shows Andrews UK as the registrant and address:
Andrews UK Limited
UK Limited Company, (Company number: 4047099)
Andrews UK Limited
The Hat Factory, 65-67 Bute Street
It is an ICANN requirement that these details must be regularly verified and be accurate. Domain name companies are required by law to send out reminder notices to customers to ensure the data is correct. I quote:
"ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (and/or the associated ccTLD authority), requires that we ask you to review your contact data and make any changes necessary. Under ICANN and ccTLD WHOIS rules and the terms of your registration agreement, PROVIDING FALSE CONTACT INFORMATION CAN BE GROUNDS FOR DOMAIN NAME CANCELLATION."
The Metro newspaper has an article called Celebrate the Sinclair ZX Spectrum’s 35th anniversary with… yet another retro console. The very bottom of the article suggests that the Vega+ will never be released:
The ZX Spectrum Next is scheduled to be released in January 2018, to anyone that backs the Kickstarter for £175 or more. It already looks like the new hardware will do better than the Spectrum Vega+ portable, which now seems as if it will never be released.
There's a small mention of the Vega+ in the latest article by Gareth Corfield on The Register called Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up. The part mentioning the Vega+ is:
RCL was the company behind the ZX Spectrum-branded Vega and Vega+ consoles. The Vega+ has failed to appear, despite repeated promises from RCL over the last year, and game authors who contributed to the original Vega have yet to be paid. The company’s accounts are overdue at Companies House and it is facing questions about money it pledged to Great Ormond Street Hospital that has not been paid.top
Thursday 27th April, 2017
There's not much news to report at the moment, RCL seem to have gone into hiding again. The only action is on the Indiegogo comments section, where there's more and more people demanding a refund. Fall guy and RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty is the only one making comments on the campaign.
PayPal confirms to backers that RCL are refusing refunds:
In just over 4 weeks, Retro Computers Ltd will receive its first striking off notice if the accounts are not filed by then.
At this time, I would like everyone to stop praying for your Vega+ to be delivered and instead pray for Tamara who informed me that she is stuck in hospital, unable to sleep and on Facebook at midnight. At this stage we don't believe it's anything terminal like a kidney removal. Get well soon Tamara!
Friday April 28th, 2017
Paul Andrews releases an email chain between David Levy and himself which shows:
- RCL had received income which was due to GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital).
- RCL has not paid this income to GOSH, as all that has been paid (as confirmed to the Register by GOSH) is £20,000.
- RCL in emails to games rights owners directly and also via their first lot of lawyers confirmed 100% that GOSH had been paid money owed to them (both on behalf of games rights owners and other third part IP owners) - this is incorrect.
- It shows that David Levy was involved in writing the original games contracts, and made it harder to fulfil obligations in terms of running the company and also Levy’s ideas which Paul Andrews would not go along with.
Saturday April 29th, 2017
A backer posts in the "democracy" group asking for an update. Programmer Jonathan Cauldwell posts that he is contacting rights holders and still finding bugs in the firmware. This suggests any console release is still a long way off:
Sunday April 30th, 2017
The people at RCL clearly do not read (or take notice of) this blog, as they would have been alerted almost a week ago that at least one of their domain names were failing with a "this account has been suspended" message. It appears that two of their domains have expired and been purchased by someone else:
Registered on: 29-Apr-2017
Expiry date: 29-Apr-2018
Last updated: 29-Apr-2017
RCL post update 57 on the Indiegogo campaign claiming a "security breach" has taken place, rather than what appears to have been a simple case of not paying their hosting bills and/or setting up automatic renewal of their domain names. Based on the language used and the fact it occurred in the weekend, I would guess Lee Fogarty wrote this update as he loves mentioning the metropolitan police in his allegations:
We have been made aware that late yesterday afternoon a security breach occurred on a number of domains belonging to Retro Computers Limited. This includes the zxvega.co.uk and retro-computers.co.uk URLs
We do not currently have control of these domains and an unauthorised third party has taken over these accounts. We we are working to recover our property from this person or persons whom we have identified and reported to Action Fraud and the Metropolitan police.
For security reasons please only contact us through the Indiegogo portal and not via emails that contain either URL We will provide a new email address for team members in the very near future.
Do not send any personal details via email and this information may not be secure.
RCL choose to reply to one of the pro-RCL supporters on Indiegogo claiming:
The good thing is they are pretty incompetent because before they made the settings private we obtained all the evidence.
So RCL are saying the they have all the evidence of this "security breach", yet on the update they say they are working to recover "their" property from this "person or persons". It sounds like they have their very best forensic digital detective Plod Fogarty on the case, and he has narrowed it down to either "1 person or more than 1 person". The case sounds like it's practically solved!
Since RCL have mentioned ActionFraud, perhaps RCL could share the case number/contact point as I'm sure there's hundreds of backers that would love to give their evidence in this case.
Claiming an "incompetent security breach" is also ironic considering RCL had the domains transferred a year ago, never bothered to update the contact details with real data (which is a legal requirement and was also mentioned on this blog), never setup automatic renewal, never setup a reminder, ignored all "your domain is about to expire" warnings that ISPs send out, and let the hosting package and domain expire. So who is incompetent here? RCL claim they paid for them until 2018, but if that was the case, why was their hosting package cut off sometime on or before Tuesday 25th of March. Let's see the invoice RCL (and while you're at it, your overdue accounts please):
RCL have also claimed that they paid a 3rd party. Since Lee Fogarty is the "webmaster" for RCL, it sounds to me as if they're throwing him under the bus and blaming him for this latest problem:
Another interesting point is when Paul Andrews transferred the assets to RCL in April 2016, why did David Levy register a brand new domain name retrocomputerslimited.com under his own name until 2018 when RCL already owned the existing two domains? Perhaps when Lee Fogarty failed to restore the website from the backups he thought they needed a new domain name?
The Indiegogo comments section lights up in fury with a large number of people saying they are fed up with the "scam" and demanding refunds. RCL post only 7 replies to more than 150 comments while ignoring every comment regarding a refund. Their entire set of replies for the day consist of:
- No we have no intention of doing that.
- Please don't leave potty mouth comments... keep it clean
- Err no we didn't we paid a third party....
- The good thing is they are pretty incompetent because before they made the settings private we obtained all the evidence.
- We did not let them expire we paid for them up to 2018 - but thanks for the feedback
- That is not what happened
- You aren't a backer Peeto.
Another backer posts to say he has also been banned from commenting on the website, so has to use the phone app to post.
An interesting Freudian slip from RCL was also posted on the Indiegogo comments page today where their comment reads as if they have no intention of shipping the Vega+:
Paul Martin: please don’t tell me this shall effect the shipping of the vega+!!!
Retro Computers: No we have no intention of doing that.
Meanwhile on the Retro Computers Facebook page, RCL confirm Jonathan Cauldwell's post from yesterday that they do not have the 1,000 games they are insisting on releasing with the console. RCL have not mentioned this in any official Indiegogo update or indicated the current number of games they have currently licenced:
A backer asks if there will be any update regarding the project, and is told "Not today I am afraid". RCL only seem to respond when forced to respond due to bad publicity about the project:
A backer asks for the procedure to obtain a refund. RCL reply "Any request should go through the Indiegogo Portal - using your registered address."
On the World of Spectrum forums, Lee Fogarty posts his latest theory with absolutely no evidence to back any of it up:
"AndrewsUK invoiced RCL for the domain names until 2018. He didn’t pay the bills so when it went down this week, RCL claimed the domain - rightfully as they had paid in advance, and it was another company asset not handed over. This would have alerted him, so he got Cooper & Cropper to also claim them, then approved their claims. This then shows on the registry as a new purchase."
How does Lee know about this invoice as merely "the web guy" who doesn't work for RCL? Even if this nonsense was true, it's a moot point because due diligence should have been carried out by RCL when they took over the domains (and clearly wasn't). Perhaps Lee can upload the invoice, or is it like all his other baseless claims that supposedly have to be "cleared" and never seem to get clearance?
In other news, Lee Fogarty leaks a screenshot from a preview article that was only sent to Tamara to pass on to Preston Thomas for his comment. Preston was given just over a week to comment, but chose not to and instead passed the link to Lee Fogarty who released the image. Lee has claimed:
"There is a fake account set up in my name - I've seen several conversations recently I'm supposed to have had."
Lee's choice of words is very interesting here. He wrote that "there is a fake account" rather than "I suspect a fake account" - so presumably Lee has some evidence to backup his words and he can show everyone.
From what I can tell, Lee's explanation seems to be that someone has setup a fake Lee Fogarty account (presumably with copies of most/all his details) and then contacted his friends. Lee has posted on Facebook asking for people "he doesn't frequently message" to send him any messages from this fake account. If they didn't notice there were two Lee Fogarty accounts with the same image, would they be bright enough to respond appropriately?
A Facebook search reveals no duplicate Lee Fogarty account with his photo, and surely somebody would have noticed a duplicate by now and alerted him, so Lee's protestations of innocence are about as watertight as a colander.
On the "democracy" group, administrator Jan Saggiori purchases the georgecropper.com domain name and redirects it to the Retro Computers website. He also purchases the bumfungaming.co.uk domain name and brags about redirecting it to an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) website:top
Monday May 1st, 2017
The article detailing the deal between Lee Fogarty and Preston Thomas that involved a Vega+ testing unit in return for facebook admin rights is released.top
Tuesday May 2nd, 2017
Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called Forgetful ZX Spectrum reboot firm loses control of its web domains. RCL were offered their chance to comment, but refused. Instead they posted on the RCL Facebook page (and deleted most of the comments) saying "No surprise that we declined to be part of this article. Alas expect another very anti-RCL and biased article."
The post also says "We know any true backer of the Spectrum would prefer updates about the Vega+ release dates (and we'll have some news on that this week)". Another member of the group asked for clarification of the date, but they have been ignored. Their full post was:
I'm sure we are all looking forward to your announcement later this week. I guess we'll get it before the close of business on Friday, is that correct?
Lee Fogarty's memory seems to be failing, as he posts that he has never mentioned George in relation to stealing domains:
"Don't rely too much on anything published over there - you'd be amazed at how many things I am supposed to have said, or people I've spoken to. I was asked tonight if I ever accused George of stealing domains - no I have never mentioned him in that regard. Duncan/George isn't that smart. He can just about use photoshop."
Only 2 days ago Lee posted this on World of Spectrum regarding the domain names: "This would have alerted him, so he got Cooper & Cropper to also claim them, then approved their claims".
Lee also claims that Gareth Corfield has been changing his articles after publishing:
"This article appears to have changed since it was first published. Why would Paul Andrews accountants refuse to hand over RCL documents needed to file accounts without a court order? What are they hiding?"
Someone asks him what has been changed and he replies:
"I don't recall seeing the comment about the accountants. I could be wrong and it was there before, but he's edited articles before so it wouldn't surprise me"
Lee is once again wrong, as an online archived copy is identical to the current version.top
Wednesday May 3rd, 2017
Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called Former RCL director: It was me who cancelled their domain names. Both Suzanne Martin and David Levy were offered the chance to comment, but both refused.
Paul Andrews posts a series of emails to Nominet (the UK based domain registry company) showing that on Friday April 28th he contacted them about having his name removed from the domains. Nominet replied saying he had the ability to cancel the domain names, and Nominet later reply to say the domains are set for cancellation. Paul Andrews states that RCL (via their lawyers) have not been responding for weeks.
Another series of email screenshots are also shown that show that RCL were well aware of the domain names being transferred to them back in April 2016 and it beggars belief that RCL never updated the domains with their own details in the following year. Lee Fogarty posts yet another lie:
"Stating he spoke to nominet who said the only way to change the details was to transfer to Cooper is total bull."
A member calls Lee up on this "total bull". Paul Andrews never posted anything of the sort. Lee responds with:
"He did. Several times. He stated the websites were showing in his name and nominet told him if RCL wouldn't change it then he had to do what he did. RCL had no control over them whatsoever."
An open invitation is offered to Lee Fogarty and Jan Saggiori to join the discussion, but both decline. Lee posts the following in response (talking about Paul Andrews):
"yeah that won't happen. I've had his lies, threats, bullshit for a year. I might visit him in jail though with a Vega+ bar of soap."top
Thursday May 4th, 2017
In reply to a backer asking about refund requests, RCL have posted saying that the original target was completely unrealistic and once again are blaming the former directors:
The original target was a completely unrealistic "finger in the air" figure set by the previous management. There was no formal budget or bill of materials produced before the campaign was started. Even on the basis that RCL had purchased, owned and already paid for a number of assets that should have been used to create the Vega+ , these assets were subsequently withheld by Paul Andrews and Chris Smith, even after Mr Smith was paid a significant sum following his resignation - this figure is under budget. As a consequence we had to commission and create the Vega+ from scratch paying for a number items twice and causing the delay you are now well aware of. We have issued a refunds to a number of backers - we have also had a significant number of people change there minds and in particular following the recent hijack.
RCL can't even seem to get the figure correct, as the original goal was £100k not £150k as they have stated! Questions relating to ignored refunds and whether the funds have been ringfenced have been ignored or deleted. The following question regarding the "Arrow certification" is also posed and as yet has no response:
When the original goal of £100k was launched the project had Arrow certification. From my understanding, getting Arrow certification requires a bill of materials. But you are claiming this was never done? It can't be both ways. Are you now saying you didn't have a bill of materials and the Arrow certification was fraudulent?
If you look at the original thread link, you can see the numbers do not add up, and someone even mentioned this in the post:
It would seem "RCL can be really excited" about getting investigated for fraud now that they've admitted everything they said about being "on schedule" and "in production" was a lie. The spokesperson for RCL that claimed to have seen the Vega+ units in production in April 2016 should also hang his head in shame.
Another concerned member of the public that has been seeking a refund has rung Action Fraud and reported the following:
"Based on the latest information and after talking to Action Fraud, the best course of action now is for backers to contact Citizens Advice and lodge individual complaints as they are unaware of the scale of the issue. I've spoken to them, and they outlined a number of courses of action they can take and are passing all complaints to Trading Standards who in turn will investigate if enough people call in and raise this issue. 0345 numbers are free from most mobiles I believe..."
Paul Andrews releases a huge set of emails that detail more of the falling out with David Levy. The email trail shows funds were tight and to complete the Vega+ for the backers, PR should be dispensed with. David Levy threw his toys out of the cot, insisted Suzanne Martin stay on.
The other comedy nuggets from today involve quotes from David Levy to the former directors where he claimed what a great job Suzanne Martin was doing and would do moving forward. (I have corrected a couple of spelling mistakes in the email):
And a follow up (in relation to dispensing with PR services until RCL could afford to do so) also sings her praises:
RCL's communication, PR and technology skills since Paul Andrews and Chris Smith left can be summed up beautifully in the following video that was uploaded to the public discussion facebook group in March. I take no credit for creating it:top
Friday 5th May, 2017
Paul Andrews releases a series of emails detailing the initial falling out between himself, David Levy and Suzanne. It goes back 8 years and relates to a vapourware idea for a game.
Lee Fogarty continues to post lies on World of Spectrum forums. Lee repeats his claim that the previous accountants are holding back documents preventing RCL from handing in their accounts. Lee says:
Evidence in the form of several documents sent to both Paul Andrews and David Levy from the previous accountants state that they never started any work on the accounts during that period, and Lee seems has been caught out lying yet again:
Earlier in the week, RCL claimed they would update backers this week. If you assume a Monday to Friday week, that means there should be an update sometime today. I'll just leave this image here (from 2 and a half months ago) in the meantime as it seems to be history repeating itself:
Saturday 6th May, 2017
The prediction from yesterday that RCL would not provide the update they promised came true. A poll on the public facebook group about whether RCL would post the update had the most popular vote as "no update provided".
After losing the domain names a week or so ago, it would have made sense for RCL to put their contact details on documents. A backer proves they are happy to leave the details incorrect, when an Indiegogo comment says:
Further reply from indiegogo stating that they see RCL are not communicating sufficiently with backers & that they will contact them. They’ve also encouraged me to do the same & given me direct contact details. Judging from alot of comments here I shouldn’t hold my breath!
One hour later, a follow-up response is posted:
Oh my naievety – indiegogo state Paul Andrews is responsible for the campaign & the website they provide is the codetappers blog. This whole thing is a bloody mess & for the umpteemth time just tell us how to get a refund!top
Sunday 7th May, 2017
On the World of Spectrum forums, Lee Fogarty claims that the devices that he and Jonathan Cauldwell have are the final units:
Less than 2 hours later, Lee changes his story - they are no longer the final units. Lee writes:
Long-time Spectrum game developer Jonathan Cauldwell (one of the people that received one of the Vega+ prototypes) announces the following on World of Spectrum in the Vega+ thread (on page 29):When another forum member asks him why he is being so dramatic, he replies (on page 30 of the same thread): top
Monday 8th May, 2017
After missing their "delivery update" deadline the previous week, RCL issues a brief update followed by a second containing four old photos from the Dizzy 30th event weeks ago. Although the update contains sections for games, the roll of honour and delivery, the update itself is a puff-piece, with several spelling mistakes and no concrete details about anything. The entire update as originally posted:
Basically, the number of games remains unknown, the roll of honour email was supposed to have been sent out months ago but now will be coming out this week, the Dizzy games are owned by Codemasters so are extremely unlikely to be on the Vega+, and RCL are working towards a new delivery date.top
Tuesday 9th May, 2017
RCL release update #60 on the Indiegogo campaign regarding how to update the shipping address.
Ex-Crash magazine journalist Gary Liddon tries to match up reference numbers to a press release and Lee Fogarty contacts him on Facebook messenger. Gary informs Lee that it would be fair of him to assume the conversation would be shared online. There was no objection from Lee, and a long conversation began.
Lee uses the term "we" rather than RCL when chatting to Gary. At the start of the chat, Lee says "We also won't be giving any crime reference numbers for obvious reasons!"
Lee also says "Sales of the Vega didn't stop" to which Gary replied "the royalties and charity contributions did".
When discussing production of the Vega, Lee states that it is coming out in summer and "there will likely be little left from the backers money, but shop sales are huge":
In the same conversation, Lee also states "I have never pasted anyones conversations anywhere".
Six hours later on the World of Spectrum forums, Gary Liddon (gazaxian) is banned and a member asks if that is because of his strong views on the Vega+. Lee Fogarty replies "No. It's a private matter and not up for discussion."top
Wednesday 10th May, 2017
On the World of Spectrum forums, a member asks if the procedures regarding banning members (Gary Liddon yesterday) were followed by the moderators. The moderators reply that procedures were correctly followed, and a follow up message is posted. The message was edited by the original author 3 minutes after being posted, and remained 29 minutes later:
But 34 minutes after the original post, one of the moderators alters the original post, adding the line "The WoS mods are mindless wankers".
Because the last edit timestamp has not changed, it seems that the only way to alter the comment would be to open the database, locate the record and insert the extra line into the post. There are very few people that would have access to the World of Spectrum database so one of the 4 moderators must have altered the post.
The original author has stated "It's my WoS account, so I know exactly what I wrote, and I certainly didn't write "The WoS mods are mindless wankers"; I have more class than that."
Based on this extra abusive line being inserted, the member is banned. Hours later, a tweet regarding the ban appears, including screenshots of before and after:
When asked to confirm what is going on, Lee Fogarty claims "Looks like codetapper has been busy on photoshop again." Codetapper posts a reply "For the record, I would like to clarify that I have done no such thing".
Another member backs up the original tweet by stating "No, I saw that happen as I was reading at the time. One of you deliberately edited that guy's post to insert that slur, then banned him."
Lee Fogarty then goes on to blame Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne for various things:
Meanwhile on the public discussion Facebook group, Paul Andrews removes what RCL states is their most problematic barrier to sending out Vega+ to backers:top
Thursday 11th May, 2017
Lee Fogarty closes the Vega+ thread on World of Spectrum, effectively banning all talk of the Vega+ on the site. A new message at the top of the forum is also added, stating:top
Friday 12th May, 2017
The roll of honour email that was supposed to be sent to backers this week fails to arrive. On Monday 8th May, an RCL update stated "The Roll of Honour email is coming at you this week".top
Tuesday 16th May, 2017
Suzanne Martin attempts to send Nick Cooper a PDF file via Facebook messenger. Suzanne claims she can see Nick has opened it, while Nick claims the PDF is corrupt and states that any files must be sent to him via solicitors.
Given the recent ransomware outbreak that has affected hundreds of thousands of computers over the weekend (including the NHS), sending documents via Facebook Messenger would not seem to be a reliable way ensure the recipient has received the file. It begs the question why is RCL trying to send legal documents via social media instead of via the court or lawyers?
A poll on the public discussion facebook group "Do you think the Vega+ will come out" currently has the votes at 129 (no) to 25 (yes).top
Wednesday 17th May, 2017
Paul Andrews receives a default costs certificate (order) for £52,520.12 to be paid by Retro Computers Ltd within 14 days. Paul posts the following message on his Facebook page:top
Thursday 18th May, 2017
Gareth Corfield publishes an article in The Register called ZX Spectrum reboot firm slapped with £52k court costs repayment order. Highlights from the article:
- Troubled ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has been ordered to repay two of its shareholders’ £52,000 legal fees by the end of this month. The costs order was made by the Senior Courts Cost Office on Tuesday (16th). It relates to an injunction that former RCL directors Paul Andrews and Chris Smith took out last year preventing the current directors from stripping them of their shares in the company. Andrews and Smith jointly hold 50 per cent of the company's shares.
- RCL itself, its chairman David Levy, managing director Suzanne Martin and fellow director Janko Mrsic-Flogel must pay Andrews and Smith - £52,520.12 by 30 May. Levy, Martin and Mrsic-Flogel are jointly liable for the debt. Sir Clive Sinclair’s firm Sinclair Research Ltd, which is also on the RCL board, has not been named in the costs order. If the named four parties fail to pay, the order warns, “your goods may be removed and sold or other enforcement proceedings may be taken against you.”
- RCL has not filed its accounts for the last financial year, though the filing for financial year 2014/15 revealed debts of £9,700 and assets of £131,000. Since those accounts were filed the company has absorbed £513,000 in crowdfunded cash for its ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld console, which is now more than a year overdue.
- Levy and Martin said they were unable to supply a statement by the time of publication.
A backer visits Hamleys in Regent St and notices several of the original ZX Vega consoles for sale in the basement. If the store has made any sales of the units, GOSH (Great Ormond St Hospital) and games rights holders should have received payments for them.
George releases a video called Vega+ hit by court costs demand that features a burning potato!top
Friday 19th May, 2017
With a number of people recently having success issuing section-75 chargebacks against RCL over failure to deliver the Vega+ or process refunds, I would like to re-post this information here. There are close to 150 people that have requested a refund on the Indiegogo comments page, let alone the many others that have only tried via email. Here are the suggestions from a successful ex-backer:
- You need to specify the latest delivery date when requesting a chargeback as it works on a 120 day window.
- You may also need to supply additional details to support your claim and I'd suggest using the following word for word: http://retro-computers.co.uk/refunds/
On the World of Spectrum forums, Lee Fogarty re-announces an old competition that no longer mentions the Vega+ as a prize. The original competition entry from 2016 was:top
Saturday 20th May, 2017
Vega+ backers are horrified to learn that various plants/shills have been capturing comments made in facebook groups and passing them to RCL to use in court proceedings against various parties.top
Monday 22nd May, 2017
A conversation worthy of a "mic drop" comes to light after a backer is contacted by Lee Fogarty on May 5th. Lee began posting propoganda, and when pushed for answers, Lee blocked him. Highlights from Lee's mic drop moment (and please let me re-iterate here, all of this stuff is directly from Lee Fogarty):
- Suzanne has to plan quiet days for updates because it results in thousands of emails.
- Refund requests are difficult because they result in multiple emails, people are putting them in every hour or so, and Lee claims many change their minds after asking for a refund and no longer want the refund.
- Reporter Gareth Corfield is now ringing almost daily.
- The Vega+ is going out in a few weeks to the backers.
- Lee doubts there's much money left as they paid off Andrews debts and put the rest into manufacturing.
- Lee guarantees RCL will be squeaky clean when it goes to court. They have no fake accounts, no hidden group, not posted edited emails etc.
- Every update has been ripped apart, every date sabotaged, so no dates will be given now until there is nothing that could be done to sabotage the date.
- RCL can prove in court they own The64.
- By the 24th of May, everybody will know when they're getting their Vega+. He offers a slight hint that the date on the website is for pre-orders, and that all backers will have theirs by then.
If anything, this seems to prove that RCL are refusing/ignoring refunds as Lee has stated that Suzanne Martin is receiving them hourly. A sensible approach would surely be to process the refund requests as they come in, so that you don't have to deal with up to 100 further emails from the same person. If one or two people change their mind but have already been refunded, then that person can re-purchase the Vega+ when it hits retail or from the store.
On the new game competition thread on World of Spectrum, Lee Fogarty amends his original post by adding the following section to include Vega+ prizes:top
Tuesday 23rd May, 2017
Lee Fogarty tweets a tick tock image on Twitter, as tomorrow (Wednesday 24th of May) is the date he has predicted would be Nick Cooper's last day of freedom before going to prison. Lee has tweeted numerous times stating that Nick Cooper has stolen money while Paul Andrews was in charge, along with various posts on facebook groups. Here is a selection of from Lee Fogarty:
Michael Barnes: Is the man who Lee Fogarty says stole the money in here then Lee?
Lee Fogarty: Nick Cooper? No
#zxvega Being 25% shareholder, I assume Paul Andrews supports the action to recover missing funds from his friend Nick Cooper?— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) December 7, 2016
#zxvega Wondering if Nick has my house bugged? How else could he hear slander? Which is only slander if not true. Same with libel.— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) December 7, 2016
#zxvega Bit awkward for Paul Andrews when his mate Nick Cooper take cash on his watch - not interested in the 25%? Or is it now 50%?— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) December 9, 2016
#zxvega Closely followed by Cornerstone that takes money then claims they can keep it because another company might have internal dispute?— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) December 9, 2016
#zxvega Could be worse. Could be a distributor stealing units and money then claiming another companies internal issues lets him.— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) December 9, 2016
Wednesday 24th May, 2017
Gareth Corfield attends the 1 hour court hearing involving RCL vs Cornerstone releases another article on The Register Costs v sales agent? Not just yet, judge tells Retro Computers Ltd. Highlights from the article:
- ZX Spectrum Vega firm Retro Computers Ltd has had its attempt to force former sales agent Nick Cooper to hand over extra information in the ongoing court battle between the two postponed today by the London County Court.
- RCL had applied for a court order that would have forced Cooper to answer a series of questions designed to make him disclose extra information the company believes he holds about the firm he used to be MD of, Cornerstone Media International. It would also have forced him to identify the sources of payments he passed along to former RCL director Paul Andrews’ company, Andrews UK Ltd.
- Andrews and fellow former RCL director Chris Smith had written to RCL’s legal team explaining that the monies under dispute at this hearing were for sales of goods unrelated to RCL. A copy of the letter was handed to Judge Lightman this afternoon by Cooper.
- The letter also said that Paul Andrews’ name and contact details had been wrongly added to the RCL website and to the company’s Indiegogo (crowdfunding site) page, and made various allegations about police involvement.
- The next hearing in RCL v Cornerstone will take place later this year, when the issue of costs will be considered. Last week a £52,000 costs order was awarded against RCL and three of its four directors in unrelated litigation between Andrews and the firm.
Intelligent Toys has been struck off the companies register, which is yet another business failure that includes three of the current directors of RCL (David Levy, Janko Mrsic-Flogel and Sir Clive Sinclair).
David Levy was notable by his absence at the Artificial Intelligence: Living and Working in an AI world conference in London, where he was scheduled to give a talk (followed by brief questions) at 3:40pm about sex with robots.
Lee Fogarty's claim (made on the 5th of May and uploaded to the public discussion group on the 22nd of May) that backers would know when they would be getting their Vega+ by today comes to nothing.
RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty has upgraded his personal "Vega+ anxiety meter" from "It's definitely coming out, the trolls will all have egg on their faces" to "All of the signs we are getting as testers are yes it's happening":
Lee Fogarty also confirms that along with everybody else, he has not received his honour roll email that was supposed to have been sent out by Friday May 12th:top
Thursday 25th May, 2017
A backer posts on Indiegogo stating that there is no registered birth for "Suzanne Louise Martin" taking place in June 1967 (as shown on the Companies Register). I have seen a screenshot of the document, but there is no point putting it online as she is not on it. Nor have I been able to find any articles written by her, despite Suzanne claiming to have been a journalist for 20 years. (Any member of the public can pay about 3 pounds and access this birth information if they wish to confirm she is not there for themselves).top
Saturday 27th May, 2017
Thanks to a comment left on this blog, a link to a registered birth for "Suzanne Louise Martin" has been found in the September 1967 database. The author of the comment points out that the birth may have been in late June or registered late, hence why it falls into the September quarter.top
Wednesday 31st May, 2017
RCL fails/refuses to pay Paul Andrews the sum of £52,520.12 that was due to be paid to him within 14 days as mentioned in the default costs certificate shown on Wednesday the 17th of May.
Some unusual changes have been noticed on the total funds shown on the Indiegogo campaign. The total amount increases today by £110 to £512,350 and the backers has gone up by 1 to 4768. Stefan Andersson's name is now back on the backers list, after being shown as refunded a few weeks ago. Six days ago, another increase of £105 was noticed and the name Rosemary Turner appeared on the backers list.
Whistleblower and pariah Jan Saggiori has changed the status of the "democracy" facebook group from public to closed.top
Friday 2nd June, 2017
RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty's company Creative Spectrum is now showing accounts overdue on companies house. He now faces a fine of at least £150 for not filing his accounts on time. It is rather amusing that the fine is £50 more than the total shareholders funds for the company. Then again, Creative Spectrum has a bizarre history of terminating the two directors and then re-adding them. It seems to be a common occurrence that everyone still convinced the Vega+ is coming out has a fine from companies house for failure to file their accounts on time.
A postem entry is added to Suzanne Louise Martin's birth certificate record on FreeBMD. The postem entry says SUZANNE LOUISE MARTIN the RCL THIEF.top
Sunday 4th June, 2017
Veteran ZX Spectrum programmer Jonathan Cauldwell (who has been working with RCL to acquire rights to games and report bugs with his prototype unit) calls the hundreds/thousands of angry backers a hate mob. Jonathan posts the following message regarding the vapourware Vega+:
Jonathan has also blocked several people that have been vocal about RCL's inability to deliver the product:
On the World of Spectrum forums, Jonathan Cauldwell has previously posted that he would quit the ZX Spectrum scene if the Vega+ fails to materialise.top
Tuesday 6th June, 2017
The number of games that have been pulled from the Vega+ (due to failure to pay rights holders and charity payments) is now more than 500! This means the Vega+ has less than half the number of games that it needs for release.
Lee Fogarty attempts a sympathy stunt by taking down the site World of Spectrum, pretending that Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne have been bombarding his host (FastHosts) with copyright infringement notices. Unfortunately for Lee, his stunt unravels within a few hours and the truth is exposed.
Lee begins the day by setting up a CGI script in his CPanel interface saying that the account has been suspended:
This Account has been suspended.
Contact your hosting provider for more information.
A little while later, Lee alters the message:
This Account has been temporarily suspended due to a large number of complaints.
Legal teams are viewing the complaints and working through them. We expect this to take over 24hrs. In the meantime, join us on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/groups/WorldOfSpectrum.org/
Several people begin to smell a rat, as Lee Fogarty's server hosts about a dozen websites, and it is clear that the account has not been suspended because only World of Spectrum and The Tip Shop websites have been affected. The Tip Shop in particular is a site listing cheats and pokes for Spectrum games, and was jointly created by Nick Humphries, an individual Lee has been feuding with for a long time.
Another individual contacts FastHosts asking about the takedown, and FastHosts reply saying that it was nothing to do with them, and it was all done by the server administrator (Lee Fogarty). Lee's sympathy stunt has been exposed and he rushes into damage control.
Several people ask Lee to backup his claims with evidence, and Lee posts an 8 month old complaint notice that has already been discussed on the World of Spectrum forums. The original complaint did not contain any information about who submitted it, mentions only worldofspectrum.org and tzxvault.org (not the tip shop), and the re-uploaded image still contains nothing to tie the complaint to Paul Andrews or Darren Melbourne.
All posts asking for evidence are ignored, and Lee begins his usual trick of asking about rival product The64 instead.
Lee then begins a large scale banning operation for people asking questions or being in rival facebook groups. In a rather ironic twist, a number of people that tried to follow the link to the facebook group found out that they had been banned from joining it.
Lee continues to spread misinformation in private messages when he writes "What are you going to do WHEN Andrews & co are jailed?"top
Thursday 8th June, 2017
Lee Fogarty panics and has deleted various posts in the ZX Spectrum Vega+ thread on World of Spectrum. The most obvious post that has been deleted is the one from Sunday 27th of April 2016 where Lee Fogarty backed up Rich Chandler by saying that the Vega+ was in production:
If you search World of Spectrum for Vega (and navigate to the 23rd page of results) you can still find the post there.
Lee has also blocked the entire thread from being viewed by the public, unless you are already a member of World of Spectrum. However, a majority of the posts from that thread are available on the site archive.is so you don't need to sign up to read the posts that have not been deleted.top
Friday 9th June, 2017
Paul Andrews posts an update to the public discussion facebook group detailing the truth regarding the World of Spectrum site going down. Paul Andrews writes:top
Monday 12th June, 2017
RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty has been caught creating duplicate/shill accounts, presumably in an effort to backup some of his earlier lies about fake accounts. If you search for Lee Fogarty, there are now two accounts that appear:
Lee's stupidity is on display for everyone that views the profile, because he has added himself as a friend on the duplicate/fake account. Several months earlier, Lee claimed that a fake account was setup to contact all his friends, then post private messages to them so they could be screengrabbed. This account (without a profile photo and only 2 friends) would only fool the most brain-dead of people:
Lee's alter-ego has also been exposed on twitter, with with a fake twitter account. The twitter account fogartylee2 is clearly Lee himself, and was created in July of 2016, just as RCL's problems were being exposed. It is possible Lee forgot to logout of the duplicate account before posting replies to people. He was probably using this account to snoop on profiles that he has blocked:
Lee Fogarty confirms on the World of Spectrum forums that Mark Cale/System 3 has complained about his games being available on World of Spectrum. Lee Fogarty claims that a DMCA complaint was filed (rather than direct contact) and all System 3 games have now been removed from the World of Spectrum archive. Lee's post in full (and an archived version):
The thread also contains information about an old post where Lee Fogarty was offering to sell DVDs of pirated software (taken from the World of Spectrum archives) for £30 a pop.top
Tuesday 13th June, 2017
Paul Andrews sent RCL requests for fully audited accounts (as he is entitled to do as a shareholder owning 25% of the company) and RCL have ignored his requests. David Levy/RCL has instead supplied micro accounts for the period ending 30/03/2016 to Companies House 3 months late, incurring fines. The accounts are an absolute joke, with only 6 lines of figures showing capital and reserves of £54,822, then 2 pages of David Levy's usual "blame everyone else" rant for the accounts being late.top
Wednesday 14th June, 2017
Lee Fogarty's host FastHosts have told him that he has to remove the entire "news" page from the RCL website due to the defamation or be shut down. In a typically half-arsed effort, Lee Fogarty removes the link from the front page, but the news articles themselves remain. FastHosts have been contacted about this failure to remove the "news" properly.
Backer Steve Thornton posts the following comments on the Indiegogo campaign regarding the Arrow certification:top
Thursday 15th June, 2017
Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called Months late, unaudited: ZX Spectrum reboot firm files accounts. The article asks "Which bit is the half-million pounds of other people's money?"
RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty was ordered to remove the defamation pieces from the news section of the RCL website, and he has done so. You can still view the archived defamation articles that have been preserved.
The "democracy" facebook group continues to delete posts and ban members that ask for updates or news about the Vega+.top
Friday 16th June, 2017
Paul Andrews releases the following statement:top
Friday 23rd June, 2017
Gareth Corfield of The Register publishes an article ZX Spectrum reboot firm gets £52k court costs order quashed. Highlights of the article:
- The £52,000 costs order granted against Retro Computers Ltd has been set aside by the Senior Courts Costs Office, a branch of the High Court, as the wrangle between RCL and two former directors rumbles on.
- RCL had applied for an extension of time to consider the bill of costs and raise formal points of dispute. The lawyers for RCL used the excuse that "due to commitments on other cases we are involved with, we do not have the capacity to consider the issue of costs and respond by 12 May".
- The lawyers for Paul Andrews and Chris Smith added that they had heard nothing "until the last-minute request for an extension of time on 9th May" right before the previous scheduled hearing in the case.
Monday 26th June, 2017
Gareth Corfield of The Register publishes an article Games rights-holders tell ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Pay or we pull titles. Highlights of the article:
- The owners of the rights to about 200 games to be bundled with the ZX Spectrum Vega+ is withdrawing permission for them to be included with the consoles unless its maker pays royalties for games on a previous device (the original ZX Vega).
- A representative from games studio Zenobi told The Register that Retro Computers Ltd (RCL), the company at the centre of the ZX Spectrum Vega+ debacle, still hasn’t paid royalties months after El Reg revealed it owes Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital tens of thousands of pounds.
- "We have not been paid by RCL for our Vega or Vega+ games to date. If they don't pay up within seven days then we will withdraw our titles from the Vega+," the Zenobi spokesman said. We understand Zenobi's agreements cover circa 200 titles intended to be bundled with the Vega+ and that the cutoff date expires this Thursday (29th June).
RCL chairman David Levy refused to answer questions asking why the company had not paid for the software, or paid Great Ormond Street. He simply stated, “We are not making any comment to The Register”.
Tuesday 27th June, 2017
George Cropper releases a YouTube video called Vega+ Games List Decimated and More.top
Wednesday 28th June, 2017
RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty stirs the pot when he posts the following message regarding the Spectrum Next:
It has been revealed that Lee Fogarty is working on an API for the Spectrum Next so that games can be downloaded from the World of Spectrum website. World of Spectrum used to be the number one ZX Spectrum resource on the internet, but since Lee took over, a majority of the features have been broken and distribution rights revoked. Lee has been unable to add anything useful to the site in his 6 years of running it (and as of today, the site is more broken than ever), so it is unlikely he even has the skills to write a simple API.
Concerned backers have asked the Next team for clarification about exactly what Lee Fogarty is involved with, and the Next team have banned all discussion of the matter and issued refunds instead.top
Monday 3rd July, 2017
An article appears on MMO Fallout called Crowdfunding Fraudsters Redux: Return of the ZX Spectrum Vega+. The article is well worth a read and discusses:
- The RCL "B Team" (Tamara Thomas, Lee Fogarty and Jan Saggiori)
- The supposed "security breach"
- RCL's perpetual victim complex
- RCL's continual refusal of refunds
Friday 14th July, 2017
Lee Fogarty tweets that he agrees with the campaign to get the Watchdog TV programme to investigate Retro Computers Ltd:
#zxvega Campaign to get watchdog to investigate RCL? I totally agree! It will be amazing what they dig up...— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) 15 July 2017
Tuesday 18th July, 2017
Preston Thomas (long-time cheerleader for RCL and author of the infamous Mic Drop rant) becomes embroiled in an argument on Facebook over another member who was banned by Preston's wife Tamara Thomas for asking questions about progress on the Vega+. Preston had been promised a Vega+ for testing by Lee Fogarty but even he seems to have given up all hope of the Vega+ being released when he posts:
As far as I am concerned the whole vega+ thing is dead
Backer Neil asks Indiegogo to contact RCL to find out what is happening, and Indiegogo confirm that they too are being ignored. The following message is written, along with their usual generic "contact the owner" message:
Thanks for writing back. Unfortunately, we also didn't receive any updates from the campaign owner.
Saturday 22nd July, 2017
Someone at RCL is still monitoring backers comments as today a backer confirmed they put a comment up which was deleted, and they were banned from the "official" RCL Facebook group. RCL are still alive it seems, monitoring backer comments and trying to eliminate any negative talk.top
Monday 24th July, 2017
The official Retro Computers Limited entry on Google Maps has been deleted. It would be a shame for this valuable historical listing to disappear, so here are a few screengrabs that show there were 17 one-star reviews out of 17.top
Thursday 27th July, 2017
RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty's company Creative Spectrum now has an active proposal to be struck off. The Creative Spectrum record on Companies House now shows "First Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off".top
Friday 28th July, 2017
Suzanne Martin breaks radio silence to ask backer Graham Kenny for his PayPal information. Many people on the public discussion facebook group wonder what caused Graham to be approached all of a sudden. Graham himself is none the wiser, and has guessed because he offered to donate his pledge to charity that RCL are trying to win some sympathy in the courts at a later stage. Graham refuses the refund request in this email exchange:
Do you have a paypal account? If so could you please confirm if it is connected to your registered email address?
Graham's initial reply:
Good Morning RCL,
No, my Pay Pal account is not linked to my (email) address. Can you please tell me why you want my PayPal information or moreso, what is going on as this is quite possibly the most bizarre handling of a project from any company I have ever witnessed?
Suzanne Martin replies with:
You have asked for a refund.
Graham very kindly tells Suzanne that another backer deserves the refund before him. Backer Daniel Newby has famously posted more than 1000 comments on the Indiegogo campaign before RCL obtained the rights to 1000 games:
You should perhaps look at prioritising Daniel Newby's refund first. Come back to me once you've sorted him out.
Sunday 30th July, 2017
Lee Fogarty has once again appeared on the "democracy" group to convince people that the Vega+ project is still alive and on-track for release:
- Lee has apparently told Derek Chandler that SMS can make 1,000 units in a day meaning the production run should take a week.
- Lee and his cohorts have done all the stress testing of the prototype units.
- There are no board revisions, only a minor tweak that's been done, but nothing on board.
Jan Saggiori posts in the "democracy" group that the Vega+ is now to be sold in Argos:top
Wednesday 2nd August, 2017
Jan Saggiori posts what can only be described as a load of nonsense in the "democracy" facebook group about the questions being asked by backers on the Argos website. Argos themselves admitting they were getting no answers from RCL regarding delivery, and Jan Saggiori now claims that trolls (possibly working at Argos) were writing all the questions to cause trouble:
The results of a google search of the RCL directors by a backer has been posted as a comment on the Indiegogo campaign. A post made on Monday 31st July, 2017 on website PR Fire (a free press release distribution service) claims that Suzanne Martin is re-launching her PR services. (The original post has since been removed, a now all too familiar story in the Vega+ debacle.)
The bottom of the press release contains a link that points to an extremely detailed blog post that claims to outline Suzanne Louise Martin's criminal history. (An archived backup is available in case it is removed.) The date at the top of the article shows a publishing date of Wednesday July 26, 2017 and the post contains significant claims about Suzanne Martin's past: a drug trafficking conviction, fraud cases, a false allegation/Indian rape case, a long history with the police and courts, bogus stories to the newspapers and much more.
According to the article, the Daily Mail newspaper was going to expose this information but when asked for her final comment on the article, she claimed she would commit suicide to avoid the article becoming public.
The accuracy of the post cannot be verified at this stage, but the author seems to have gone to great lengths to provide a selection of court case and employment tribunal numbers. We are hopeful that the Vega+ community (as well as the press) will investigate the authenticity of the information on that page over the coming days, and updates will be provided as information is verified or proven to be inaccurate, whatever the case may be.top
Friday 4th August, 2017
The author of the blog post claiming to show Suzanne Martin's criminal history has updated the page and now includes two scans of court documents that claim to show her 12 month conviction for importing cannibis resin. (Once again, a backup is available).
After the information claimed in the blog post yesterday (the bulk of which has yet to be verified) by someone about Suzanne Martin, it might be appropriate to remind everyone of the circumstances and evidence provided by Paul Andrews in the closed Facebook group (in early May 2017) as to how he claims he was driven out of RCL by Suzanne Martin and David Levy back in March 2016.
The false allegations made against him bare a striking similarity to the claims made in the blog post found yesterday by the blog poster of prior incidents between Suzanne Martin and multiple third parties.
The full transcript of the reveal by Andrews is shown below in PDF form, and a separate post contains all the screen grabs of the full email chain, real story from Wikipedia and and associated mystery tweets made at Andrews and people he knows. You can all make your own minds up.
In yet another setback for the beleaguered Vega+ campagin, Argos have now removed the Vega+ from their website. Many questions from backers were not able to be answered, and it seems that Argos have pulled the pin after getting the run-around from RCL.top
Tuesday 8th August, 2017
Long time thorn in RCL's side Daniel Newby has finally received his refund! After 1103 comments and being lied to about being refunded back in February, Daniel has apparently received his refund. We hope for Daniel's sake that he transfers the money out of PayPal before RCL claim it back! Here's a selection of the posts from Indiegogo that mention it:
Another unconfirmed piece of evidence regarding the Suzanne Martin blog has been located, this time involving the Pardeshi Guest House case in India.
Paul Andrews posts on his Facebook page, indicating that he has the full RCL bank statements. Paul's message reads:
Due to the on-going and increasing discontent between Retro Computers Ltd and its backers of the Vega Plus console and suspicions as to the state of the funds invested, we approached RCL’s bank to discuss our concerns on the 19th of July 2017. We were informed by the bank that we had third party (as in viewing rights only not transactional ones) rights to the account, something we had not known prior to that point in time. We requested full bank statements detailing every transaction since we left in April 2016 till the current date. The bank provided those statements to us as we are fully legally entitled to them. We have informed RCL, Levy, Martin and Mrsic-Flogel and their solicitors that we have the bank statements (in order to be completely transparent) and their solicitors have responded requesting that we not make these public. We will make a further statement on these bank account statements in due course after we have received legal advice.
Paul Andrews and Chris Smith
Phil Jennings, a disgruntled backer still waiting for his refund, has contacted Codetapper with a damning series of emails he had with Lee Fogarty. In an ironic role reversal, it seems this time Lee was the one being led "up the swanee" as Phil convinced Lee to setup a cowboy builder website for him. Lee openly discussed about doing a cash job, revealed the standard price he charges for websites and posts, found that Lee resides at the address he returned court papers from whilst pretending he didn't live there, that Lee would accept a lump sum payment despite his company soon to be struck off Companies House and much much more.
Phil also requested that the information be passed to George Cropper (of Bum Fun Gaming fame) for a possible video, and George has released his thoughts on the latest developments:
RCL return to the Indiegogo campaign, and are met with a large number of angry backers who have seen that angry posts eventually lead to a refund. RCL post the following about an "announcement very soon":
We will be making an announcement very soon. We are also very sorry that a hardcore group of people who have been refunded Ratcliffe and Co are still posting abusive comments.
Suzanne Martin/RCL apparently does not like swearing:
A backer asks why RCL reply to a single backer, whilst ignoring 4770 others. A curt answer avoiding the question follows:
RCL reply to a backer that asked if RCL will be pulling a rabbit out of a hat:
There will be a rabbit... we are still here. The rumours are just that....rumours
RCL claim they will be updating soon, but many people note that they've heard this story many times before - and often prior to several months of ignoring the backers.In what appears to be an attempt to hide negative comments from the campaign (as Indiegogo only displays the 10 most recent comments without clicking a link to show more), RCL post the same message "We apologise for the foul mouth rants from a small group of people" over and over:
Lee Fogarty has once again blocked Codetapper on Facebook, after being tagged in a post. Less than a week ago, Lee had suddenly unblocked him, presumably so he could read his posts.top
Wednesday 9th August, 2017
After Paul Andrews post yesterday that he has copies of the RCL bank statements, Lee Fogarty posts on facebook confirming that his company Creative Spectrum has been charging RCL: "Some people are asking how much my company has charged RCL over the last 16 months. In total across multiple projects, it's around £14k".
This appears to be a contradiction to what Lee stated on the 22nd of March, 2017 when he said "Nowt to do with me - I only host the website and update the blog. Got no access to anything else. Not an employee, don't get paid, etc":
Suzanne Martin and Lee Fogarty engage in what appears to be a very scripted conversation about the bank statements:
Suzanne Martin posts various family photos on facebook from Paul Andrews trip to the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) taken in January 2016:
Jan Saggiori (admin of the "democracy" facebook group) and Suzanne Martin/RCL encourage others to spread the images of Paul Andrews:
Jan Saggiori: Yes, but then be ready to be attacked by the haters in all possible ways, as well as receive threats to you and your family from unknown people (them)...
Suzanne Martin: Yes please feel free to these are images from FB so Copyright Free
Codetapper's host receives a complaint from Suzanne Martin as well as the police, and the entire Vega+ section of the website is taken offline by the host for the time being. The rest of the Amiga content on the website remains.
At the same time, George "Bum" Cropper receives a series of harassment violations on all his Vega+ videos, and almost all the Vega+ videos are taken offline by YouTube.
RCL release update 61 on Indiegogo containing a link to the Europe song "The Final Countdown" and stating that they aim to begin shipping the Vega+ to backers within 8 weeks. Eight weeks from today would be Wednesday the 4th of October. The full update text:
RCL also release update 62, consisting of an image containing the text: "the song "the final countdown" is now playing in your head."
If Suzanne Martin was under the impression that refunding Daniel Newby yesterday would silence him, she appears to be mistaken. Daniel demands Suzanne resign on the Indiegogo comments:
@tony she can’t deny them the court documents were there ‘GUILTY AS CHARGED’. How many kids lives have you ruined SUZANNE because of their parents getting hooked on DRUGS YOU IMPORTED. SUZANNE MARTIN YOU ARE A LOWLIFE SCUMBAG !!!!!!!
RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN
RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN
RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN!!!!!!!
Suzanne Martin/RCL replies with:
Chill out Daniel....
Thursday 10th August, 2017
Paul Andrews posts the following:
Short Statement Reference Retro Computers Ltd
Despite having completely legally received (as a shareholder) from RCL’s bank copies of its bank statements, I have received advice that at this present time these are confidential and it would be inadvisable for me to publicly release the details of how the funds have been spent or even the current account balance. This is because it would potentially invite legal problems for me personally as I remain a shareholder, a position I have kept in the hope of helping the backers determine the status of their investment in the Vega Plus. Sadly, I have no control over the actions of the current RCL directors, having left before any of the more than half-a-million pounds they received from Indiegogo was paid to the company. I therefore can’t offer any explanation for their recent unusual activity on various internet forums, nor the vicious personal attacks by them against me and my family on social media, but urge those involved to stop this behaviour for the sake and reputation of the company. I am however pleased to hear the recent announcement (yet again) that delivery of the Vega Plus is imminent and I look forward to seeing how the situation develops.
Paul Andrews – 10th August 2017
Paul Andrews posts evidence (in the form of a signed letter from Barclay's Bank) that contradicts Suzanne Martin's fantasy story about the bank card yesterday.
Gareth Corfield publishes a new article in The Register called We'll deliver 'in a few weeks' says troubled ZX Spectrum reboot firm. (An archived version is also available). Highlights from the article:
- Troubled ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has promised to deliver its Vega+ product in “a few weeks”.
- So far there has been no tangible sign of any progress being made in the delivery of the consoles.
- Suzanne Martin, RCL’s managing director, did not deny to The Register that she was posting pictures of Andrews and his family on Facebook groups linked to RCL, insisting that the photos were “in the public domain” and claiming they were proof that Andrews misused company money for a personal holiday. Andrews said that the photos were “absolutely not” in the public domain and that the holiday had been a business trip to the CES show as part of RCL’s abortive attempt to enter the US market.
- Various bloggers who have been closely monitoring the saga have been in touch with El Reg, saying someone has attempted to have their blogs suspended over the last couple of days.
- RCL continues to insist that production is only a few weeks away. The firm told El Reg a few months ago that it would go into production in July, something it now admits it has not done.
Backer "Braw Ness" (who had not posted any comments on the campaign until today) posts a number of what seem to be abusive comments about other backers on the Indiegogo comments section. Braw changes the profile name to "R'étrõ Cëë-Ell", and other backers notice that all previous comments now appear to be from the new name and wonder if it is another shill account (such as the Nick Roper account). Here is a list of all the comments posted by "Braw Ness" aka "R'étrõ Cëë-Ell", from oldest at the top to newest at the bottom:
Why do people here not understand the difference between a pledge and an order? It’s almost like they think they’ve placed an order for a tangible good, and not just pledged money towards a project which may or may not successfully deliver a tangible good. But the general public aren’t so thick that they wouldn’t understand the core principle of crowdfunding, are they?
Graham Kenny – you’re merely thick, that’s forgivable.
rratcliffe – you clearly have a personal interest beyond the crowdfunder here, so I feel sorry for you. Nothing more.
rob – I don’t know who you are, but you’re a complete embarrassment to yourself, your family and everyone you’ve ever been in contact with. Watch where you run your mouth in the future, you cretinous c*nt.
And no, I have no connection to RCL other than finding the likes of you poisonous idiots hilarious to laugh at.
Ronan at this stage I could happily lose my pledge just for the entertainment value of the foam-mouthed self-righteous detractors of the project. If I receive a console I’m The end, it’ll be a bonus. I’ve backed plenty projects here and elsewhere that have failed in some way or completely, but none have supplied such a contingent of looneys who need to go off on one every thirty seconds. At least give me that :D
@Braw What’s your real name? You must be as thick as pig shite to come on here of all days to declare your love for RCL… or just a shill.
Tell you what, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that youre new and Ill be polite. Go do a bit of homework and if you come back here after that mocking backers for taking a stand, then clearly you’re beyond help.
@Graham, you greasy double-ender, can you not see that I’m here to laugh at you and your ilk, as opposed to support RCL? I literally don’t care about my Vega+, I only care about you, how thick YOU are, and to laugh about how angry you get over something so utterly stupid and pointless as a failed crowdfunding.
You and your shit-thick, furious chums do no favours to anyone, for or against the Vega+, and the fact you and your fuckbuds can’t see it is knicker-wetteningly hilarious. Keep it up!
I did think maybe Daniella Nooby might be some sport due to all caps, but I suspect they are presently headbutting a patio with loads of Spectrum Reimagined buried underneath, in pure rage
@Graham you wish you were being trolled, that would probably make you feel better about your own disturbing and obsessive ineptitude. You’re being mocked, not trolled.
And I didn’t just appear to make you feel special today, snowflake, as you can see this ain’t my first IGG, and you’re not the first braindead fuckwit I’ve ever encountered.
I’m not pro-RGL, I’m anti idiot. Read my previous comments. See where you fit in.
Friday 11th August, 2017
Codetapper receives some information regarding the takedown of the Vega+ section of the codetapper.com website. When asked for details about why the site was taken down, Codetapper is told that Suzanne Martin had phoned and emailed the host, and Suzanne's email expressly said it must not be forwarded. A police officer had also contacted the host, but there was no mention about that information being private. When asked what the actual complaint was, the following was given:
Multiple people contacted the police station in question to find out if this takedown was a prank/hoax. The officer in question, TDC Levy, has not provided a police case number to the ISP or replied to email requests for information about the takedown. (TDC = Trainee Detective Constable.)
The Indiegogo comments section descends into chaos after a backer realises that their name, profile and photo can be changed and all comments will appear with the new name.top
Saturday 12th August, 2017
Jonathan Cauldwell tweets to say that he is prepared to write all 1000 games for the Vega+:
Oh, and as far as backers are concerned let me make this clear: If I have to write every game on the Vega+, I'll do it. All 1000— Jonathan Cauldwell (@ZXSpectrumDev) August 12, 2017
Sunday 13th August, 2017
Paul Andrews tweets the cropped parts from the conversation Suzanne Martin posted earlier.top
Monday 14th August, 2017
Daniel Newby alters his profile to appear to be "Lie Fogarty", and posts a message on the Indiegogo campaign. (This message will become important the following day when RCL post on facebook).top
Tuesday 15th August, 2017
RCL post a warning on their facebook page saying that if you impersonate other people you will be reported to various law enforcement agencies:
In response to this messages, someone asks RCL to confirm if people like Lee Fogarty, Jan Saggiori, Preston Thomas and Tamara Thomas are representatives of RCL. The question is ignored by RCL.
In the comments for the same post, RCL now state that the "finished box design" from "a few weeks back" (actual date Wednesday 29th of March, more than 4 and a half months ago) is not the final design after all.
Per Najbjerg Odderskov: Give Them a good update with photos and all 2 shut their mouths. 7 weeks to delivery, cant wait. Have a photo of the box maybee?
Retro Computers: We posted a pic of the box a few weeks back - but we have actually decided to tweak the design since then. So I'll see what I can come up with.
Deryck Pritchard: a few weeks ago... good use of creative writing there, it was 5 months ago, considering you've missed everything single deadline for release that you've published I ain't holding out much hope of the postman delivering in 7 weeks. As for the main content of this post is it any surprise people are getting creative in taking the Micky out of this shambles.
Anthony Pye: Quite Deryck - that pic of the box was ages ago - what do they think we are idiots ??!!
Backer Graham Kenny is force refunded £110 for his order, and the status of his contribution is changed to "refunded". RCL did not have Graham's PayPal information, so Graham is sent a link to collect his money. If the link is not clicked before September 14, the money is returned to RCL. Graham posts that he has no intention to click the link, and wishes to remain a backer.
A backer asks for a refund by posting the text "Please refund order #271." 18 times in the same Indiegogo comment several times. RCL claim that the backer is in breach of community guidelines and ask him to stop spamming the comments section:
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Please refund order #271.
Retro Computers Campaigner
You are in breach of community guidelines and please stop spamming the comments section
Wednesday 16th August, 2017
George Cropper (Funky Spectrum) returns with a new video called The Vega+ - The Untouchables and reporting that YouTube has checked out his content, determined it is not harassment and all his strikes have been removed. The video is one of George's longest, with a 17 minute commentary of the current state of the project.top
Thursday 17th August, 2017
Backer Paul Hargreaves manages to obtain a refund by asking (9 times) if the link regarding Suzanne Martin is true. The full post:
Wow! If this is true then I’d have NEVER got involved in this crowdfunding campaign. I would NEVER be involved knowingly with something associated with a person with this criminal record.
Consider this request #9 for a FULL refund… order #2565.
(Will be doing this daily btw now until I either receive a working Vega+ with the 1000 games on it or my refund!)
As knowledge of Paul's refund becomes public knowledge, the floodgates open as many backers that have had their refunds refused/ignored post the same message. In response to these refund requests, RCL ignore the requests and instead post the following comment:
Apparently sharing a link to the daily blog is also a breach of community guidelines:
The Internet never forgets, neither will we – https://web.archive.org/web/20170712143839/codetapper.com/zxvega/daily-blog
Retro Computers Campaigner
Deliberately sharing malicious, false and unsubstantiated content is not only a breach of community guidelines it may constitute a number of criminal offences. We again ask you to cease all contact with RCL personnel and to refrain from sharing what is clearly malicious material.
Friday 18th August, 2017
A backer receives confirmation from Cyril (Indiegogo Customer Happiness) that PAUL ANDREWS is still listed as the campaign owner. He asks on Indiegogo "Why is PAUL ANDREWS still marked as the Campaign Owner, RCL?":
From: Cyril (Indiegogo Customer Happiness) [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 18 August 2017 11:11
Thanks for reaching out. Please see the campaign owner’s contact info below:
Campaign Owner’s Name: PAUL ANDREWS
Campaign Owner’s Email: email@example.com
The ZX Vega+ information previously hosted (and taken down) on codetapper.com is moved to a new server after a large number of free offers to host it. The replacement (unofficial and unauthorised) website is discovered and links appear on Twitter and the Indiegogo comments section within an hour of the site going live.top
Saturday 19th August, 2017
Force-refunded ex-backer Richard asks Suzanne to confirm whether the allegations about her are true. Suzanne Martin decides not to answer the question, and instead blocks Richard.
Richard posts a comment on the Indiegogo campaign informing other backers of what happened.top
Sunday 20th August, 2017
Several people on the Indiegogo campaign attempt to gain their refund by posting a similar message to Paul several days earlier. The refund requests are unsuccessful, and RCL reply with the following message several times:
Backer Lee Staniforth posts a similar message asking for a refund, and RCL threaten that posting the link again will see his account placed on hold. RCL suggest that Lee removes his comments, even though there is apparently no way for a backer to do so:
Retro Computers Campaigner
Posting malicious anonymous links will not result in a refund and posting this again at any time will result in your account being placed on hold and a complaint being made to Indiegogo. we suggest you remove this and any other abuse.
"we suggest you remove this and any other abuse." Please tell me how to do this?
Retro Computers Campaigner
Go into the comments section on your account and delete your earlier comments.
Ah, RCL, unfortunately that option is only available to Campaign Owners of an open and active campaign. Us lowly backers do not have the option of removing our comments - keep up.
Tuesday 22nd August, 2017
Backer Paul Spann announces on facebook that after having more than 30 refund requests ignored he has decided to recover his money through small claims court. Paul used the RCL address on the homepage for his claim:
Retro Computers Ltd
10-14 Accommodation Road
Thursday 31st August, 2017
Backer Daniel Newby's Indiegogo account has been suspended, and all his posts from the previous 4 days have been deleted. Daniel posted well over 1000 comments on the campaign in an attempt to get his refund:
The campaign itself has seen over 400 comments removed from the campaign in the last 24 hours. Some of these deleted comments appear to be from at least one known member closing their Indiegogo account, but this is not the case for Daniel Newby. Daniel has now created his own Twitter account so you can follow him there until his Indiegogo account is re-instated.
With the Vega+ due to be released in approximately one month, it seems strange timing that the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega and Vega Plus Group has decided to close and archive the group.top
Friday 1st September, 2017
RCL release update 63 on the Indiegogo campaign, containing yet another delay. (The previous update stated that the Vega+ units were to be delivered in 8 weeks, which would be Wednesday the 4th of October 2017.) Today's "Happy Friday" update consists of a single image containing the following text:top
Tuesday 5th September, 2017
The twitter account Anon y Mouse posts 2 images that appear to be the RCL bank account statements from May 2016. The images are mainly blurred out, but show multiple payments to David Levy, along with an expense for just under £61 to Palms of Goa restaurant. Someone with a dry sense of humour has already linked a photo of David Levy dining out to the Palms of Goa Google maps page.
George Cropper releases a video called "THE VEGA+ - ANONYMAN OR ANONYMOUSE?" where he discusses RCL's "Happy Friday" update (from Friday 1st of September) and shares his thoughts on the Anon y Mouse twitter account @LevySexRobot. Many people have wondered whether the Anon y Mouse account is in fact RCL themselves trying to play "the victim" card.top
Friday 8th September, 2017
An article has appeared on The Verge called Indiegogo may now call a collection agency if backers aren’t kept informed about delays. Highlights from the article:
Indiegogo is making a pair of changes today that are designed to compel crowdfunding campaigns to be clearer with backers about the state of their products. The first change is a requirement that tech campaigns disclose what state their product is in - be it just a concept or one ready to hit the manufacturing line. And the second is a requirement that all campaigns update their backers at least once a month about how the project is going.
If campaigns fail to do either, Indiegogo may remove them from the platform, offer refunds, and even attempt to acquire dispersed money through collections agencies. Combined, Indiegogo hopes these measures will give people more confidence when backing a project and then again later on while waiting for it to ship, which is when delays often hit and communication tends to break down.
“One of the things that we found is that in certain cases, either our backers didn't have all the information that they could use to help them make a decision to back a project, or after a campaign there was often not good communication between entrepreneurs and backers,” Indiegogo CEO Dave Mandelbrot tells The Verge. “So we've implemented a number of changes to improve the backer experience.”
A developer having a look at the World of Spectrum API found Lee Fogarty's code was faulty, and an error message exposed the fact that Lee was collecting and storing information about every visitor to that page. The developer could not replicate the problem, but reported the problem to George Cropper who exposed it on the Spectrum For Everyone facebook group on Wednesday 6th of September. George received a lot of criticism for exposing this, but an IT professional was able to recreate the fault and George releases a video called WOS API BREACHES DATA PROTECTION ACT containing screenshots of the fault. An independent third party is also shown how to recreate the fault and posts the error message he sees on facebook.
Here is an example of the SQL code failing to run behind the scenes when you view the using the api/basics webpage:
Multiple people expressed concerns that the Vega+ could be released without the 1000 promised games by using the World of Spectrum API to download the games, thus bypassing having to pay GOSH and rights holders. Lee Fogarty has bragged in facebook messages that "They are going to be well pissed off when they realise I am working on a feature for the Next lol".top
Saturday 9th September, 2017
Backer Paul Spann updates backers on the small claims case he opened against RCL on August 22nd via an Indiegogo comment:
This appears to conflict with Suzanne Martin as she has said multiple times that RCL have never refused to refund a backer.
Lee Fogarty's company Creative Spectrum has received an objection to the compulsory strike off from Companies House. At this stage there is no information about who objected to the company being dissolved.top
Tuesday 12th September, 2017
Yet another of David Levy's businesses fails, this time his company Erotic Chatbots Ltd is struck off on Companies House.top
Friday 15th September, 2017
Lee Fogarty all but confirms that the accounts being leaked by Anon y Mouse are legitimate when he replies to Andy Morgan on Twitter. Andy had asked about Lee claiming back £135 of expenses from the "ringfenced funds".top
Saturday 16th September, 2017
Paul Dunn (aka Dunny) posts on a forum with wording and a style that appears to be remarkably similar to how Lee Fogarty writes:
Not that it matters, but the units at the Dizzy event all had 16gb SD cards purchased at short notice. Couldn't buy smaller as out of stock— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) 15 September 2017
Sunday 17th September, 2017
Jonathan Cauldwell claims that the main reason the Vega+ has been delayed is due to the hate mob:
Vega hate mob are main reason why this has been delayed. Game's up though. Can't say how much longer, not part of RCL. Wish I could— Jonathan Cauldwell (@ZXSpectrumDev) 17 September 2017
Monday 18th September, 2017
The Anon y Mouse twitter account releases a large number of bank statements claiming to show that RCL had already spent almost all of the backer's money back in August 2016:
In response to multiple outbursts from Jonathan Cauldwell on social media, George Cropper releases a video titled Vega+ Unfounded Accusations Fly.
A lurker/spy in the public discussion facebook group reported a photo of one of the bank statement reveals directly to Facebook. The photo was available for everyone to see on the Anon y Mouse Twitter account anyway, so whoever reported it likely works for RCL and clearly has spare time on their hands. Facebook investigated the image, decided it did not breach any community guidelines and immediately re-instated the post.
Tuesday 19th September, 2017
The Anon y Mouse twitter account releases 13 bank statements, showing all the payments until the end of 2016.
George Cropper releases his summary of the bank statement reveal in a 16 minute long video called Vega + Accounts Reveal.
RCL supporter Jonathan Cauldwell blocks multiple people on his twitter account after he sent out a tweet wishing the "hate mob" would move on. Various responses and questions are tweeted back and Cauldwell blocks people rather than answering them.top
Wednesday 20th September, 2017
The Anon y Mouse twitter account has now released the bank statements from January 2017 until mid April 2017, where the bank balance was down to £436.56.
As a backup (in case the Anon y Mouse twitter account is taken down), the full resolution bank statements have been added to the ZX Vega+ News website.
The mysterious name "A.Billington" that appears in the bank statements has been tracked down. The name matches a writer/short-film director that has been receiving £250 per week since September 2016, receiving in total £7250 from the "ringfenced funds". There is a compelling digital trail from Suzanne Martin to A.Billington, including the pair liking each others posts.
FunStock is now undercutting the official RCL store by offering the original Vega for devilishly cheap price of £66.66 including free UK shipping. This is significantly cheaper than the RCL store which lists the Vega for £99.99 + £5 for UK delivery. RCL are not entitled to be selling the Vega - developer Chris Smith has not been paid for the IP, game authors and GOSH have not been paid their royalties as reported in The Register.top
Thursday 21st September, 2017
The Anon y Mouse twitter account has released another 7 bank statements, showing the full balance until mid July 2017.
A member of the public discussion facebook group has reported details of the Vega+ being pulled from the Argos store after having a meeting with the Argos purchasing team:
"Basically they were approached by the RCL team if they would be interested in stocking, of which Argos showed interest as part of its 'gifts for dad's' range. The site was updated with a token pre-order page to validate interest against the demand reported by RCL.
In turn it was removed due to lack off demand, the visible information regarding the status of the project alongside no concrete delivery date for units. (my understanding is another company paid for the exclusivity/advance payment)"
Jan Saggiori (administrator of the "democracy" facebook group) has previously been spreading misinformation that hackers and trolls had firstly managed to get the product listed with Argos, and then subsequently removed by trolling the page with questions.top
Friday 22nd September, 2017
A site appears containing a full text breakdown of all the accounts released by the Anon y Mouse twitter account. It appears that someone at RCL is still alive and watching, as the site is taken down within a few hours of it being noticed. A kind soul archived the site before it was taken down.
An Excel spreadsheet of the RCL accounts is also available for anyone interested.
A facebook post highlighting the Criminal Deception section of the Fraud Act 2006 appears to show that the current RCL directors look to be in very hot water:
On the Llamasoft YakYak forums in the New Retro Spectrum Based Games Console thread, Paul Dunn (aka Dunny aka Barney) posts information that appears to have come directly from Lee Fogarty with a rumour of a second bank account:
Firefox: Some intra-company emails and the purported bank statements for the company's current account have been leaked. Oddly, the statements have some of the smaller payments censored, and have larger payments to "Teacher Stern Lip" and such that don't seem to be companies that would really be involved in the development and manufacturing of an electronic device.
Barney (Paul Dunn): Not disagreeing that this looks bad, but according to RCL it's just one account which is what they use to pay ongoing day to day bills and such. Teacher Stern LLP is a legal firm and there is at least one payment of £10k to Great Ormond Street - so they're fulfilling their obligations it would seem. What would be interesting is to see the accounts that supply the injections of cash via paypal - that would answer the question as to whether or not backer's funds are being used, I think.
Gravy: Where have they said that? I've seen the 2nd account theory speculated on but nothing from RCL themselves. It'd be interesting because any statement along those lines would confirm the statements are genuine.
Barney (Paul Dunn): I've been talking to someone with access to RCL's internals, and am still on good terms with Levy and Suzanne (though I've not spoken to them since I decided to back off from them for the time being). I've been told that the backers' money (which is, as I understand it, being used to produce the Vega+ units) is in a different account. That would account for some payments being transferred into this account and then paid out later, I suppose. It all depends on what this account was intended (and used) for, I suppose and without the complete picture it's all speculation. Were this the only account (and it may well be, but that's doubtful given cash injections via paypal) then yes, this would be absolutely awful - but we don't know that for certain.
Gravy: Lee's full of shit matetop
Sunday 24th September, 2017
A strange video appears from a group claiming they have been watching the Vega+ fiasco and will be exposing more information about Levy, Martin, Mrsic-Flogel and Lee Fogarty.
Lee Fogarty appears to be very upset that the video is hosted on a site that Lee has no ability to have it removed, and he tweets claiming the video shows "witness intimidation".
Looks a lot like witness intimidation... #zxvega— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) 24 September 2017
When pressed for details about the "witness" tweet, Lee claims that Paul Andrews, Darren Melbourne, Nick Cooper (and with Lee's use of "etc" in the tweet, presumably at least one other person) are under investigation and all are aware of this.
It's no secret that Andrews, Melbourne, Cooper, etc are aware they have been under investigation for some time.— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) 24 September 2017
Monday 25th September, 2017
Daniel Newby has confirmed that Suzanne Martin is monitoring social media, as she reported a tweet that Daniel had posted. Daniel was forced to delete the tweet to regain access to his twitter account. Since there is no screenshot of the deleted tweet, here's a very similar tweet to the one Daniel was forced to remove:Lee Fogarty who claims he "only hosts the website" must have seen the original bank statements as he tweets saying that the bank statements released by the Anon y Mouse twitter account are "edited so heavily they aren't even real now".
I never said they were accurate. They've been edited so heavily they aren't even real now. It's not like Andrews wants to prove production..— Lee Fogarty (@FogartyLee) 25 September 2017
This tweet is extremely concerning, as RCL must be passing the original bank statements around their contractors. Even more concerning, neither Creative Spectrum nor Retro Computers Ltd are registered with the Data Protection Public Register. To add to the concern, Jan Saggiori of the "democracy" facebook group also claims to have a list of all the backers details.top
Tuesday 26th September, 2017
The Anon y Mouse twitter account releases the decision of the employment tribunals between Suzanne Martin and Brain Games Plc. A backup of the files including a full text version is also available.
Gareth Corfield of The Register tweets to say that he has contacted David Levy/RCL who has claimed that the rumours about RCL's demise are rumours:
David Levy, MD of Retro Computers Ltd, confirms they're "still very much trading and working on the release of the #ZXVega" despite rumours.— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) September 26, 2017
Pages 1-3 pic.twitter.com/rTGTLMmFzn— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) September 25, 2017
Pages 4-6 pic.twitter.com/Uo7B65AoR2— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) September 25, 2017
Anon y Mouse releases 2 pages of documents showing Suzanne Martin losing in court (and these have been added to the Suzanne Martin does not pay debts page).:top
Wednesday 27th September, 2017
The Anon y Mouse twitter account releases 3 documents showing Suzanne Louise Martin losing cases in court and does not repay the debts. These victims are owed money from almost 10 years ago!
The full scans have been added to a new page Suzanne Martin does not pay debts as a backup for the twitter account.top
Thursday 28th September, 2017
More details of PR consultant Suzanne Martin's past are released on Twitter, this time documents by the Insurance Fraud Bureau investigation.
The documents have been converted to text and added to the Suzanne Martin does not pay debts page.
George Cropper has released a video called THEC64 - CONSOLE NEWS UPDATE, where RCL and the Vega+ are mentioned while George struggles with a terrible cough:top
Friday 29th September, 2017A large number of articles appear on various technology sites discussing the imminent release of the recently renamed TheC64 computer. Retro Computers Ltd are mentioned in several of the articles, such as this one from Metro entitled Commodore 64 Mini console coming out in 2018 with over 60 games. In the article, the Vega+ is described as a "failure", and that Retro Games are "more reliable and above board" than RCL:
The full list of 64 games available on the console is also included in the article (including classics such as Armalyte, California Games and Paradroid), something RCL has failed to provide for the Vega+ all through their beleaguered campaign. RCL have claimed that they can not publish the games list for the Vega+ because trolls and haters will contact the publishers and have the games removed. This does not appear to have been a problem for Retro Games Ltd.
Knowing the litigious nature of RCL and their attempts to "delete the internet", the article has been backed up on archive.is.
George Cropper has also released a full reveal video about TheC64 with several mentions of RCL and the Vega+:top
Sunday 1st October, 2017
Jan Saggiori posts Jamie Ball and George Cropper's personal information into the "democracy" group. Jan posts a link to a Gizmodo article about TheC64 called I'll Take This Miniature Commodore 64 Over A Tiny SNES Any Day, wrapping the following pigeon English text around it:
This is a gross invasion of privacy, as neither Jamie Ball nor George Cropper have anything to do with TheC64. Both gentlemen live in Spain, neither of them work for Retro Games Ltd or have any shares in the company. Several people have reported Jan Saggiori's post to facebook and suggested George contact the police.top
Monday 2nd October, 2017
George Cropper releases a new video called THE VEGA+ IN OCTOBER ? OF COURSE NOT !Jan Saggiori's post containing the addresses for George Cropper and Jamie Ball from Sunday October 1st has been removed from facebook after multiple complaints by facebook members. Facebook stepped in to remove the post, and issued a warning asking to contact them if it happens again and providing a case number.
Shortly after the post was taken down, Jan has re-posted a slightly modified version. Members of the community have been quick to report this post, but so far it remains online.top
Tuesday 3rd October, 2017
Backers on Indiegogo are urging people to report RCL to Action Fraud over false delivery dates and stolen money. The form takes between 5 and 10 minutes to fill out. A selection of crime reference numbers that have been submitted so far:
Jan Saggiori (admin of the "democracy" facebook group) has setup a fake website duplicating many elements from TheC64 campaign, and publishing the address and phone numbers for George Cropper, Jamie Ball and Paul Andrews. We will not publicise the URL of Jan's fake website, but instead redirect any interested parties to the official Bum Fun Gaming website along with the official TheC64 website.top
Wednesday 4th October, 2017
RCL miss their 7th deadline! On Wednesday the 9th of August, RCL released update 61 stating "We aim to begin shipping the Vega+ to backers within the next 8 weeks, and to follow this immediately with our first shipments to retail. And to the RCL trolls, we’re not going anywhere. Peace out". The 8 weeks ran out today.
Today's failure to release the Vega+ surprises very few people, as RCL have not sent out the address confirmation and roll of honour emails, PEGI certification has not been applied for, the games list isn't complete and even the box design isn't finalised.
In the "democracy" facebook group, Jan Saggiori has purged more than 50 members. The current number of members has dropped from 319 to 257 and Jan is now demanding backer numbers when anyone attempts to join the group. Jan Saggiori is not a backer himself yet has bragged about having the complete backers list in what would be a major data breach:
Jan Saggiori has also created a new fake twitter account to expose the details of George Cropper, Jamie Ball and Paul Andrews. The account includes a fake picture with George's head on it.
George Cropper releases a new video called VEGA+ TEAM RESORT TO DOXXING!
The twitter troll account Bob Smith is attempting to "dox" various people in the retro gaming community that have asked for the truth from RCL. Andy Kavanagh, Isofarro and Codetapper have all been targeted in tweets similar to this:
You could be right. We should stay with just posting addresses. Can't find codetappers, just his employers.— Bob Smith (@BobSmit07276327) October 4, 2017
Thursday 5th October, 2017
We have noticed that Andrews UK has submitted their annual accounts, and named RCL and its directors in them as refusing to pay the debts confirmed in writing by David Levy. According to the notes in the submitted accounts, Levy refused to pay the debts whilst at the same time paying himself, and although Andrews UK will attempt to recover them in due course, it has not affected the otherwise healthy position of the company.
Preston Thomas has tweeted that his wife Tamara has stepped down as admin from the "democracy" group after the "doxxing" by the remaining admin Jan Saggiori:
#zxvega— Preston Thomas (@Retro_Speccy) October 5, 2017
Just to let you all know my wife has stepped down as admin from the demo group and she does not agree with whats going on.
Lee Fogarty has claimed that George Cropper (who runs the site Bum Fun Gaming) does not actually live in Spain, and resides in Scotland. George denied this in his video response from yesterday, and Preston has also confirmed Lee is wrong by confirming a batch of games he received from George last year were indeed sent from Spain.
Can I just point out to everyone that the games I had from George came from Spain and not from Scotland as some believe.#zxvega— Preston Thomas (@Retro_Speccy) October 5, 2017
The site MMO Fallout has posted an article called Crowdfunding Fraudsters Update: Retro Computers Ltd Sanctions Doxxing, Slandering Competition. The article's main content relates to "3rd wheel" Jan Saggiori and his slanderous comments.
Many in the community have deduced the fake Bob Smith twitter profile as Lee Fogarty:
The mention of AndrewsUK and Joe Larkin can only mean the sock belongs to a certain Lee Fogarty. It's his pet grudge, blinds him.— isofarro (@isofarro) October 4, 2017
Your comments and nonsensical ramblings are identical to the crap you used to PM me. You're some clown Lie!— Graham Kenny (@grahamken) October 5, 2017
It's like playing hide and seek with a child. They think they're hidden but we all see the curtain shaking and the shoes peeping out.— Graham Kenny (@grahamken) October 5, 2017
Come out from behind the curtain Lee, we all know it's you.— Graham Kenny (@grahamken) October 5, 2017
Twitter have investigated and found the fake twitter account created by Swiss hacker Jan Saggiori is in breach of violations.top
Sunday 8th October, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts on Spectrum 4Ever that there will be highscore competitions during the day at the Spectrum 35 event on Saturday October 28th, and the prizes will be limited edition Vega+ units. This appears to be a real slap in the face to the poor backers that are still waiting for their Vega+ units for the best part of 18 months. Lee's post:
Please note that some of the comments in the post have already been deleted from the thread.
Jonathan Cauldwell posts several messages blaming George Cropper and 4 or 5 other people for "destroying the community".top
Tuesday 10th October, 2017
Lee Fogarty has deleted 3 of his twitter accounts: @FogartyLee, @FogartyLee2 and @WorldOfSpectrum. Various archived snapshots are available:
- @FogartyLee: 22 Mar 2017, 27 Sep 2017, 27 Sep 2017 with replies, 29 Sep 2017 with replies
- @FogartyLee2: 18 Sep 2017
- @WorldOfSpectrum: 14 Jun 2017
Wednesday 11th October, 2017
RCL spokesman/contractor Lee Fogarty has now deleted his facebook account. Despite rumours that Lee is suicidal, two people have spoken with him to confirm this is not the case:
Lloyd: Is Lee Fogarty ok? He seems to have deleted his account?
Guy: Steve Brown called him earlier and he's fine.
Richard Chandler: Lee's ok. People causing him shit and he's having to deal with it. Easier to do it offline.
With Lee deleting his facebook account, he has also removed himself as the admin from the Spectrum 35 facebook group. The Spectrum 35 event is due to take place in a few weeks time, with Lee Fogarty set to hand out up to 17 limited edition Vega+ prizes on offer. (This calculation is based on 4 categories, with teams of up to 4 people, and at least one extra prize for a high score competition on the day).top
Thursday 12th October, 2017
Jan Saggiori has admitted he created the fake profile @DuncanJamesBall on twitter. In a private message, he posts the following when asked about the fake account::top
Friday 13th October, 2017
Ping Pong Studios has an active proposal to be struck off on Companies House. Ping Pong Studios is another in the long list of companies involving David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel that has never submitted accounts, and is set to be dissolved.top
Saturday 14th October, 2017
The last remaining admin of the "democracy" group Jan Saggiori is manning the fort, telling everyone that the Vega+ is mere days away. He appears to be using the word "we" more frequently in his most recent posts. (Jan Saggiori is not a backer, and has never been one).top
Sunday 15th October, 2017
Suzanne Martin has been spotted liking posts on the "democracy" group today.
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PayPal permits pre-sales on a limited basis as long as the seller:
Guarantees shipment within 20 days from the date of purchase.
Clearly identifies the item as a pre-sale.
Provides proof, if needed, that they can successfully deliver the product (supplier information, purchase invoices, shipping information, or delivery confirmation).
If this merchant is violating our acceptable use policy, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as... https://t.co/CWXPWSSTQu— PayPal Support (@AskPayPal) October 14, 2017
Monday 16th October, 2017
RCL miss their 8th deadline! On September 1, RCL released update 63 and extended the deadline in their "Happy Friday" update when they said, "Well, it's the first day of September and we are on track for the Vega+ reaching your game-hungry mittens by mid October." With no update since then and based on 31 days in October, today is mid October and their 8th successive delivery failure.
George releases a video called THE VEGA+ - NO OCTOBER DELIVERY
Lee Fogarty posts the following on the World of Spectrum facebook group:
RCL post update 64 on the Indiegogo campaign, showing a low quality video of 3 random clips of metal being processed in some machine. The YouTube video currently has 23 thumbs up and 123 thumbs down, and people are furious with RCL for posting this "update". The full text of the update:top
Tuesday 17th October, 2017
George Cropper issues a full teardown of Lee Fogarty's admission of guilt (from yesterday) in his latest video called THE VEGA+ - THE MOUTHPIECE ABANDONS SHIP! This is a 48 minute extravaganza so grab a cuppa and tune in!
RCL post update 65 on the Indiegogo campaign, indicating their intention to send out the roll of honour emails in the coming week. This is the 4th update that RCL have mentioned the impending roll of honour email. Another interesting thing to note is that RCL say the chosen name will be "on our new website", implying the current Lee Fogarty hosted site may be changing again.
RCL appear to have ripped the Spectrum Heroes image from the RedBubble website and have illegally used the Pickford brothers Zub character in their Indiegogo update (bottom row, 4th character from the left). John Pickford has demanded the removal of the character, but Zub remains on the Indiegogo campaign update:
At the time of writing, there are 17 comments on the page, all negative towards Lee's statement (which has been completely picked apart by George Cropper) and all along the lines of "Lee is a liar", "What about all the abuse Lee sent himself", "Why is there no apology from Lee" etc.top
Wednesday 18th October, 2017
Nick Cooper's court case against RCL is scheduled for this afternoon.
RCL appear to have sent out the roll of honour email. The cut-off date for the name is Friday 27th of October, so the "mid October delivery" has been well and truly missed. Several people on facebook groups have posted comments wondering how (and why) they received the email at a different address than the one they registered with on Indiegogo.
RCL post update 66, another puff-piece claiming that they are receiving really supportive emails. Perhaps RCL should have a good look at the 200-odd refund requests in their inbox and action those first?
It appears RCL have used multiple different accounts to send out the emails, as there is a 2,000 limit on the free version of MailChimp. Many people receive the email from a gmail address, others from suzannemartin.com.
The Vega+ has been mentioned as a dead project on episode 2 of the ugvm podcast. The podcast mentions that even long-term supporters such as Lee Fogarty have now walked away. Listen to just the Vega+ section from the podcast.top
Friday 20th October, 2017
After checking with lawyers, Paul Andrews releases a copy of the RCL shareholders agreement to clear up misinformation being spread by David Levy.top
Sunday 22nd October, 2017
RCL post update 67, claiming that 80% of people have signed up for the roll of honour:
However, the Indiegogo comments section includes a large number of people claiming they have not received the email, it's not in their spam folders and they have had no response to communications sent to RCL.top
Friday 27th October, 2017
Codetapper posts on the public discussion facebook group that Suzanne Martin has contacted his employer after making up a series of false allegations against him. Suzanne Martin failed to provide evidence for any of her claims, and Codetapper posts that because of her nonsense, he will be refraining from public comment.top
Saturday 28th October, 2017
Spectrum 35 event takes place at the Centre for Computing History. Back in May 2017, Lee Fogarty had announced a new game competition with limited edition Vega+ units as prizes to the winners of each of the 4 categories. He also stated that winners would be announced at the event, and the winners would be able to collect their prizes.Lee was allocated a half hour slot at 7:30pm to perform the prize-giving duty. However Lee arrived late to the event, hid as much as possible and was advised to leave the event after his involvement in the Vega+ fiasco. No confirmation of winners was made at the event, and no prizes were handed out.
In the Spectrum for Everyone facebook group, Thomas Eberle posts "Lee handing over the first prize of competition (after) the Spectrum35 to Urs König" showing a photo of Lee in a pub:
The post causes an uproar in the group, as backers were supposed to be first to get their Vega+ units before anybody else. The unit in the photo does not match the "limited edition World of Spectrum branded Vega+" prize stated in the original competition, nor the "white unit with World of Spectrum logo in a box" as Lee said on 16 October 2017:
A member of the group asked if Thomas Eberle had permission to post the photo, and asking if the two people in the photo knew about it. According to Thomas, both Lee and Urs had given permission:On the World of Spectrum forums, members ask about the winners of the game competition. (12 hours later, there is still no reply by the admins):top
Sunday 29th October, 2017
It has been revealed that the photo of Lee Fogarty handing over a Vega+ to a "competition winner" yesterday was staged. Thomas Eberle (who posted the photo) did not get permission from Urs (sitting on the right hand side in the photo), and the photo was taken in the "Baron of Beef" pub. The Vega+ was not Lee Fogarty's, and Urs only had the Vega+ briefly:top
Monday 30th October, 2017
RCL release update 68, with yet another delay for the Roll of Honour confirmation. The update also mentions updating delivery details for the first time:top
Friday 3rd November, 2017
Backers that contacted the Solicitor's Regulation Authority with regards to RCL have begun to receive replies similar to the following:
The extended registration deadline for the Roll of Honour confirmation passes without any comment or acknowledgement from RCL.top
Tuesday 7th November, 2017
Nick Cooper has been declared bankrupt, meaning RCL have spent a fortune on lawyers with no chance of getting any money from him.
Facebook group members have noticed the Real Crooks blog was updated with 2 new articles. We have not been able to verify any of the information contained in the articles Ronnie Biggs or The Sunday Club.top
Wednesday 8th November, 2017
It seems the honour roll has not been closed after all, as RCL release update 69 containing more delays and a strange request regarding new colours:
This "update" is remarkably similar to the update from October 25, 2016:
Lee Fogarty posts on facebook indicating that testers found almost 50 problems with the Vega+, and only one was mentioned in the update. (Please note that this post has now been deleted from the RCL facebook group):
George Cropper releases a video called THE VEGA+ - MORE SKULDUGGERY!
It has been revealed that the game creation competition (featured on the World of Spectrum forums) to promote the Vega+ did not receive a single entry.top
Thursday 9th November, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts on the World of Spectrum facebook group, including a file attachment Vega+ - Task Report - 08 November 2017.pdf:
A follow-up reply from Lee Fogarty: "You should see the email conversation following my chat with the author of ULA+. I passed on the reason for the issue, and the solution to fix it to PP and the reply back was that I was wrong. And it was an extremely simple fix.". (Note: PP = Private Planet, Janko Mrsic-Flogel's company)
The official RCL website (on IP address 126.96.36.199) shows "An error was encountered [ 503 ] Account suspended" message (archived copy):
One hour later, the message changes to "An error was encountered [ 503 ] Account suspended due to non-payment" (archived copy):
A short time later, the RCL website changes to a plain error page containing the sentence "Under Construction New Website Coming Soon".
Suzanne Martin comes out of hiding for 2 comments on the democracy group:
Jan Saggiori (the remaining admin on the "democracy" facebook group) claims to have insider knowledge that Suzanne Martin is receiving 10,000 spam emails per day from heaters:top
Friday 10th November, 2017
The Register publishes an article by Gareth Corfield called ZX Spectrum Vega firm's lawyers targeted by empty-handed backers. Highlights from the article:
- Disgruntled customers of ZX Spectrum Vega+ firm Retro Computers Ltd have complained to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA), alleging ringfenced company funds are being diverted into its legal battles.
- The gist of the grievances is an allegation that some of the £513,000 given to RCL by 5,000 members of the public to put the ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld console into production was instead spent on lawyers’ fees during a battles over control of the company that produced the devices.
- London solicitors’ firm Michelmore LLP, the firm which has acted for RCL over the last year, ignored an invitation to comment on the SRA complaints against it.
- RCL MD David Levy told The Register: “We are not interested in commenting to The Register due to its repeatedly biased reporting.”
15 minutes after The Register article is published, RCL releases an update on Indiegogo showing a 90 second video of random pieces of equipment being processed in a machine. The end of the video switches to several photos of what appears to be casings of the Vega+, possibly from the small prototype production run manufactured a year ago. The video currently has 6 likes and 36 dislikes, and comments require moderation to prevent bad publicity.
In an unfortunate turn of events for RCL, YouTube recommends George Cropper's most recent video THE VEGA+ - MORE SKULDUGGERY as the the next to watch if you view the entire RCL video:
RCL have thrown Lee Fogarty under the bus with a facebook post saying that Lee has at no stage been a part of the Vega+ production process, that his name was erroneously included on RCL statements and that he is no longer a contractor:
RCL are deleting comments from the thread as quickly as possible, hence the mismatch between facebook reporting 17 comments made yet only 2 are visible. This post seems to be a complete turnaround from earlier in the year when Suzanne Martin had nothing but praise regarding Lee Fogarty:top
Saturday 11th November, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts the following reply on facebook regarding RCL's statement:
Lee Fogarty issues a statement on the World of Spectrum facebook group, claiming that Suzanne Martin has been ringing Lee at least 5 times per day, 7 days a week for the past 18 months, often in the early hours of the morning whilst hysterical. According to Lee's statement, Suzanne Martin begins asking, then demanding, then threatening:
David Levy emails Lee Fogarty after his post today:
David Levy's son Alastair Levy has deleted his twitter account after being asked about his father David Levy by various tweeters. Alastair Levy received £1562 from the "ring-fenced funds" for taking photos at the launch party. Despite RCL claiming the photos were taken at the launch party, camera metadata shows almost all the photos were taken a week after the event.
A backer asks "Any chance that we might actually see the console this side of Xmas? I bought it last year as an Xmas prezzie to myself which never happened!" Suzanne Martin answers with weasel words "Yes, definitely". A follow up message asks Suzanne to clarify whether her statement means the console will definitely be out or if there's definitely a chance it will be out. Suzanne ignores further questions.
Darren Melbourne posts the following message regarding RCL's Tweaking the Design video:top
Sunday 12th November, 2017
Stuart Ashen records a fantastic audio version of Lee Fogarty's statement regarding Suzanne Martin. (MP3 backup available).
Jonathan Cauldwell begins to distance himself from RCL:
Paul Dunn (contractor for the Every Child Can Code website) posts that RCL ignored him and he is still owed money:top
Monday 13th November, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts on facebook looking for work:top
Wednesday 15th November, 2017
For the second month in a row, the Vega+ has been mentioned as a dead project on episode 3 of the ugvm podcast. The podcast mentions that even long-term supporters such as Lee Fogarty have now walked away. Listen to just the Vega+ section from the podcast.
Lee Fogarty posts an announcement that all World of Spectrum administrators are being stood down (archived backup):top
Thursday 16th November, 2017
Lee Fogarty claims that the @WorldOfSpectrum twitter account is fake:
In what appears to be an incredible coincidence, the @WorldOfSpectrum twitter account went down the exact same time as the @LeeFogarty twitter account, around the time Lee claimed that Suzanne Martin asked, then demanded, then threatened him to delete all his social media accounts:
The @WorldOfSpectrum twitter account was setup in June 2008 and was used to abuse Paul Andrews, Nick Cooper, AndrewsUK and various others. As of today, all except the latest tweet (about the game Xelda) has been deleted from the account.top
Friday 17th November, 2017
Rival project TheC64 receives a PEGI rating of 7. This is notable due to the fact that the Vega+ was started a long time before TheC64, the Vega+ is nowhere near ready for release, and that Lee Fogarty stated the following in a private message to a backer in March 2017:
Monday 20th November, 2017
A member of the public discussion facebook group posts regarding lawyers Michelmores being on the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel. Due to the conflict of interest of Michelmores themselves being named, they will not be able to partake in the investigation into Teacher Stern or themselves. According to the poster, this may delay the SRA ruling a little, as it was due to be decided within a week and the first known complaints were lodged at the end of October 2017.top
Wednesday 22nd November, 2017
Long time RCL supporter Derek Chandler posts on the "democracy" group asking if anybody has information about the final delivery date.
An hour later, admins on the group delete negative posts from the thread:
Dave Wayne posts on facebook claiming that he knows where the plastic moulds for the Vega+ are being made:
Friday 24th November, 2017
After spending thousands of pounds of backers money on David Levy's pet project Every Child Can Code, the website is reduced to a holding page:
Suzanne Martin has sent complaints to Twitter that resulted in Daniel Newby and Nick Cooper's twitter accounts both being locked for 12 hours.
Saturday 25th November, 2017
Funstock continue to sell the original Vega console (despite Retro Computers Ltd not owing the IP), but have reduced the price to £49.99. Discussion on facebook suggests the reduction is a cash grab for Xmas since the RCL website no longer exists, and that sales of the console were sluggish. On September 21, the Vega console was reduced to £66.66 by Funstock, undercutting the RCL website.
The Spectrum Show episode 67 features a review of Jonathan Cauldwell's game Egghead Goes to Town. Backlash has been caused by an apparent deliberate middle finger to the 4772 backers by creating a room featuring the Vega+ Production Line at 22:54:
Caldwell doubles down on ruining his reputation.— Sean Robertson (@SeanR1974) November 25, 2017
Good job! pic.twitter.com/LY5SW3QCVQ
In response, someone creates a version of the production line featuring moving conveyor belts but no Vega+ consoles:
Thursday 30th November, 2017
A member of the public discussion facebook group notices that RCL's confirmation statement is overdue on Companies House. If a company doesn't have any changes to tell Companies House about, it only takes 30 seconds to file online and costs £13. It is a criminal offence by the directors to not file the statement.
The Retro Computers Limited website is back online - sort of. The website has not been configured correctly, so results in an animated 404 error page when you hit the front page. A number of links do appear to be working, and RCL appear to be once again taking money for sales of the Vega and Vega+.top
Friday 1st December, 2017
The Solicitors Regulation Authority replies to various backers regarding the lawfirms Teacher Stern LLP and Michelmores LLP. The reply basically says that after reviewing the case, they have decided further action must be taken and they also said they have their top men working on it.top
Monday 4th December, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts in the World of Spectrum facebook group to say he has reported RCL to Action Fraud:
Attempting to view the Retro Computers Limited website results in the following message appearing:
An Error Was Encountered [ 503 ]
Please be patient whilst we desperately try to hack the server software that has been disabled due to non-payment. We realise this is illegal to do so and appreciate it not being posted on twitter.top
Tuesday 5th December, 2017
After Lee Fogarty's "hacking" of his previous employer's website, the RCL site now consists of a single background image. The image can not be seen properly on the majority of screens because the author clearly does not understand HTML. The entire code for the page is as follows:
<html> <body background="bgimage.jpg"> </body> </html>
The image (2048x1536 in size) should have been displayed like this:top
Wednesday 6th December, 2017
Anon y Mouse tweets a scanned document that appears to show Suzanne Martin purchasing social media engagements from Devumi - a social media marketing company. The scan shows payments of $97 per month for the 8 months from September 2016 (proposed original Vega+ release month) until April 2017. A total of $776 appears to have been spent in this eight month period and was allocated to the sinclairzxvega twitter account to create fake audience engagements. The plan indicates payment is for 1000 daily engagements.
#ZXVega+ Leak! Here's RCL paying for Twitter likes and other such social media black magic... ***with backers' money, of course***. Because it's more important to be "liked" than it is to spend money on manufacturing... pic.twitter.com/LlLmV8bdt8— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) December 6, 2017
Thursday 7th December, 2017
Anon y Mouse releases a document from late 2016 showing that RCL ordered 37 but took delivery of only 5 prototype Vega+ units. RCL had previously promised that all backers would have their units by Xmas 2016.
Remember when RCL said the #ZXVega+ would be under the Xmas tree LAST year? Shame they only managed 5 instead of 5000. As far as we know, the other 37 units are on back order still... Thanks moley moley mole, keep the documents coming. pic.twitter.com/afukadyxH2— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) December 7, 2017
Friday 8th December, 2017
Lee Fogarty posts on the World of Spectrum facebook group claiming that Suzanne Martin has reported him to cyber crime:
Most of the comments in the public discussion facebook group are of the opinion that Lee has made up the majority of the story:
- Cyber crime was a TV term to describe a department, the official one for the UK is the NCCU.
- Lee would have surely been asked to provide his ICO registration to prove the handling of critical user data was securely stored since Lee appears to be holding financial data well beyond their original date of purchase.
- Because of the nature of the crime taken they will have advised Lee that this would have been looked into by EMSOU (East Midlands Organised Crime Unit), especially given the evidence Lee had provided to them of people's financial and personal details, which would be forwarded to SEROCU (South East counterpart).
- If Lee had really received a call from the 'cyber cops' due to RCL complaining, due to the paperwork involved they are not going to care about online bullying or creating more aliases as this won't impact the freezing of assets which is the NCCU's primary goal to stop crime.
- Another poster states: I know people who've reported actual cyber crimes - genuinely serious and dangerous cases of stalking - and waited months for any movement. The idea that "Cyber Crime" would be this quick off the mark for what is essentially a minor spat between two tiny businesses is laughable.
Another twitter account has been locked due to "posting or sharing privately produced/distributed intimate media of someone without their express consent". Suzanne Martin is not the chief censor for the internet, so the offending material has been added to the media takedowns page.top
Saturday 9th December, 2017
A member of the World of Spectrum facebook group posts asking Lee why he went along with Suzanne Martin's dodgy shenanigans instead of distancing himself from RCL when he knew what was happening. His lack of ethics were also questioned. Lee posts:
Preston Thomas (author of the Vega+ News Mic Drop in March 2017) has officially quit the ZX Spectrum scene after having being doxxed (having his address released):
#zxvega Well I hope you are happy now. I am gone from the ZX Spectrum scene after being doxed. For those that were talking to me decent I can only take my hat off and thank you. As for the rest I just hope you get what you are trying to find. Good luck on your future endeavours.— Preston Thomas (@Morcar1975) December 9, 2017
Sunday 10th December, 2017
Lee Fogarty adds a donate page to the World of Spectrum website. In 2016, Lee stated that he was quitting the World of Spectrum but that the hosting costs were not a problem for him. Since the funding from RCL has been turned off, it appears that funding has become a problem after all.
A member of the public discussion facebook group notices that the prices Lee Fogarty is asking for his server hardware requirements has been marked up approximately 250% compared to the prices shown on the Fasthosts dedicated servers page.top
Tuesday 12th December, 2017
The Oliver Twins have tweeted in support of donating money to Lee Fogarty's World of Spectrum site. A large number of replies have been posted, almost all against the idea, and many include warnings to read Lee Fogarty's history before even considering donating money to him.
World of Spectrum is improving it's service of preserving & making freely available everything about the ZX Spectrum.— The Oliver Twins (@TheOliverTwins) December 12, 2017
If you were a fan of the Spectrum & would like to help preserve this little bit of history, please show your appreciation by donating:https://t.co/9a7oqr513N pic.twitter.com/iTvv4KVfOp
Wednesday 13th December, 2017
Gareth Corfield publishes an article discussing the sacking of Lee Fogarty from RCL called Former ZX Spectrum reboot project man departs. Highlights from the article:
- Fogarty alleged on Facebook that police had become involved as a result of RCL MD Suzanne Martin calling them in. It appears that when Fogarty departed the company he disabled its website, allegedly over unpaid hosting fees or similar, which prompted Martin to ring the plod. Fogarty then alleged on Facebook that Martin was behind certain pseudonymous Twitter and Indiegogo accounts which had been "trolling" RCL's backers.
- Suzanne Martin attributed the following response to Dr David Levy: "Firstly Lee Fogarty was never a spokesperson for Retro Computers Limited and he has made a number of misleading damaging and false statements about which he was warned on several occasions. This is is (sic) just one of the reasons we ceased to have him work for us. Furthermore, shortly before this decision was made Mr Fogarty admitted to both doxxing, trolling and that a number of accounts were set up on his company, Creative Spectrums server. Given our zero tolerance policy on on (sic) such matters we dispensed with him.”
- Suzanne Martin added: “Mr Fogarty appears to claim to have taken the blame for trolling when in fact this matter was thrown out by the court and therefore no blame was apportioned. Finally, unlike some other crowdfunded projects such as the The C64 and it's [sic] associated products we still plan to deliver the specified Vega+ to our backers in the very near future.”
- Fogarty denied "trolling", publishing private or identifying information about individuals (doxxing), and setting up fake accounts.
- RCL has still insisted it is sitting on more than half a million pounds of other people’s money, despite the numerous and drawn-out High Court cases which would have run up legal fees of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of pounds. RCL took that money from the public on the clear understanding it would manufacture and deliver a product it had already designed.
TheC64 (mentioned by Suzanne Martin) is a retro-themed gaming product that is already in production and being delivered in early 2018 by former RCL director Paul Andrews. TheC64 receives regular updates, unlike the Vega+.
Lee Fogarty has setup a Patreon campaign to accept funding to create the World of Spectrum replacement site. So far the campaign appears to be as successful as Lee Fogarty's other ventures, with 0 backers donating any money.top
Saturday 16th December, 2017
A change.org petition is setup with the title We want to see Suzanne Martin, David Levy and Flogul (RCL Ltd) prosecuted for FRAUD/THEFT. It is widely known that Suzanne Martin is a big supporter of change.org petitions as evidenced by her public profile facebook page, so hopefully she will add her name to the growing list.top
Tuesday 19th December, 2017
The Vega+ is once again mentioned as a dead project on episode 5 of the ugvm podcast. The podcast mentions that the project has gotten worse, and compares the communication of the Spectrum Next Kickstarter with the utter lack of communication shown by RCL with the Vega+ campaign. Listen to just the Vega+ section from the podcast.top
Wednesday 20th December, 2017
RCL director David Levy is quoted in article on The Daily Mail called Annual sex robot convention is axed from London's Goldsmiths university over fears it would provoke a terror attack by Muslim extremists. Highlights from the article:
- The Third International Congress in Love and Sex with Robots was due to be held at Goldsmiths university in London today but has been moved to secret location
- Extra security officers have been drafted in to patrol new venue in north London
- Adrian David Cheok co-founder of conference said Malaysian cops alerted them
- Event was due to hear a pitch from David Levy claiming humans and robots will soon make babies
Friday 22nd December, 2017
A member of the public discussion facebook group notices that the original ZX Vega is available for sale on the Argos website, and by staying on the page for a little while, the site reports how many have been ordered in the past 48 hours. Assuming the figures on the site are real and not artificially inflated, Argos have sold £990 worth of units in the past two days. A suggestion is posted that a few complaints should be made to inform Argos they are selling a product with absolutely no support and that RCL do not even have a website (as one of the Argos staff suggested a customer to visit in the Q&A section).top
Saturday 23rd December, 2017
A new article appears on the Real Crooks blog called Suzanne Louise Martin – In Sickness and in Wealth (archived backup available). The webpage contains a large number of allegations, including that Suzanne Martin claims she is suicidal in official bailiff and court documents when she loses in court, that Suzanne is claiming social security benefits for living alone while living with her boyfriend (who may be using an alias himself) in Ramsgate, and that Suzanne wears disguises whilst walking her dog. The post also includes a phone number to ring anonymously for her victims: National Benefit Fraud Hotline - 0800 854 440 (call between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday).top
Sunday 31st December, 2017
Jonathan Cauldwell tweets that he only managed to complete two ZX Spectrum titles in 2017. On August 12, Jonathan Cauldwell promised that he would write all 1000 games for the Vega+ if necessary, after earlier promising (on May 7, 2017) to quit the Spectrum scene forever if the Vega+ console never comes out.
Somehow I managed to find the time to write two games in 2017, Jubbles and Egghead 6. 2018 marks ten years since I started work on Arcade Game Designer and it's still taking up most of my development time— Jonathan Cauldwell (@ZXSpectrumDev) 1 January 2018
Friday 5th January, 2018
A backer notices that the accounts for Retro Computers Ltd have been extended by a month. As of yesterday, the accounts showed they were due on 30 December 2017 (left side of the image, overdue by 6 days) and now they show they are due on 31 January 2018 (right side of the image)top
Saturday 6th January, 2018
An article and video by Chris Foxx appears on the BBC website entitled CES 2018: Psion PDA gets Android makeover. In the video, Janko Mrsic-Flogel is asked about "a different crowd-funded retro computer" (the Vega+) and lies about when he joined the project.
The Retro Computers Ltd entry on Companies House shows Janko Mrsic-Flogel became a director on April 19th, 2016 and this was announced even earlier on the Indiegogo campaign update on April 15th, 2016. This is approximately 3 weeks after the Indiegogo campaign funding was successful, and less than 1 week after the first large payment of £141,769.92 was received on April 13th, 2016, and a month prior to the first Paypal lump sum payment of £100,000 on May 18th 2016.
Lee Fogarty has previously posted several comments about the BBC's biased reporting, in particular about Leo Kelion (technology desk editor). Lee Fogarty posted on the Indiegogo comments section on March 11th 2017 that Leo Kelion has been reported to the police along with his colleague Holly Brockwell:
Lee Fogarty also posted on World of Spectrum on March 11th 2017 claiming that Leo Kelion of the BBC publishes articles for ex-director Paul Andrews:top
Sunday 7th January, 2018
Multiple people report receiving messages from the Solicitor's Regulation Authority regarding the investigation into lawfirms Teacher Stern and Michelmores. The letters include the name of the Regulatory supervisor investigating the case and show that the case is being treated very seriously.top
Monday 8th January, 2018
David Levy has failed to update backers of the Vega+ for 3 months, but has found time to discuss male sex robots with the Daily Mail in an article called Hard wired: Now you'll be able to buy MALE sex robots too as artificial 'companions' with bionic penises are set to go on sale this year.top
Saturday 13th January, 2018
Suzanne Martin has no time to update backers or process refunds, but has found time to attempt to remove various articles and photos of her and David Levy from the internet. The image on the left shows Google image search results from December 2017, and the right image shows search results as of today UK time.top
Monday 15th January, 2018
Paul Andrews posts an image from prior to the original Vega being released that shows the company was setup to produce only four products - the original Vega, a handheld version of the Vega (that became the vapourware Vega+) and two future projects being a 3D games console and a low cost computer. The document also shows that the original plan was for nobody to take salaries for the first year.top
Saturday 20th January, 2018
While David Levy has no time for updating backers regarding the Vega+, he has found time to appear in an article called Paedophiles and rapists 'set for SEX ROBOT therapy in jail – and TAXPAYERS will pay'. Highlights from the article:
- Dr David Levy, author of Love and Sex With Robots told the Daily Star, ‘I can see the government getting involved in the case of criminals. ‘You go to jail and while you’re in jail, you have a sex robot in your cell. And when you come out, you have a sex robot for so many months, like being on probation.’
- Levy said, ‘Maybe it’s something for the psychiatry profession to consider. So people who have sexual perversions, or whatever; if they want to be cured, maybe they’d go to a psychiatrist and they’d say, ‘I think you’d benefit from having one of these robots for six months’.
Monday 22nd January, 2018
Jan Saggiori posts messages to Paul Andrews demanding that two Twitter accounts be removed. Paul Andrews denies setting them up or knowing anything about who is using them.
Court case details for backer Rob (who was refused a refund) against David Levy/RCL are posted with the small claims court trial set for 10am on Wednesday January 31st:
For everyone who is interest in coming along to Backer vs RCL and offering moral support to Rob, the #ZXVega+ hearing is booked at Luton County Court for 31st January at 10:00 am. Some have suggested going for a coffee - or other liquid refreshment - afterwards.— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) January 22, 2018
Tuesday 23rd January, 2018
Jan Saggiori posts a message in his "democracy" group that appears to use a non-standard font, but whoever created the screenshot has hidden a secret message inside it. Taking the first letter of each sentence spells out "JAN IS A C*NT", and Jan Saggiori deletes the post and bans several people that ask him about it.top
Thursday 25th January, 2018
A tweet is posted reporting that David Levy has tried (and failed) to get the small claims court case against him moved from Luton to London:
So it still looks like the #ZXVega+ hearing is going ahead on the 31st at 10am. Levy tried to get it moved to London, claiming Luton was “too far” for him to travel... so unless he’s perjuring himself on court documents again, it looks like he really is coming.— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) January 25, 2018
Friday 26th January, 2018
Several backers have reported being contacted by the Solicitor's Regulation Authority and told they will be updated by the end of the month!top
Monday 29th January, 2018
For the first time in over three months, Suzanne Martin posts a reply to a backer on Indiegogo. Several people notice that the timing is just before the small claims court case that David Levy is due to face on Wednesday the 31st January at 10am. The reply from Suzanne is as off-topic as ever and a number of people have joined in asking why their refund requests have not been fulfilled. (Please note that several posts have been removed from this screenshot to consolidate the posts asking about refund requests. They have not been deleted on the Indiegogo site).top
Tuesday 30th January, 2018
At 3pm David Levy attempts to prevent Rob Morton going ahead with the small claims case by offering to pay £155 to make tomorrow's case disappear. Rob refuses the offer, as a large number of costs have already been incurred by himself and his witnesses. RCL ask for Rob's account details and transfer £155 that day (despite the offer being refused). In David Levy's court submission, he states:
- David Levy has confirmed a relationship between Jan Saggiori and RCL. (Jan Saggiori has admitted doxxing people, setting up a fake Retro Games Ltd website, spreading misinformation and lies about TheC64 and banning all negative talk about the Vega+).
- David Levy has perjured himself by claiming that Jan Saggiori is an investigative journalist (he is not).
Wednesday 31st January, 2018
A new article appears on the Real Crooks blog called David Levy Companies - Past and Present - Unlucky in Love and Business (backup available). The article outlines the huge number of failed companies that David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel have been responsible for, along with their accountant and shows a history of failing to file accounts on time.
Retro Computers Ltd director Mr David Levy fails to appear in the small claims court in Luton. Levy was due to appear at 10am, but claims he won't attend due to a fear that trolls want to chop his cock off. Levy goes on to lose the court case as the judge announces that backers were receiving an order, not pledging for an idea or perk.
Gaz Corfield posts an article in The Register called Crowdfunding small print binned as Retro Computers Ltd loses court refund action. Highlights of the article:
- A crowdfunding backer of Retro Computers Ltd has won his court claim for a refund against the company for failing to deliver its promised product.
- The court also ruled that Indiegogo’s terms and conditions were not relevant to the claim.
- Judgement was entered against RCL for the sum of £584, made up of the £85 initial discount price for Morton's Vega Plus, the £5 postage for the device, and travel costs plus loss of earnings for Morton himself and his two witnesses, Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne.
- Morton, who had backed RCL's previous Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega product, received an email from RCL in early 2016 urging him to sign up for a Vega Plus. He told the court that he had asked for a refund 45 times without success.
- Dr David Levy, chairman of RCL, failed to attend the hearing. In an amended witness statement served the night before the hearing he claimed that he was too scared to attend because he was worried about "having his cock chopped off" by "trolls" whom he said had been urged to meet "outside the court in Luton tomorrow". No such gathering took place. Levy also sent Morton £155 the night before the hearing in a last-ditch effort to stave off proceedings, something the judge described as "not appropriate".
- The court also considered and discarded Indiegogo's terms and conditions. RCL's defence centred on pointing to the small print and asserting that because the Vega Plus was presented as a perk that backers voluntarily contributed towards the delivery of, and not a finished product that was bought from an online shop, that they should not be liable for refunds. District Judge Clarke commented: "It says: 'campaign owners are legally bound to perform on any promise to contributors, including delivering any perks'. The defendant says this was a perk. As far as the paperwork in relation to this transaction is concerned, the claimant produced documentation that was sent to him before he entered into the agreement to provide funding... It talks about the benefits of supporting, pledging £100 to receive a Vega Plus from the first production run. On that basis it would imply if you promised to pay £100 you would get a Vega Plus from the production run."
- The judge ruled that an implied contract of sale had been formed between Morton and RCL, and that RCL had breached the contract by failing to deliver the Vega Plus that Morton paid for.
A backer notices the domain retrocomputersltd.com now points to Gareth Corfield's latest article.top
Thursday 1st February, 2018
A new section for backers wishing to begin small claims court hearings against Mr David Levy and Retro Computers Ltd has been added.
#ZXVega+ IMPORTANT UPDATE. For anyone who wants to submit a small claim against RCL, Here’s the link to step one of the guide. Step two (currently being written) will likely need some info privately emailed so Levy can’t see it. But for now... https://t.co/ng0I9kzcy1— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) February 1, 2018
Gaz Corfield follows up yesterday's story with an article called Crowdfunding refund judgment doesn't quite open the floodgates. Highlights of the article:
- Yesterday's county court ruling that Indiegogo's Ts&Cs weren’t wholly relevant to the question "does a crowdfunding-backed company form a contract of sale with its customers?" won't quite open the floodgates for people who feel they've been ripped off.
- The judge ruled that RCL had formed an implied contract of sale between itself and Morton. This, said the judge, was because RCL had directly emailed Morton urging him to give them money for one of the first 100 consoles – and the payment he made was recorded by Indiegogo's systems as an "order". Not a "pledge" or an "investment", but an "order".
- Had RCL not directly emailed its customer urging him to buy one of its products through Indiegogo, and had Indiegogo's systems not recorded his payment as an order, the outcome could have been very different.
- The judge also dismissed RCL's argument that the product was still in production and had merely been delayed for two years, saying the company was "under an obligation to provide within a reasonable period", adding: "The claimant appears to have contacted the company and requested a refund because there was no progress in production of this handheld computer. It is clear to me on the information I have received that he was asking for his money back if it wasn't being produced. The defence was very much on the basis of 'it will be delivered'. We are now some months down the line and it still hasn't been delivered and in those circumstances I am satisfied he gave notice that time was effectively running out."
- the judge imposed a duty of reasonableness on RCL, saying that it had then breached that duty by stringing Morton along for so long.
- If you make an "order" then you have quite probably formed a contract of sale, if you're in England and the firm making your gadget is also subject to English law.
Laura Kate Dale posts an article on Kotaku called ZX Spectrum Vega Plus Backer Wins Refund in Court.
The accounts for Retro Computers Ltd are now overdue, as they were supposed to be filed by January 31, 2018.
Gary Hunter asks Retro Computers Ltd for a refund following RCL's loss in court yesterday. Gary provides evidence that RCL are still receiving and reading the Facebook messenger messages, but refusing to reply. Gary's refund request was received and read 1 minute after he sent it:
Friday 2nd February, 2018
Retro Computers Ltd and Indiegogo freeze the Indiegogo accounts of at least 5 backers. All 5 receive an identical message from Indiegogo. Graham Kenny, Richard Ratcliffe, Daniel Newby, Wesley Moore and Kieran Hawken have all been frozen:
Several people notice posts on the Indiegogo campaign that mentioned RCL's court case loss and links to the small claims article have been deleted. (If anyone has a screenshot of the deleted posts by Richard please post them on Facebook or Twitter and one of the team will upload them here).
Gareth Corfield tweets offering assistance for those wishing to take RCL to court:
If any other #ZXVega backers are planning court action to recover money from Retro Computers Ltd, please contact me in confidence. email@example.com— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) February 2, 2018
George Cropper releases his first Vega+ video of 2018 (his 38th commentary about the Vega+ fiasco).
Despite Paul Dunn being owed several thousand pounds by RCL, "Dunny" goes into bat for RCL suggesting that Levy's email account may have been hacked and the comment about having his cock chopped off "was not his mode of speech".top
Saturday 3rd February, 2018
The Hackaday website posts an article called Crowdfunding is now a contract between company and backer featuring David Levy's loss in small claims court.top
Monday 5th February, 2018
RCL release 3 updates after losing the small claims court case less than a week ago. The updates show RCL are now aiming for an April 2018 release to backers, blame the former directors and trolls for all RCL's problems, admit they have banned various backers from Indiegogo (and have threatened to delete comments and backers if negative comments are posted about their update, claiming a breach of Indiegogo's terms), and paint a rosy picture of the fiasco. A close up picture showing the various iterations of the Vega shows extremely poor quality buttons on the units.
The updates are called "We're Still Here". Update 71 blames trolls and backers spamming the Indiegogo comments with refund requests. Update 72 blames the former directors and shows various photos of the design being downgraded from Rick Dickinson's original concept to what appears to be a cheap plastic Chinese knock-off. Update 73 consists of questions and answers that RCL asked themselves, followed by a "polite reminder" that abuse or rudeness will result in comment deletions and being banned from Indiegogo:
George Cropper releases a full 25 minute tear-down of the updates, exposing various lies from RCL in a video called THE VEGA+ AND THEIR LIE FILLED Q&A:
RCL's updates fail to answer the following:
- What is happening to the 235+ people that have asked for a refund?
- Why is there no mention of the small claims court case that David Levy failed to show up to and went on to lose?
- Why is there no mention of the outstanding court case loss of £52k owed to Paul Andrews?
- Why is there no mention of the Solicitor's Regulation Authority hearing?
- Why has RCL failed yet again to submit their accounts to Companies House on time?
- Why have RCL hired Jan Saggiori as a supposed "investigative journalist"?
After 3 months without a reply, RCL post multiple replies to backers on the Indiegogo campaign. In response to a question about making a film, RCL announce that the book perk that was promised is "possible":
Approximately 10 of the latest requests for a refund all have a standard reply posted where RCL promise to "look into it":
Among the huge number of "please DM us rather than making us look bad in the Indiegogo comments" replies, RCL somehow miss a question from Darren Randle asking where the refunds are. The messages on either side of Darren's posts are answered, but not his question:
RCL reply regarding their silence, claiming they "couldn't be silenced any longer":
RCL post to say the roll of honour is still open, meaning the firmware hasn't yet been completed.
The reason for RCL's sudden appearance is revealed when Leo Kelion of the BBC releases an article called New Spectrum Vega+ promises follow funds threat. Highlights of the article:
- The team behind a controversial video games console has given a fresh delivery date pledge after the crowdfunding platform it used threatened to recoup backers' funds. The Sinclair ZX Vega+ handheld was originally scheduled for delivery in September 2016, but has been repeatedly delayed.
- Retro Computers Ltd says it now intends to "start shipping units" in April. Indiegogo told the BBC on Friday that it had set an end-of-May deadline.
- The US company intends to appoint a third-party collections agency to obtain and return the £85 to £100 paid by consumers to get one of the machines, if that target is missed.
- Indiegogo's trust-and-safety team had also required RCL to post a "significant update" this week to stave off an intervention.
- The London-based company had raised £512,790 via Indiegogo for the project before it was blocked from raising further funds last year due to delays and a lack of communication with backers. The company also offered pre-sales for the device for a time via its own website.
- The BBC last reported on the Vega+ campaign in March 2017. The company requested that the article not be published at the time on the grounds that it might compromise a police investigation. The BBC did delay publication to give the company time to provide relevant evidence, but it never did so.
- Reaction to the latest update has been mixed. Some consumers have thanked RCL for its continued efforts, while others have cast doubt as to whether the April target will indeed be met.
In response to the BBC article, George Cropper releases a second video called THE VEGA+ BY MAY OR PAY.
Jan Saggiori claims the BCC have lied about RCL and Indiegogo:top
Tuesday 6th February, 2018
Website gamesindustry.biz reports an article called Indiegogo threatens to recoup Spectrum Vega+ funds, new release date promised. Paul Andrews contacts the website to clarify that both Chris Smith and Paul refute all allegations made in the article, and the article is changed to reflect this.
Backer Justin King receives the run-around when RCL claim that Paypal have to get in touch with him before he can receive his refund.top
Wednesday 7th February, 2018
After promising to contact backers regarding refunds within 48 hours on Monday, not a single person has posted on social media to indicate they have received a refund.
Gareth Corfield posts an article called Indiegogo to ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm: End of May... or we call the debt collector. Highlights of the article:
- Retro Computers Ltd, the infamous ZX Spectrum Vega Plus firm, has been given until May by crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to deliver its years-late product or expect a visit from a “third party collections agency”.
- As reported by the BBC, Indiegogo – which has consistently kept the troubled campaign at arm’s length – has finally stepped in, threatening RCL with a debt collector unless it delivers its promised handheld gaming console.
- Indiegogo’s PR tentacle told The Register that its Trust and Safety team “is in touch with the campaign owners and required them to post a significant update to backers this week.” It also claimed that RCL had “continued to express that they are committed to fulfilling the promises they made in the campaign and have expressed that they now expect to do so by May at the latest.”
- They also confirmed that a “third party collections agency” would be sent in if RCL failed to deliver by the "end of May".
- The Companies House record for Retro Computers Ltd currently says its accounts are overdue. They should have been filed on 31 January.
- RCL managing director Suzanne Martin told The Register: “Firstly, we have decided we will no longer be silenced by the people who have orchestrated a campaign of harassment and credible threats against us. The BBC report from yesterday is completely misleading. We have not been issued with an ultimatum by Indiegogo, in fact, we have been in dialogue with them for some time to discuss the harassment and serious threats, and they are very understanding of our situation.”
- Suzanne Martin alleged the BBC had ignored an offer to interview 72-year-old David Levy, RCL’s chairman, who appears to be developing a new public persona as a cheerleader for sex robots.
- The “harassment” alleged by Martin appears to refer to those aggrieved RCL customers who either want the promised product delivered or their money back. A large number of recent comments on RCL’s Indiegogo page appear to be from customers requesting refunds, some of whom say they have asked multiple times and been ignored.
- Paul Andrews, a shareholder in RCL and a former director of the company, denies all the allegations made by Martin and Levy in the company’s latest three updates on Indiegogo, in which they accuse him of trying to sabotage the project.
In response to the latest negative publicity, RCL post on the Indiegogo comments about a future question and answer update:
RCL use ringfenced backer funds to sponsor the Q+A update they were forced into issuing by Indiegogo from Monday the 5th of January.
Lee Fogarty posts on the World of Spectrum facebook group claiming he was not fired, discussing Suzanne passing information to Jan Saggiori, and Lee's thoughts on RCL's latest updates.
Download a high-res scan of the email sent by David Levy to Lee Fogarty on Saturday 11th November 2017:
Backer lghh_4 posts a summary of the last 48 hours on the Indiegogo comments:top
Thursday 8th February, 2018
The BBC updates the article New Spectrum Vega+ promises follow funds threat adding the following to the bottom of the story:
Flickering Myth posts an article called Indiegogo issues Retro Computers Ltd. a final date to deliver the ZX Vega+ or backers are to be refunded.top
Friday 9th February, 2018
Lee Fogarty posts on the World of Spectrum facebook group discussing the possibility of taking over the Vega+ and then discusses a plethora of failings of RCL and the Vega+ device that have not been made public by other testers such as Jonathan Cauldwell. This includes how the batteries are 18 months old yet only come with a 2 year warranty, how incompetent RCL are for not being able to filter Indiegogo emails into a folder, the non-spring-loaded SD card slots requiring tweezers, the screens falling out, the non-functioning TV out and the faulty on-screen keyboard that automatically closes after a single key selection.
A keen-eyed backer has discovered a small PWT sticker on the photos released on the RCL facebook page that indicate the boards are being manufactured by Printed Wiring Technologies Ltd, a firm specialising in high quality small and medium batch PCBs.
RCL continue to be obsessed with rival project TheC64, posting comments on the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign that has nothing to do with TheC64. RCL also claim the vapourware book "The making of the Vega and Vega+" will be a best seller.
Backer scimitar received a reply several days ago regarding his refund requests and was told to send a direct message to RCL and to check for a message from Paypal. RCL post the same generic reply to multiple people claiming their email accounts are being spammed, yet continue to ask backers to forward emails to their email account rather than simply look up the Indiegogo backer details and issue the refunds.
RCL break the data protection act by exposing the names of backers that ask for refunds in what appears to be a "we know who you are" threatening manner. Previously anonymous backer "mrcoops" has his name published for everyone to see when he informs RCL he has made 115 refund requests.top
Saturday 10th February, 2018
A concerned backer tweets regarding the rush order Vega+ prototypes produced by PWT in under 5 days:
A dicky bird tells me the pwt circuit board production for the recent images was produced in less than 5 days as a rush order and was copied directly from the original vega plus homemade assembly made by Chris Smith.— Chris Thacker (@Christhacker) February 10, 2018
No additional work has been added.
A close up of the Vega+ units shows the extremely poor build quality, particularly with the non-spring loaded micro SD card slots that appear to be completely different sizes in all the units.
Another close up shot shows the extremely poor quality casing on the Vega+ prototype units, with the bottom left unit in the photo completely breaking on both the top and bottom of the device:
Sunday 11th February, 2018
Daniel Newby tweets wondering why the unit doesn't support a touch screen when the spec sheet supports a touch screen controller:
They didn't utilise it due to the new production team not realising the benefits it could have. But that's what you get when you copy someone's design documents without understanding why items are used....— Chris Thacker (@Christhacker) February 11, 2018
Tuesday 13th February, 2018
RCL post a "Hollywood quality" video on their facebook page, showing a montage video of previously released static photos. For some reason, the video has a "Send Message" button drawn into the video. RCL delete most of the comments relating to the video.top
Wednesday 14th February, 2018
Backer George Fyvie receives a refund after RCL insist he provide them with his bank account details. A Paypal transfer of funds was refused, with several people speculating that RCL's Paypal account has been frozen.top
Thursday 15th February, 2018
RCL release 8 updates (and in typical RCL style number them 1-5 and 7-9) called Conflict of Interest and publish 18 month old emails between the former directors. One of the emails shows Chris Smith had a fully functioning and basically complete Vega+ almost 2 years ago. None of the 8 updates mention refund requests, timelines, PEGI rating, how many game licences have been acquired or GOSH payments. On the RCL facebook page, the Conflict of Interest post also includes 17 photos of the emails. Various comments are deleted.
Paul Andrews posts a response on the public discussion facebook group:
RCL email backer Justin King accusing him of fraud after he emails them asking about his refund requests:
Justin replies with:top
Friday 16th February, 2018
In response to David Levy's unsubstantiated allegations about a conflict of interest, Paul Andrews releases two emails showing Sir Clive Sinclair agreed the TheC64 project was outside of RCL:
Robert Freestone (chartered accountant of Freestone & Co.) also confirmed:top
Saturday 17th February, 2018
A twitter user discovers a new website saggiorijan.com contains information about RCL employee Jan Saggiori. Jan has admitted doxxing various members of the retro community during the Vega+ debacle.
@AndrewDriver @A_Hero_In_Hell @Lasty1Richard @thezxkingpin @majorrobbb @grahamken @JoolsTurrall @SeanR1974 @codetapper @deKay01 @ZXHorace @sickeningjar @orientbal72 @jansaggiori Look at jans new website lots of contact info for #zxvega refunds and more! https://t.co/2FLYM8HuNd— Suzanne Mehtin (@SMehtin) February 17, 2018
Darren Randle receives a message from Indiegogo informing him that he can no longer post comments on the campaign.
Backer Ronan McEvoy posts on the RCL facebook page asking why a two and a half year old dispute is being used as an excuse by RCL now:top
Monday 19th February, 2018
RCL posts update 82 called Big Boys Toys that features a heavily edited video of random machines making random pieces and claiming the entire unit is being made in the UK:
The RCL video features a mould manufacturing machine with an LKM logo on it. A keen observer finds that LKM stands for Lung Kee Group, and is a Hong Kong company. An almost identical video to the RCL "Hollywood video" is found featuring the same LKM machine producing moulds in China:
Lee Fogarty posts on facebook and implies Codemasters games were due to be on the Vega+ (by including their games Seymour and Dizzy) but that Lee doubts RCL has contacted them a second time:
Brian Cooper finally receives a refund after asking more than 120 times:top
Tuesday 20th February, 2018
After receiving flak over the previous video, RCL call a backer "a wag" for daring to suggest that the video showed nothing and was made from stock footage. RCL release update 83 and upload a replacement video, hilariously called Copy of Copy of Big Boy Tools HD despite the footage not being high definition at all. The video currently has 10 likes and 35 dislikes, and all 10 comments on the video are negative.
30 minutes later, RCL issue update 84 and yet another video, claiming the "HD footage" is from December 2017. Like the previous footage, the video Big Boys Toys No Filter HD is not high-definition at all, and the youtube video comments are all negative.
Lee Fogarty posts a list of problems with the Vega+ on facebook and suggesting he had provided solutions to most of them but RCL ignored him:
A member of the public discussion facebook group creates a comedic video showing various supposed updates that RCL have announced over the past 2 years. The backing track is the appropriately titiled "Tell me Lies" by Fleetwood Mac.top
Wednesday 21st February, 2018
Paul Andrews posts on the public discussion facebook group to indicate that Indiegogo has removed his name from the Vega+ campaign and replaced it with Suzanne Martin. RCL illegally switched the name from "Suzanne Martin" to "PAUL ANDREWS" (in capital letters) more than a year ago and refused to change it despite multiple requests to both RCL and Indiegogo. The name change occurred late last night.top
Friday 23rd February, 2018
Recent events from the Vega+ are discussed on episode 7 of the ugvm podcast. The podcast mentions David Levy's no-show court excuse due to "trolls that might chop off his penis", the court case loss itself, David Levy's other role making sex dolls, the recent videos that feature stock footage manufacturing with 80s effects and Indiegogo's ultimatum to send in debt collectors to recover the money from RCL. Listen to just the Vega+ section from the podcast.
RCL continue to accuse backer Justin King of fraud, claiming Indiegogo and PayPal have been informed. Justin replies stating he has contacted PayPal who claim to know nothing about it at all.
PCube's Andy Pearson replies to a message about stocking the Vega+, but admits they have had no information about the release date. Despite a shipping date of approximately one month away, RCL have no PEGI rating, box art, games list or proof of manufacturing to go with the lack of release date:top
Wednesday 28th February, 2018
Backer Graham Kenny posts a reply from the Solicitors Regulation Authority indicating that they are making good progress and hope to have a more authoritative update by April 30th 2018. (Graham Kenny is a backer and has an order number for his Vega+ but his Indiegogo account was frozen on February 2nd, 2018).top
Friday 2nd March, 2018
RCL report the @dnewbyuk twitter account and the account is suspended. The last tweet posted before the account is suspended shows an image called "David Levy World's Biggest Liar".top
Saturday 3rd March, 2018
The @smehtin twitter account is suspended.top
Sunday 4th March, 2018
Guru Larry's latest video mentions the Vega+ during a segment discussing Jim Bagley while comparing the Spectrum Next to the Vega+. At 12:24 in the video 5 Angry Programmers (Game Developers) Who Hated Their Own Games, the commentary states "He [Jim Bagley] is involved with the ZX Spectrum Next console... you know, not the scammy one" and then showing Larry pointing at a Vega+ prototype:top
Tuesday 6th March, 2018
A member of the public discussion facebook group posts to show that asking RCL questions via their facebook page results in the question being deleted and a ban from posting.top
Wednesday 7th March, 2018
A tweet from Twitter user The Whinja Ninja is reposted for the third time after RCL attempt to censor the internet yet again. The tweet shows Suzanne Martin with a bucket of KFC and the words "liar" and "thief" on the sides.
#zxvega I've already had this tweet locked twice already, so I though I'd give it a 3rd shot, because I really am :) @Collieuk @codetapper @thezxkingpin @LevySexRobot @NickRoperRIP @Zippy71665168 #liar #thief #scum #sociapath #fraud #liar #liar #workshy #kfc #mentalhealth #cows pic.twitter.com/mUodeomse7— The Whinja Ninja (@Whinja_Ninja) March 7, 2018
Thursday 8th March, 2018
Retro Computers Limited change their registered office to 5 Technology Park, Colindeep Lane, Colindale, London, United Kingdom, NW9 6BX.
Ping Pong Studios also change their registered office to the same address.
The Anon y Mouse twitter account advises anyone taking David Levy/RCL to small claims court to send documents to the new address:
IMPORTANT #ZXVega+ INFORMATION: Anyone currently taking RCL through the Small Claims Process should send a copy of any documents already sent to this NEW address, and contact the court to advise that RCL have moved and therefore the court paperwork may need sending again.— Anon y Mouse (@LevySexRobot) March 8, 2018
Twitter user Isofarro posts an image showing court documents can be served on RCL at the previous address for a period of 14 days:top
Saturday 10th March, 2018
The @LevySexRobot twitter account is suspended.
Two articles appear on the Real Crooks blog:
- Quotes about David Neil Laurence Levy - Self Proclaimed Genius?
- Ironic Quotes made by David Levy about others – mirroring his own actions, or supporting vile views?
Sunday 11th March, 2018
A new article appears on the Real Crooks blog, this time called David Neil Laurence Levy - Supports Paedophiles? Condones the use of child sex robots? The article contains RCL director David Levy's failed attempts at multiple sex robot conferences including being thrown out of Malaysia by the chief of police and threatened with arrest if he persisted and having to move the UK convention to a secret location after claiming he was in danger by terrorists. The article also contains links to various articles where David Levy supports giving paedophiles access to child sex robots.top
Monday 12th March, 2018
Gareth Corfield publishes an article called Your manhood is safe, judge tells ZX Spectrum reboot boss. The article details David Levy losing his appeal against the court case he lost after a no-show in court using the excuse that trolls were going to chop his cock off. Highlights from the article:
- Ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has had its appeal against a county court judgment in Luton, UK rejected, with the judge telling chairman Dr David Levy that his no-show in the dock over troll fears was unfounded.
- In a ruling last week, Senior Circuit Judge Melissa Clarke refused permission for Levy, acting on behalf of RCL, to appeal against the judgment, which ordered RCL to refund aggrieved customer Rob Morton who had paid money on crowd funding site Indiegogo to reserve an RCL-made gaming device in February 2016.
- Summarily dismissing RCL's appeal on Wednesday, 7 March, Judge Clarke noted in a written ruling that Levy had "failed to attend the trial....the application is totally without merit and the appellant may not request the decision to refuse permission to appeal to be reconsidered at a hearing."
- In court filings where Levy tried to excuse himself for not attending the original county court hearing in Luton in Bedfordshire – north-northwest of London – he had quoted a pseudonymous Twitter account, claiming the operator of it had threatened to have his "cock chopped off".
- In fact the tweet in question was part of a surreal conversation about Levy and the court case.
- Circuit Judge Clarke ruled: "The appellant's concern for their own safety should not prevent them from attending trial in a court protected by security and there is in any event no evidence they were in threat of physical danger."
Friday 16th March, 2018
Former backer Rob Morton posts on the public discussion facebook group to say that RCL have paid the remaining £429 that he was awarded by the court:top
Monday 19th March, 2018
A new twitter account called Aaron E Mowse tweets regarding the suspension of the Anon Y Mouse account:
So it turns out that Anon Y Mouse was "permanently suspended" because of the RCL #ZXVega+ bank statements! Isn't that crazy? Poor old sickos Suzy and #DavidLevyCriminal said they hadn't given permission for the statements to be published! And after all this time as well!— Aaron E Mowse (@Aaron_E_Mowse) March 19, 2018
It was nothing to do with the "David Neal Laurence Levy is a #Paedophile" tweets, or the "Suzy Baby is a #convicted #criminal" stuff. Simply the bank statements, with Twitter saying they'd been given proof that Anon didn't have permission to post them.— Aaron E Mowse (@Aaron_E_Mowse) March 19, 2018
Apart from Odd Fogarty, did anyone else ever claim they WERE fake? They were used as evidence in Rob's court case, and as a witness under oath in that case, Paul Andrews confirmed the transactions were identical to those on his own copies. Thus statements==real.— Aaron E Mowse (@Aaron_E_Mowse) March 19, 2018
Thursday 22nd March, 2018
George Cropper releases a new video called THE VEGA+ V2 - DEAD MAN WALKING?
A backer notices that the twitter account Aaron E Mowse has been suspended. A backup of the account from March 19th contains 5 tweets, including why the Anon y Mouse was originally suspended.top
Friday 23rd March, 2018
Gareth Corfield publishes an article called Ex-ZX Spectrum reboot man threatens sueball over unpaid invoices. Highlights of the article:
- Yet more financial claims are piling up against failing ZX Spectrum Vega Plus firm Retro Computers Ltd, with the company's former web fixer threatening to sue over allegedly unpaid invoices.
- One-time contractor Lee Fogarty, who performed a range of roles including web dev and organiser of product testing, has told The Register that he intends to sue RCL over £599 of unpaid invoices.
- Fogarty showed The Register a copy of a letter he sent to RCL chairman Dr David Levy, headed "Final letter before commencing legal action". The sum due was broken down as £500 for the original, overdue, invoice with the rest being accrued interest.
- "I may also commence insolvency proceedings," warned Fogarty in his letter, adding to us that the invoice related to "consultancy" work.
- On behalf of RCL, Levy told El Reg: "Far from owing Lee Fogarty money, RCL paid Lee in advance for work he has either not delivered or was not of an acceptable commercial standard. He received £14,000 from RCL and we have nothing useful to show for it."
- RCL's chairman also alleged that Fogarty had "defaced" the firm's website after his departure.
- The Companies House listing for RCL shows that its accounts are nearly two months late, having been due on 31 January 2018.
David Levy's reply to The Register all but confirms that the leaked bank statements from 2017 are real when he admits that £14,000 was paid to Lee. This figure is the same as what Lee has previously stated he received and also matches the figure on the bank statements.
George Cropper releases his 42nd video on the Vega+ debacle, this time called THE VEGA+ - SUED BY FORMER EMPLOYEE ??top
Saturday 24th March, 2018
Lee Fogarty posts on the Indiegogo campaign:
If there are any backers that have genuinely started court proceedings and need a witness statement and supporting evidence from the software consultant, you know where to find me. I will also try as much as possible to attend court if required. #zxvega— RealFogartyLee (@RealFogartyLee1) March 24, 2018
Tuesday 3rd April, 2018
An article appears on That Retro Video Gamer called 27 days left. The article questions why there have been no updates or photos of the 10,000 devices that have supposedly been manufactured, and the subsequent account suspension and deletion of all posts by the author on the RCL facebook page.top
Saturday 7th April, 2018
RCL managing director Suzanne Martin is active on Twitter, but unfortunately for backers Suzanne returns to report tweets rather than to update backers on the progress of the Vega+ and refund requests.
Former RCL supporter Preston Thomas releases a 33 minute video called The Sound Off - The Spud Speaks on his channel The Tater Tuber. The video talks about Preston's mistake of supporting the scammers Retro Computer Ltd, being tagged with the #zxvega hashtag on Twitter, his final apology for assisting in the Vega+ scandal and his reason for refusing to quit the scene.top
Sunday 8th April, 2018
A follow up article appears on That Retro Video Gamer called ZXVegawatch - the blinded mice that RCL forgot. The article discusses the 3 main associates that shilled for RCL during the Vega+ scam, namely Lee Fogarty (Mr F in the article), Jan Saggiori (Mr S) and Preston Thomas (Mr T).
Preston Thomas closes his YouTube channel one day after re-opening it. A backup of The Sound Off - The Spud Speaks video is available.top
Tuesday 10th April, 2018
RCL file micro company accounts more than 3 months late for the year ended 30th March 2017. The figures on the micro accounts do not match the leaked bank statements, and somehow RCL claim to have increased assets by almost £350,000 in the previous year. Members of the Vega+ public discussion facebook group suggest that creative accounting has taken place by capitalizing the intellectual property, adding a huge "goodwill" figure or adding an imaginary amount owed by Cornerstone Media.top
Monday 16th April, 2018
Suzanne Martin sets up a company called Primate Ltd, with herself as the only director. The nature of business is listed as "Motion picture, video and television programme post-production activities".top
Friday 20th April, 2018
A statement of capital from Ping Pong Studios shows the company is worth the sum total of £13 and is now solely run by convicted criminal Suzanne Martin.top
Tuesday 24th April, 2018
5 of the 8 updates made by David Levy's supposed Conflict of Interest rant are removed from the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign, reducing the update count from 84 to 79. On Thursday 15th February 2018, David Levy posted 8 updates, incorrectly numbered 1-5 and 7-9. Only parts 3, 4 and 5 remain on Indiegogo, but you can view the full text on the Retro Computers facebook page.
to this end I've captured parts 3, 4, and 5 in case they mysteriously disappear pic.twitter.com/AI0F6R3avp— Sean Robertson (@SeanR1974) April 24, 2018
Wednesday 25th April, 2018
The remaining 3 parts from the supposed Conflict of Interest rant are removed from the Indiegogo campaign.
George Cropper releases his 43rd video exposing the Vega+ debacle, titled THE VEGA+ V2 - IT'S COMING... OR IS IT?top
Friday 27th April, 2018
Paul Andrews posts a joint press release on facebook to announce that current directors David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel are about to be fired as directors of Retro Computers Ltd:
Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called ZX Spectrum reboot firm's shareholders demand current directors go. Highlights of the article:
- A majority of shareholders in ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd - including Sir Clive Sinclair's corporate presence - are calling a shareholders' meeting to replace its current directors.
- A statement from company shareholder Paul Andrews sent to El Reg this morning revealed that he and fellow shareholders Chris Smith and Sinclair Research Ltd are demanding that current RCL directors Dr David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel step down. Levy is the company's chairman and Mrsic-Flogel is its CTO, while Martin is its managing director.
- The shareholder majority against RCL's directors sounds the death knell for the firm's current leadership, which has held control of the controversial business for the past two years.
- The removal of Levy and Martin would not only give Andrews control of the company but also access to its detailed finances. The Register has seen a copy of what are alleged to be RCL's bank statements, as lodged at Luton County Court during a case against the company, the contents of which make an interesting comparison to RCL's Companies House filings.
RCL post an update confirming the April deadline has been missed and claiming the "first batch" of Vega+ consoles will be sent out between the 8th and 12th of May 2018:
RCL rush out a new website using the "pick a template" host squarespace and choose to register a new domain name of retro.business instead of their existing domain. The previous domain retrocomputerslimited.com still shows a "new website coming soon" message. The new website contains a raft of problems:
- The site is illegally selling items without displaying a physical address and phone number.
- The shop page illegally makes no mention of VAT on orders.
- The Games List is completely empty.
- The Roll of Honour is coming soon, and to check back on May 5th, 2018.
- The Our Products section confirms that the battery specification hasn't been decided upon.
- The text for the various products on the website has been copied and pasted from a very old and out of date version of the previous website.
- The terms and conditions link at the bottom of each page is broken.
- The Stockists page says coming soon - check back.
- The Twitter and Instagram links are incorrect at the bottom of each page, sending the user to the squarespace accounts rather than the RCL accounts.
- The Shipping and Returns page contains an entire section talking about international shipping that has been copied and pasted from a latin text generator.
George Cropper releases a video covering the fallout, called THE VEGA+ SHAREHOLDERS MEETING CALLED.
RCL steal an obituary from bit-tech.net and add a copyright message to the bottom of it, causing outrage from a number of people. The original tweet:
Err, @sinclairzxvega, mind telling me why I'm reading my words on the sad passing of @rickdickinson12 - written for @bittech - in an Indiegogo post with your copyright at the bottom? pic.twitter.com/0hv63YPKdQ— Gareth Halfacree (@ghalfacree) April 27, 2018
RCL are forced to modify the post, but you can view the edit history to see both the original and modified version:
George releases a second video called THE VEGA+ - COPY/PASTE OBITUARY SHOCKER :'( deals with the disgraceful behaviour of RCL to steal an obituary from another website and use it as an update for the campaign while tacking on a bogus copyright message.
George's third video for the day discusses David Levy's response to the Register article and is called THE VEGA+ - "BIG BOYS DID IT".top
Saturday 28th April, 2018
Suzanne Martin continues to use fake accounts in the public discussion facebook group monitoring all posts and acting on them. Disgruntled backer Jamie Ball has been repeatedly refused a £5 refund for his roll of honour pledge, and posts the following comment:
Another member asks about the reason for the post:
40 minutes after the post appears, the thread is deleted by facebook and Jamie's account receives a warning regarding the post.
David Levy's statement to The Register yesterday also quoted Paul Andrews from a post made only in the public discussion facebook group, indicating Suzanne Martin spends a significant amount of time monitoring social media rather than delivering the Vega+.
Twitter user isofarro advises potential buyers of the Vega+ not to invest after noticing the website has reverted to an image with faulty buttons.
I strongly advise people do not pre-order the Vega+. RCL replaced the two-colour buttons with plain colour ones in Feburary 2018, apparently fixes crucial usability issues. They've not said they've reverted back to the original buttons, nor have they released new photos. #zxvega pic.twitter.com/oang6olpsq— isofarro (@isofarro) April 28, 2018
Sunday 29th April, 2018
Suzanne Martin posts on twitter claiming the games list will be published on Tuesday May 1st, 2018:
It is currently planned to be being updated on the 1st May— Sinclair ZX Vega (@sinclairzxvega) April 29, 2018
Suzanne Martin also tweets claiming that backers will also be receiving a freebie for their continual delays:
We will certainly be sending them something extra to make up for the delay https://t.co/g0E6NpDc3v— Sinclair ZX Vega (@sinclairzxvega) April 29, 2018
Monday 30th April, 2018
George Cropper releases a video THE VEGA+ - PANIC WEBSITE.
George Cropper releases a second video called THE VEGA + - OBITUARY PLAGIARISM ROW INTENSIFIES.
RCL fail to deliver the red Vega+ units that they promised to send out "this month" in a tweet a few days ago.
Chris Thacker tracks down the Big Boy machine RCL heavily promoted in December 2017:In response RCL ban Chris from being able to post on their social media pages, and even go so far as to delete several tweets from themselves to remove Chris' replies.
The official supplier of the Vega Funstock are now listing the original Vega as out of stock and discontinued. Despite being discontinued, the RCL website is still offering the devices for sale.
A backer notices that only 5 units of the Vega+ have been sold in the previous 24 hours:April 30, 2018
Tuesday 1st May, 2018
Despite RCL claiming the second batch of Vega+ prototypes are selling fast, the actual sales figures since the shop went live 5 days ago are extremely low:
- Vega+ prototypes sold: 11
- Original Vegas sold: 0
- Original Vega and Vega+ prototype launch bundes sold: 0
The stock levels can be displayed by entering a bogus value (such as 9999) into the cart, and an error message will display how many remain. The shop was setup with 5000 Vega+ prototypes, 2000 Vegas and 5000 Vega and Vega+ launch bundles.
On April 29th, Suzanne Martin promised that the games would be published today. This is yet another lie and the website now shows a further delay for the games list until May 4th 2018.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority reply to various backers stating that they are still investigating the possible illegal conduct by Teacher Stern LLP and Michelmores LLP and that they hope to conclude the investigation by September 30th 2018.
RCL publish another non-update containing no facts or no new information:
The supposedly free shipping for UK orders over £200 on the RCL shop is either another fault with the website or another method to scam people. The only shipping choice you can make is to pay full price for a UK order:top
Wednesday 2nd May, 2018
Various backers in the public discussion facebook group that purchased black units have had their orders locked to prevent any modifications. This appears to go against the mini-update from yesterday claiming that backers should check their details are correct.
A single Vega+ is sold in the RCL shop over the previous 24 hours, with the stock level dropping to 4988 units.
Chris Thacker has scheduled an article for Star Wars Day (May the 4th) exposing the entire list of 1000 games on one of the 50 prototype Vega+ units that have been manufactured:
RCL release an Indiegogo update claiming that roll of honour name changes are still possible up until midnight Thursday (the very end of Wednesday in the middle of the night). RCL claim that the roll of honour will be on their website sometime tomorrow (Thursday May 4th), but their own webpage contradicts this stating Roll of Honour - Coming Soon. Check back for details 5th May 2018.
David Levy claims that Paul Andrews has personally been barraging RCL, suppliers and collaborators with menacing letters. Mr Levy fails to backup any of his allegations with any evidence.
Thursday 3rd May, 2018
RCL issue an update claiming that despite being more than 18 months late, they are "on track" and include a random image of a piece of equipment:
RCL post on their facebook page claiming that Sinclair Research Ltd is not intending to vote for removing the existing directors. This information is not shared with Indiegogo backers.
Mike Davies posts a reply asking for clarification and his post is deleted within 5 minutes:
Paul Andrews releases the following statement in the public discussion facebook group:
George Cropper releases a video called THE VEGA + - FORMER DIRECTORS ISSUE STATEMENT.
George releases a second video called THE VEGA+ - MANUFACTURING INFO AND SMOKESCREENS detailing the very small production run (of the 5000 required) that has taken place:
- PWT - Printed Wiring Technologies have produced approximately 50 boards running the so called Vega+ using an A20 arm processor. They're located in Welwyn Garden City.
- HDTooling in Ashford have also produced tooling for D-Pad, buttons and the Vega shell - approximately 50 shells - only black produced.
- Approximately 200 of each button was produced (as previously seen in an image shown on RCLs on montage), and the D-Pad has been manufactured to similar levels.
- The PWT board still requires a simple GPIO board for the LCD screen to work so they're going down the route of cheap and dirty Chinese 2.5" screens. Which will have an 8-bit data transfer rate, but will suffice for the 8-bit bus they're using.
- RCL's current address, 5 Technology Park in Colindale is home to Computers Unlimited, who are the technology support services division for Exertis Gem. They specialise in the technical expertise and software creation for niche gadgets supplied through the Exertis Gem network. It is suspected they will be flashing the devices since RCL didn't pay the last bill from SMS Electronics in Beeston.
- RCL may choose to courier the 50 devices out themselves due to the small number manufactured rather than using Gem to distribute the devices.
- The shells are all black because the number of coloured units required is so small they would have a huge cost added due to waste plastic material to flush the system and the tooling.
Backers prepare for disappointment knowing that a maximum of 50 V2 Vega+ prototypes to be sent out in the coming week.
ZX Spectrum developer John Pickford contacted David Levy in 2016 to confirm that RCL did not have permission to use his games. Shortly afterwards, RCL illegally used his character Zub on Vega+ promotional material and were forced to remove it. Today John posts that he has been banned from the RCL facebook page:top
Friday 4th May, 2018
Paul Andrews posts a response to David Levy's facebook-only post "Appeal for information". David Levy had claimed that Paul Andrews had been bombarding RCL, its suppliers and collaborators with threats of legal action from a fake law firm. David Levy provided no evidence for any of his accusations, but Paul has responded with the facts and 5 screenshots of evidence.
Chris Thacker releases an article (on his website That Retro Video Gamer) called May the Farce be with us – Vega Plus (1000 games listed). The article contains the list of games for the device, which happens to be identical to the original ZX Vega list. Permission has been revoked for approximately 500 of the games due to unpaid royalties and GOSH donations.
Gareth Corfield releases an article called Sir Clive Sinclair dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle. Highlights of the article:
- Andrews and Smith are trying to remove Levy as a director of RCL, along with those Levy appointed as directors after the former pair quit the company in April 2016. They want to do this by calling a shareholders' meeting and voting Levy off the board. Naturally Levy is resisting this attempt to topple him.
- Andrews and Smith insisted last week's statement about receiving support from SRL was accurate when they issued it.
- We have asked the SRL company secretary what Sinclair Research Ltd’s position is on this squabble but have received no reply at the time of writing. SRL itself has three directors listed at Companies House: Sir Clive; his partner Elaine Millar; and Robert Freestone, the company secretary.
- It appears likely to El Reg that a behind-the-scenes battle to secure the hearts and minds of Sir Clive and Millar has been taking place between Andrews and Levy.
- Despite public fears that RCL would fold and deliver nothing, the company has repeatedly insisted it will make and distribute the consoles. Its latest pledge is that it will ship some of them by 12 May, though previous self-imposed deadlines have repeatedly sailed past with no action being taken.
- Recently RCL has begun alluding to the delivery of a Vega+ V2 instead of the plain old Vega+, which suggests the product that will appear may not be the same as the one originally offered and paid for.
RCL are due to release the list of 1000 games for the 50 V2 Vega+ prototypes today at 5pm.
Suzanne Martin appears to be preparing backers for further disappointment by claiming to be still finalising details, and despite claiming that the Roll of Honour would "see your name immortalised forever", it now appears that it can be updated in software at any time.
RCL release a poorly formatted draft Roll of Honour. The list itself does not handle unicode characters, so many names are corrupt. Many of the most vocal supporters of RCL or names mentioned during the Vega+ fiasco are conspicuous by their absence in the roll of honour:
- Jamie Ball (ordered the Roll of Honour perk for £5)
- Jonathan Cauldwell
- Suzanne Martin
- Nick Roper (Lee Fogarty promised his 20-year-dead friend Nick Roper would be on the Roll of Honour)
- Jan Saggiori
- Preston Thomas
- Tamara Thomas
- Dave Wayne
Some of the more amusing names that have been immortalised:
- Alan Smithee
- Buon compleanno 2016, Giancky! (translation: Happy birthday for 2016!)
- El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing.
- In Honour of Rick Dickinson
- Kim Jong-un
- Lee Fogarty
- TheC64 Rules!
- Unhappy Backer
The roll of honour is modified multiple times during the day, and the name "wankoff" is removed from the list.
George Cropper releases a video called THE VEGA+ - THE LITTLE WEBSITE THAT COULDN'T discussing the train wreck that is the RCL website. The video shows the Roll of Honour formatting appears to be completely messed up.
RCL announce that a "fake games list" has being published so they will not be releasing the games list today as they promised.
Paul Andrews posts his thoughts about any possible lack of games list excuse in the public discussion facebook group:top
Saturday 5th May, 2018
Ex-backer Mike Davies demands RCL remove his name from the Roll of Honour:
RCL @sinclairzxvega, remove my name from your Roll of Honour list (https://t.co/XSudAdLV0V and https://t.co/bxS5EjPIMI). I do not wish to be associated with you or your product. #zxvega #vegaplus #ZXSpectrumVega+— isofarro (@isofarro) May 5, 2018
RCL respond claiming that there are other backers with the exact same name:
Hi there Mike - we can confirm that there is another backer with the same name.— Sinclair ZX Vega (@sinclairzxvega) May 5, 2018
Suzanne Martin begins a tirade of tweets against reporter Gareth Corfield regarding the law firm LSB. Gareth asks for full evidence and is ignored (full thread).
Tuesday 8th May, 2018
The first shipment of Vega+ consoles is supposed to go out today.
A member of the public discussion facebook group discovers further proof that Suzanne Martin setup the retro.business website when he discovers pressing Escape on the page leads you to the login screen on Square Space showing her full name: https://suzanne-martin-3ell.squarespace.com/top
Wednesday 9th May, 2018
RCL release an saying that the leaked games list published on That Retro Video Gamer is not the final version and because of this, RCL are breaking their promises about uploading the games list. RCL also state they are still modifying the roll of honour. RCL delays the shipping schedule to the 12th of May 2018.
In response to the RCL update, George Cropper releases his 52nd video THE VEGA+ - ANOTHER EMPTY UPDATE.
The 14th Vega+ sale occurs on the website as the stock level drops to 4986 units.top
Thursday 10th May, 2018
RCL announce yet another update regarding the ill-fated Roll of Honour.
The Roll of Honour moves to yet another URL new-page-1. Within minutes of the update, the Indiegogo comments section contains complaints from backers still missing from the list.
That Retro Video Gamer releases an article called Vegawatch 10th May update, discussing the latest Indiegogo update followed by a number of complaints regarding missing names on the latest iteration of the Roll of Honour. The article finishes mentioning that with 2 days to go until their latest shipping deadline is missed, RCL have to update the code, flash the consoles, and pack and ship out thousands of consoles.top
Friday 11th May, 2018
Paul Andrews publishes an email that David Levy sent to games rights holders the previous day, along with replies from Darren Melbourne and Paul Andrews himself. David Levy's original email blamed the former directors for the majority of RCLs problems, and claimed that RCL are almost up to date with royalty payments.
Retro Games Ltd director Darren Melbourne replied calling David Levy's email a work of fiction, and Paul Andrews email asked David Levy for:
- The date and location of the shareholders meeting.
- How many Vega+ consoles have been manufactured for shipping out on Saturday 12th of May.
- The final games list.
- Proof that RCL are not trading insolvent.
Paul ends the email with "stop trying to blame everyone in the rest of the world for your own failings David."top
Saturday 12th May, 2018
RCL miss their 11th deadline with complete radio silence, failing to send out the first batch of thousands of Vega+ consoles as promised. Not a single person on social media posts to say they have been contacted regarding their shipping address for the consoles.top
Monday 14th May 2018
Suzanne Martin posts an update regarding a future update on facebook:
RCL release their 97th update on Indiegogo (taking into account the 13 deleted updates)
A backer on facebook asks why emails are being sent outside Indiegogo and Suzanne Martin claims that Indiegogo don't have the capacity to handle them.top
Tuesday 15th May, 2018
A member of the public discussion facebook group contacts Indiegogo regarding yesterday's update. "Morning folks. After yesterday's update in which RCL said they would be communicating 'away from the Indiegogo platform', I contacted Indiegogo, showing them the full text of Update #84, and asked them if this was according to their usage rules, apart from all the previous stalling and nonsense. I got a reply..."
Paul Andrews posts in the public discussion facebook group to announce that Chris Smith is taking RCL to small claims court for unpaid invoices and will be heard in the County Court of Luton on September 25th 2018.
Suzanne Martin posts on the RCL facebook page that the units are going out in batches by perk, and a sarcastic reply to Nick Barr about wasting time answering questions about how many units per batch and the order of shipping:
George Cropper releases his 53rd video called THE VEGA + - OF COURSE THEY MISSED THE DEADLINE.top
Thursday 17th May, 2018
Suzanne Martin posts on facebook claiming RCL have started sending out emails and there will be an update later today:
RCL release the following statement on their facebook page, once again blaming Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne for yet another delay:
Darren Melbourne responds by posting the following reply in the public discussion facebook group:
A new article appears on That Retro Video Gamer called Vegawatch 17th May - FCK’d.
RCL delete more than 120 comments from their facebook page. The majority of comments were asking RCL to supply a photo of the manufactured Vega+ consoles, asking about shipping details or refund requests.top
Friday 18th May, 2018
Gareth Corfield releases an article on The Register called What's up with that ZX Spectrum reboot? Still no console. Highlights of the article:
- Flailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has, once again, failed to meet yet another promised delivery deadline.
- In a series of updates published to its Indiegogo backers over the past couple of weeks, RCL promised to start shipping its Vega+ device between 8 and 12 May. So far nobody appears to have received anything.
- If RCL fails to ship by the end of this month, Indiegogo has promised to send in a debt collection agency.
A new article appears on That Retro Video Gamer called Vegawatch 18th May - Only the crumbliest, flakiest, PR.top
Monday 21st May, 2018
A website called The ZX Vega+ Shareholders Petition is announced on social media. From the front page of the website:
Backers and former backers of the Vega+ are welcome to fill in the petition.
Twitter account @A_Hero_In_Hell is suspended after posting links to an online petition to have David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel prosecuted for fraud and theft.top
Tuesday 22nd May, 2018
RCL release an update forcing users to follow a link to facebook to avoid the post being taken down. The post claims all backers will be emailed during the day regarding delivery options.
In the facebook post, David Levy admits that RCL do not have the rights to the 1000 games and RCL will have to contact all rights holders thus causing another delay.
In the same thread, Suzanne Martin avoids all questions regarding providing photographic proof that the consoles have been manufactured.
Paul Andrews posts a brief reply and includes information about the shareholders meeting, that has been called for the latest possible date:
RCL release a second update called Blankety Blank detailing a new plan to ship the console without any of the 1000 games that were promised to be installed on it:
Jonathan Humphris posts on the Indiegogo comments page "Now we are able to ‘get one’ blank could anybody explain how I could add games to the console myself? Any links or explanations? I’m a novice on this games installation business??" and Lee Fogarty replies:
Lee Fogarty posts two further times to say that loading games is not a simple task because you have to create keymap files for each game and the latest firmware is incompatible with the original Vega keymaps.
RCL post a poll on facebook to find out what people think about releasing the Vega+ console without any games. The poll is available for those that haven't been banned from their facebook page for asking questions about photographic proof of the device, refund requests or shipping details.
A message appears on the ZX Vega+ Shareholders Petition site explaining that the site has been reported:top
Wednesday 23rd May, 2018
A new article by Gareth Corfield appears on The Register called 'Clive, help us,' say empty-handed ZX Spectrum reboot buyers. Highlights from the article:
- Customers of Retro Computers ltd, the ZX Spectrum themed reboot firm, have now set up a website asking Sir Clive Sinclair to intervene in the non-delivery debacle.
- The petition asking the Spectrum daddy to get involved was set up by disgruntled RCL customer Graham Kenny at the web address CliveHelpUs.website, with text on its homepage exhorting people who paid money to RCL via crowdfunding website Indiegogo to sign it with their order ID number to prove their authenticity.
- Recipients of the petition to Sir Clive will include “relevant personnel at Retro Computers Ltd and other companies,” meaning Sinclair Research Ltd, which is Sir Clive’s corporate presence on the RCL board.
- When asked to comment on the petition, RCL chairman David Levy said he would raise the matter at a planned general meeting of the company on 18 June.
- On the agenda for that meeting is a motion brought by company shareholders, Paul Andrews and Chris Smith, to have Levy and fellow RCL directors Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel removed and replaced with Kenneth Tointon of K Tointon Ltd, who appears to be an accountant.
An announcement on the CliveHelpUs.website informs backers the site is working again and the site has been upgraded to a secure website.
Suzanne Martin argues with Graham Kenny on twitter, and is caught lying about Graham not being a backer:
Whats this Suzanne. You're absolutely wrong about that and I've already made clear to you. My order ID's are 6393 and 6395. One being the book which was refunded. But you are correct in saying you refunded me for my first account, just not my Bobdangler account— Graham Kenny (@grahamken) May 23, 2018
Thursday 24th May, 2018
RCL admit on twitter that they do not give refunds:
He was refunded and is squatting another backers account but hey we don’t give refunds. https://t.co/gtEj0wn4PU— Sinclair ZX Vega (@sinclairzxvega) May 24, 2018
Paul Lawrence is the first known backer to request his personal details (via email and Indiegogo) relating to the new GDPR regulations that come into force from Friday May 25th 2018:top
Thursday 31st May, 2018
Today is the final day that the Vega+ consoles were supposed to be shipped to backers. Indiegogo have threatened to step in with debt collectors to recover the money if the devices are not in the hands of backers by the end of the day.
Two articles that mention Suzanne Louise Martin's criminal past are removed from Colin Rook's Real Crooks blog, but are still available in archive sites. The first post from July 26th 2017 called Suzanne Martin featured her criminal conviction details, and Suzanne Louise Martin - In Sickness and in Wealth discussed how she has hidden her wealth from her victims as well as information obtained from private investigators.
The Vega+ is mentioned in an article on the BBC website called Atari VCS throwback console attracts $2m in pre-orders. The article mentions that building consoles has had mixed results, mentioning Nintendo being successful with the classic SNES and then mentioning Retro Computers Ltd failed Vega+ console. From the article:
Backer Mike Halsey tweets to say that he played on a Vega+ console yesterday.
It is revealed that Mike Halsey has been hired by Planet Computers to write the Gemini manual. Planet Computers is the company run by Janko Mrsic-Flogel, one of the directors of RCL.
Leo Kelion from the BBC tweets a message to RCL indicating that a new story is imminent.
@sinclairzxvega Hello - I emailed and texted earlier. Just tweeting too to ensure you have seen the request. Leo Kelion BBC News— Leo Kelion (@LeoKelion) May 31, 2018
Friday 1st June, 2018
An article called The Sunday Club is removed from Colin Rook's Real Crooks blog, but is once again available in archive sites. The article mentioned that ‘The Sunday Club’ is a group of shady, shadowy figures, with a strong bond, and common interest in mostly younger women. This group has been in existence for many years and still meets to this day in one guise or another.
RCL post an update delaying the console for another 2 weeks:
Ethical Marketing News contacts RCL asking for a chat about about how they've run their business:
@sinclairzxvega we'd be very interested in a chat about the ethics of how you've run your business, how you can justify refusing to refund 100s of people who have asked. If you have good reasons we'd love to put your side, if not we will look to do an article on what we know.— EthicalMarketingNews (@ethicalmarket) May 31, 2018
We have followed you so please DM your contact details thank you https://t.co/wnwo6Hplwm— Sinclair ZX Vega (@sinclairzxvega) June 1, 2018
That Retro Video Gamer posts an article called Vegawatch 1st June - You, Me and the BBC.
The BBC publishes an article called ZX Vega+ console faces Indiegogo's debt collectors. Highlights of the article:
- Indiegogo has said that it is willing to extend the deadline it gave to a project attempting to make a handheld version of a classic British computer. But the crowdfunding site says that the team behind the ZX Spectrum Vega+ has yet to meet its conditions.
- In February, Indiegogo threatened to appoint debt collectors if the campaign had not fulfilled its commitments by the end of May.
- The company Mr David Levy chairs, Retro Computers Ltd (RCL), has issued an update to backers saying it now intends to deliver the first consoles by 15 June. He also told the BBC that "Indiegogo has extended the date" to mid-June.
- However, the US firm explained that the situation was more complicated. "We've taken several steps to protect our community, including demanding refunds for any backer that has requested one and banning the campaign owners from launching any other project on our platform," explained a spokesman. "We have also begun the process of sending the campaign owners to collections, which will commence unless the campaign delivers on the promises it made. "More specifically, yesterday, we sent very clear requirements, which have not yet been agreed to by the campaign owners, despite them posting a campaign update earlier today."
- The conditions required of RCL are that it:
- provide physical evidence of its readiness to deliver by sending a final unit to Indiegogo by 5 June
- give an immediate refund to any backer who has requested one and no longer wishes to receive the console
- provide contact details for a person at broadcaster Sky that is apparently delaying the consoles being sent out. The broadcaster owns some of the intellectual property involved
- Indiegogo also disclosed that RCL had suggested it now planned to deliver the handheld consoles without 1,000 games pre-installed as originally promised. "If these requirements are not agreed to... we will continue with the process of sending the project to collections, which has already begun, and we will immediately notify backers, as previously discussed," the Indiegogo spokesman added.
- Dr Levy alleges that much of the blame falls on an ex-director of the firm, Paul Andrews, who he described as "the vilest enemy of RCL and the Vega+ project".
- Mr Andrews told the BBC that he denied this and other claims that Mr Levy had made about him, which he said had "consistently proven to be false".
- Mr Andrews has acknowledged that he had pressed the company to prove the devices were "fully legally compliant", but denied he was to blame for a delay. "The RCL response was for them to write to all games rights owners... when already [many] games had been withdrawn by rights-owners," he told the BBC.
- Mr Andrews is pursuing another avenue to bring matters to a head. He and another ex-director, Chris Smith, each still own a 25% stake in RCL. This has allowed them to force a shareholders meeting, which Mr Andrews said had been scheduled for 18 June. They have proposed a motion that RCL's current management be removed and a "totally independent third party" take control. "We believe it is the only way this ridiculous situation will be resolved for backers," Mr Andrews explained.
- However, to succeed they need the support of Sir Clive Sinclair - the creator of the original ZX Spectrum. His firm, Sinclair Research, also owns a 25% stake in RCL. Dr Levy - who owns the other 25% - noted that Sinclair Research issued a statement on 2 May that said it did not intend to replace RCL's directors. But that commitment was based on an expectation that deliveries would take place last month, which did not transpire. Sir Clive did not respond to a request to share his current view.
Gaz Corfield releases an article on TheRegister called Indiegogo grants ZX Spectrum reboot firm another two weeks to send them a console. Highlights of the article:
- Following some gentle and not-so-gentle prodding from The Register, the crowdfunding platform eventually told us that it had granted the two-week extension on condition that an example of the finished device is sent to Indiegogo HQ by Tuesday.
- A company spokesman told us: "Indiegogo's Trust & Safety team has been in very close contact with the campaign owners as the investigation into the project has continued. We've taken several steps to protect our community, including demanding refunds for any backer that has requested one and banning the campaign owners from launching any other project on our platform."
- He also said Indiegogo has handed RCL conditions for the 15 June extension, which are:
- Physical evidence that they are actually ready to ship, in the form of a final unit being received by Indiegogo by Tuesday June 5th via FedEx
- Immediate refunds to backers who have continued to request this and who no longer wish to receive the console
- The name, phone number, and email address of the main contact at Sky so that we may reach out directly to understand the delay in sending units without games, as offered recently to backers
- If these conditions are not met, El Reg understands that Indiegogo will refer RCL to its collections department, a process it insists "has already begun". Previously Indiegogo had promised to send in debt collectors by the end of May, a threat that appears to be weakening.
- Customers of RCL, who invested in the ZX dream two years ago, recently called upon Sinclair, who has a corporate interest in RCL, to step in and save the day. No word from the legendary Brit entrepreneur so far.
- RCL's latest self-imposed delivery deadline, 8-12 May, sailed by with no sign of delivery. Directors David Levy and Suzanne Martin failed to comment.
Retro gamer Kim Justice releases an article called The continued saga of the ZX Spectrum Vega+.top
Sunday 3rd June, 2018
George Cropper releases a video called THE VEGA+ - THE VULTURES CIRCLE. The video discusses Indiegogo's deadline extension, the three conditions they demanded of RCL (shipping the latest unit, immediate refunds for everyone that ones one and the Sky contact) and ends with a prediction that unnamed YouTube "vultures" (presumably Kim Justice, Larry Bundy Jr, Top Hat Gaming Man etc) will be creating videos now that the Vega+ fiasco seems to be nearing the end.
A new page appears on the ZX Vega+ Shareholders Petition site allowing backers to log their refund requests so that Indiegogo has a list of everyone that has requested one. Many backers have been blocked from commenting on Indiegogo so the page allows any backer to log their refund request on a third party website where RCL cannot interfere. It appears that more than £5,000 worth of refunds have been requested in the 4 hours since the site went live.top
Monday 4th June, 2018
The ZX Vega+ Refunds site reaches more than £10,000 of requested refunds in 24 hours.
Website gamesindustrybiz posts an article called Indiegogo extends deadline for ZX Spectrum Vega+ as June shipping date announced. Highlights from the article:
- Retro Computers Ltd "still determined to deliver the Vega+" despite ongoing dispute with former project leads.
- The company behind the crowdfunded ZX Spectrum Vega+ has just a few weeks left to deliver the console to backers before Indiegogo sends in its debt collectors.
- Indiegogo has actually extended the deadline beyond the original limit, which was the end of May, according to the BBC. Retro Computers chairman Dr David Levy told the Beeb that the extension was until mid-June, a target he is optimistic about meeting.
- Retro Computers chairman Dr David Levy pointed to the ongoing dispute with former director Paul Andrews as well as other previous members of the project as the reason for the delay.
- "We are still determined to deliver the Vega+ to the backers and we will do so unless we are prevented by circumstances entirely beyond our control," Levy told GamesIndustry.biz in a statement.
Shortly after the article is published, Lee Fogarty posts the following rant on the World of Spectrum facebook group:top
Tuesday 5th June, 2018
The ZX Vega+ Shareholders Petition site reaches more than 100 logged refund requests. The banner says 100 backers have requested refunds totalling £12480 and various pie charts are added to the refunds list page showing a breakdown of statistics.top
Wednesday 6th June, 2018
The Indiegogo Trust & Safety team post the 101st update on the Vega+ campaign on behalf of RCL:
The BBC publishes an article called ZX Vega+: Indiegogo calls game over on Sinclair console. Highlights from the article:
- Crowdfunding site Indiegogo has called time on a high-profile British project to create a retro handheld console.
- The US firm has told backers of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ that it is appointing a debt collection agency to recoup funds from the London-based company behind the campaign. It said Retro Computers Ltd (RCL) had failed to meet the conditions it had set to be given more time.
- The BBC has asked RCL to comment but has yet to get a response. But the firm's Twitter account has posted: "To be clear we offered to demo the unit to Indiegogo's London-based representative and this is how they have reacted."
- Indiegogo, however, had demanded a unit be couriered over to its offices so that it could carry out its own checks. "The campaign owners have not met the requirements Indiegogo sent last week," a spokesman for Indiegogo said in a statement. "Our Trust & Safety team is now continuing the process of sending this campaign to collections in an effort to return funds to backers."
- Sky does own some of the intellectual property rights involved, since it owns Amstrad, which acquired Sinclair's marketing and merchandising rights in 1986. However, a spokeswoman for the firm denied it had held up deliveries.
A statement from David Levy that was written almost a week ago (on June 1st) is published on the RCL facebook page. The statement blames everyone but RCL for the latest in a long line of failures.
Replies to both posts consist of anger and a demand for photos. Suzanne Martin refuses to reply to any requests for photos.
Gareth Corfield posts an article on The Register called Hear that? Of course it's Indiegogo's deadline for a Vega+ whooshing by. Highlights from the article:
- Crowdfunding website Indiegogo has said it will continue its process for calling in debt collectors as another product delivery deadline sailed past for flailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd.
- This time the deadline was imposed by Indiegogo, which told RCL to deliver a production-ready Vega+ console to its US HQ by yesterday. The crowdfunding website handed RCL that deadline at the start of June, as we reported.
- In addition to proving that the Vega+ exists, RCL was told by Indiegogo last week to give them contact details for a representative of Sky, which holds the commercial rights for the use of the Sinclair brand name. According to the crowdfunding platform, these demands were not met.
- RCL chairman David Levy told The Register: "We suggested that we demonstrate to their London-based representative in order to expedite one of the points they have requested us to address. Their response, without further contact or clarification, was to issue the statement quoted from [above], which is a distortion of our response."
- Reading between the lines, it appears Indiegogo has done little about the passing of another deadline – ironically, given RCL's own behaviour over the past two years, while making a statement intended to give the impression that action is now being taken. Five days ago a company spokesman assured The Register that it had already "begun the process of sending the campaign owners to collections".
- A spokesman at Indiegogo told us today: "Our Trust & Safety team is now continuing the process of sending this campaign to collections in an effort to return funds to backers. During this time, the campaign owners are still able to pursue fulfillment of the project and they are not prevented from shipping any units that are ready to be sent out to backers."
- El Reg has also seen a rambling 1,700-word statement on the RCL Facebook page which blames everyone except Levy and his co-director Suzanne Martin for failing to deliver the allegedly production-ready console over the past two years.
- The Register has seen a copy of RCL's bank account statements that were filed as evidence in the successful refund court case mentioned above. Its published accounts, as held by Companies House, state the firm had capital and reserves of £433,008 on 30 March 2017, with total assets stated as being worth £760,945. The company bank account for that date had a stated balance of £1,210.31. As a legally defined micro-entity, RCL files abbreviated accounts with very little detail.
Shortly after publishing, an amendment is made:
- An Indiegogo spokesman has contacted The Register since publication to contest Dr Levy's assertion that RCL had offered in good time to show off a console to an Indiegogo rep in the UK.
- "The offer from the campaign owners [RCL] to demo a unit in London came after they already missed the deadline Indiegogo set," the crowdfunding platform's PR man told us. He added: "Indiegogo does not have a London office or a full-time employee in the city."
Nick Cooper posts the following in the public discussion facebook group to inform visitors that David Levy appears to have breached the data protection act to gain information in an attempt to blackmail Nick's ageing father:
Just prior to midnight UK time, 172 backers have requested refunds totalling £20620 on the ZX Vega+ Shareholders Petition website.top
Thursday 7th June, 2018
Gareth Corfield tweets that Indiegogo do not have a London office for RCL to demo the unit to:
RCL post a condescending reply back to Gareth:
RCL also tweet claiming that they have never paid for a wedding or legal fees out of the ring-fenced backer funds.
We have refunded you as far as I am aware. Many months ago. We have never paid for a wedding using funds and legal fees were paid out of the sales of the original Vega https://t.co/rDnR2wS6t8— Sinclair ZX Vega (@sinclairzxvega) June 7, 2018
The ZX Vega+ Refund Requests page reaches another milestone of 200 backers. The banner shows 200 backers have requested refunds totalling £24,115.top
Friday 8th June, 2018
Wow, just wow!! Great reaction to a polite enquiry, @IGGJoel. You are doing nothing to change the perception that @indiegogoUK has facilitated a £500,000+ #scam. @indiegogo backers deserve transparency #zxvega #scampaign #crowdfunding #scandal @indiegogo @BBCWatchdog #youandyours pic.twitter.com/W8etWLnVbv— Andy Morgan (@AndyMorganist) June 8, 2018
Wednesday 13th June, 2018
The ZX Vega+ Refund Requests page reaches another milestone of 300 backers requesting refunds. The banner shows 300 backers have requested refunds totalling £34,945.top
Thursday 14th June, 2018
Xavier Miller posts an article on Digital Music News called Indiegogo’s Vega+ Campaign Stole Nearly $700,000 — And They’re Probably Getting Away With It. The article is the first to announce that David Levy stole nearly $700,000 and summarises the entire project.
Jack Turner posts a similar article on Tech Co called How To Avoid Backing a Crowdfunding Failure. The article specifically mentions the Vega+ saying it is "not coming soon".top
Friday 15th June, 2018
RCL miss their 13th deadline with complete radio silence, failing to send out the first batch of thousands of Vega+ consoles as promised.
Gareth Corfield tweets to indicate that Suzanne Martin's emails are bouncing:
Emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org bounce due to her quota being exceeded.
Refunded backer Rob Morton appears in a segment of Ripoff Britain on BBC1 (season 10 episode 5). Rob's section begins at 7:48 in the clip.
Paul Andrews posts that the shareholders meeting scheduled for Monday June 18th has been moved at David Levy's request due to "privacy and security" reasons. The location was to have been a champagne bar, but has been moved to a new secret location.
Gareth Corfield publishes an article called Indiegogo lawyer asks ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Where's the cash? Highlights from the article:
- The platform confirmed to us that its corporate attorney has written to RCL seeking reimbursement from the company so that it can pay back RCL’s customers, or “backers,” as Indiegogo refers to people who use its website to place orders for production-ready items.
- Over the past two years RCL has consistently and repeatedly failed to deliver its product, raising questions about the viability of the crowdfunding business model and how it interacts with long-established consumer protections for the sale of goods.
- Indiegogo could possibly experience some difficulty recovering the money on behalf of RCL’s customers. The Register has seen a copy of RCL’s bank statements, as filed at Luton County Court earlier this year, which showed a closing balance of £7,065.30 on 12 June last year, the latest date within the filed accounts. The funds were last topped up by a £16,000 VAT rebate from HMRC on 25 May 2017. It remains possible that the balance of the £513,000 is held in another account, or on the firm’s Paypal account.
- During the period 12 March 2016 to 12 June 2017 a total of £187,928 was paid by Indiegogo to RCL, according to the accounts seen by El Reg. On its accounting date of 30 March 2017 RCL said, in Companies House P&L filings, that it had capital and reserves of £433,008. Its account balance on that day was £1,210.31, as we previously revealed.
- Customers of RCL have repeatedly asked the firm to at least post a picture of the Vega+, which it has insisted for years is on the point of being delivered. RCL has not done so.
- The Register has asked RCL chairman David Levy to comment on the Indiegogo lawyer’s letter and what the platform says is his non-response to it. We will update this article if we hear back from him.
- A meeting of RCL’s shareholders is due to take place this coming Monday (18 June). One of the motions on the agenda is the dismissal of David Levy, company MD Suzanne Martin and CTO Janko Mrsic-Flogel. The Register understands that the key vote in the meeting will be that of Sinclair Research Ltd (SRL), which is Sir Clive's corporate shareholding presence in RCL.
- Though Sir Clive is not expected to attend the meeting in person, we understand that a voting representative of SRL will do so. If Sinclair votes to dismiss the current board, a new management team may take a different approach to the Vega+.
- In the meantime a group of disgruntled RCL customers has set up a petition calling for RCL to refund them at clivehelpus.website. At the time of writing it has 323 signatories totaling £37,420.
George Cropper releases his 58th video called THE VEGA+ - YET MORE NOTHING. The video features a dalek and an amusing comment that "Levy’s voice sounds like someone trying to play a recorder really badly under water, whilst another person slowly deflates a balloon on a nearby river bank" at 7 minutes 27 seconds:top
Sunday 17th June, 2018
The Vega+ is mentioned in an article on The National called The risks that face crowdfunded campaigns.
The ZX Vega+ Refund Requests page reaches another milestone with 347 backers requesting refunds totalling £40,030.top
Monday 18th June, 2018
The Shareholders meeting takes place, with the main agenda item being whether to fire the current directors David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko-Mrsic Flogel. Paul Andrews posts on facebook that the shareholders meeting has been adjourned:top
Tuesday 19th June, 2018
Gareth Corfield publishes an article in The Register called Ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm kicks crisis meeting into long grass. Highlights from the article:
- A key shareholders' meeting has been adjourned, prolonging the Retro Computers Ltd ZX Spectrum Vega+ saga for another fortnight.
- With Andrews and Smith supporting a motion for the dismissal of the current directors and Levy naturally opposing it, that leaves the one crucial vote of SRL, as discussed previously. From yesterday's two-week adjournment any onlooker might surmise that SRL's vote is the sticking point. None present at the meeting would tell El Reg details of what was discussed or the reason for the adjournment.
- At this stage RCL's current management has stopped providing updates to its Indiegogo page, which was once regularly refreshed with news of imminent delivery deadlines, the repeated breaking of which prompted the crowdfunding platform to start sending them lawyers' letters asking to be reimbursed.
- The company's bank account had gone overdrawn half a dozen times between March 2016 and June 2017 despite Indiegogo happily passing hundreds of thousands of pounds to the firm during that period. Its liabilities are mounting – so far 355 RCL backers who paid for a Vega+ have signed a petition asking for a refund, with the total at just over £40,000 at the time of writing. Indiegogo has specifically told RCL that it must refund its customers on demand. Why is this not being done?
- Former RCL contractor Lee Fogarty has now gone ahead with the legal action he threatened back in March over allegedly unpaid invoices for building and maintaining the company website.
- The Register has seen a copy of his claim form, in which he claimed Martin "insisted that RCL owns all software written by Creative Spectrum (and developed by myself over a period of 10 years), and demanded a full copy of all the source code".
- Fogarty's total claim is for £870.15, a sum that includes £200 for "dealing with hacking and false fraud allegations".
- The County Court Business Centre at Northampton confirmed to The Register this morning that the claim was issued yesterday and no defence has yet been filed.
With Lee Fogarty's claim now over £750, if Lee wins he is entitled to issue a winding up company order.
A google search for "Suzanne Louise Martin" now shows the following message at the bottom of the search results:
In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 4 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at LumenDatabase.org.
One of the 4 removed items was a link to the Ms Suzanne Martin page on the Real Crooks blog.top
Wednesday 20th June, 2018
Backer feedback is extremely negative to the video and 24 additional people sign up to the Vega+ Refund Request List over a period of several hours. Problems found in the video include:
- A tube of UHU glue is present in the top right part of the video. Lee Fogarty has previously posted on social media that the screen falls out of the previous version, hence the glue may have been used to lock the screen in place for the demo.
- The 1000 promised games due to be shipped out with the console have been reduced to only 18 titles.
- The paint is already flaking off the buttons, particularly the top button.
- The buttons appear to require a large amount of force to operate.
- The rainbow sticker appears to have been manually stuck on in the wrong place.
- The Sinclair logo that was prominent in the original Rick Dickinson design but is almost completely invisible.
- 1994 - Ten Years After by Visions Software Factory
- Albatrossity by Jonathan Cauldwell
- Banger Management by Jonathan Cauldwell
- Battery's Not Precluded by Jonathan Cauldwell
- Byte Me by Jonathan Cauldwell
- Coracle by Cronosoft
- Egg Head by Crash/Jonathan Cauldwell
- Egg Head 2 by Crash/Jonathan Cauldwell
- Egg Head 3 by Jonathan Cauldwell
- Egg Head 4 by Jonathan Cauldwell
- Egg Head 5 by Jonathan Cauldwell
- Haunted House by Your Sinclair/Jonathan Cauldwell
- Izzy Wizzy by Cronosoft
- Loco Bingo by Cronosoft
- More Tea Vicar? by Cronosoft
- Nifty Lifty by Visions Software Factory
- Quantum Gardening by Cronosoft
- Slubberdegullion by Cronosoft
Indiegogo tweet messages about Arrow Certification for projects, and various backers tweet replies about the certification being removed from the Vega+ campaign. Indiegogo are caught lying when they reply saying that the Vega+ campaign never had certification. Several backers upload screenshots showing the Arrow certification logo was there, and Indiegogo block the users and delete the tweet. An almost identical tweet is then posted, and once again removed when proof is uploaded by various backers.
Jan Saggiori uploads an extremely poor photo of the Vega+ but posts to say that he is loving the Vega+ already:
A backer asks whether the video contains a prototype when he posts "I can't believe that the guys at RCL think that we are so gullible to show a two year old prototype which looks nothing like the finished version" to which Suzanne replies:
When asked "My and my son are still not on the roll of honour even after numerous emails", Suzanne changes her story and the unit is not the final device because it will have updated firmware at a later stage:
A similar comment about having their name missing and being ignored is made when posting "My name is missing from the roll of honour, I’ve emailed you twice but no reply..." and Suzanne again admits the unit is not the final complete unit:
In response to another backer asking "I notice there are no replies whatsoever to anybody's questions?", Suzanne trots out the "We are a small team" excuse she has used multiple times already during the project for radio silence and refused refunds:top
Thursday 21st June, 2018
George Cropper posts a video called THE VEGA+ - CLIVE, HELP US!top
Saturday 23rd June, 2018
Companies House publishes the termination of appointment of Sinclair Research Limited as a director of Retro Computers Ltd as of the 18th of June 2018. This date happens to be the exact same date as the shareholders meeting.
David Levy posts about the termination on the Retro Computers Ltd facebook page (complete with spelling mistake of Ditrectors in the footer):
Paul Andrews posts a possible reason for RCL to suddenly submit the paperwork and remove Sinclair Research Limited as a corporate director:
Paul Andrews has previously posted (on April 27th 2018) stating that Sinclair Research Limited had not been a director of Retro Computers Ltd for quite some time but RCL had failed to submit the paperwork to Companies House.top
Tuesday 26 June, 2018
The ZX Vega+ Refund Requests page reaches another milestone of £50,000 worth of refund requests. The banner shows 438 backers have requested refunds totalling £50,060!top
Thursday 28 June, 2018
RCL send a complaint to the hosting company of the Clive Help Us website, claiming that the site is illegally hosting bank statements. The site does not host any of the files, and simply links to the bank statements hosted elsewhere. Despite this, the website is taken offline with the site showing 448 backers requesting £51,140 worth of refunds.top
Friday 29 June, 2018
A facebook post from the Clive Help Us website team says that they spent most of the night responding to the takedown request, and the website is restored on the condition that the bank statements are removed from the site. The original accounts page can be accessed via a link on archive.org.
The takedown from RCL backfires as a significant number of people outraged by RCL filling the Indiegogo comments about the incident and sign up for refunds.
George Cropper releases a video called THE VEGA + - REFUNDS SITE ATTACKED!
Backer Paul Lawrence requested all his personal information from RCL on May 24th 2018, requesting that all information be supplied by June 25th 2018. RCL failed to reply, breaking the new general data protection regulations that can cause significant fines. Paul follows up his request by posting on Indiegogo:
A new section is added to the website called Levy Leaks. The first two articles detail how employee Lee Fogarty was abused by RCL behind his back and how RCL selected security consultant and troll hunter Jan Saggiori.top
Saturday 30 June, 2018
Paul Andrews clarifies that the adjournment of shareholders meeting takes place Tuesday the 3rd of July, 2018:
A new article is added called Sky Licence, showing that RCL have not had a licence to release the Vega+ for more than 2 years.
Craig Turner posts on facebook about a South West Amiga Group meeting where both the Spectrum Next and a V1 Vega+ prototype are featured. The posts says:
Underand posts various photos and information meet a photo and review of what appears to be a V1 Vega+ at the South West Amiga Group meet. Review comments include:
- What an absolute pile of shit this thing is. Seriously, even if you paid for it, you don’t want it. Felt it was going to crumble in my hands, or evaporate in a puff of smoke like the vapourware it is.
- Bag of shite it’s was really bad.
- In response to "Was there anything good about it?": Turning it off and putting it down was good.
- Most of us couldn’t get it to turn off. It crashed and/or refused to respond.
- I liked the overall design, but it looks better on paper. If it had a bit of weight and some better materials it would feel nice. But it was sharp, the d-pad was weird and all the buttons felt like crap.
- Yeah the buttons was bad I don’t know how you’d make them that spongey
- Bright and colourful, but not sharp, and it had a weird screen refresh/roll thing going on.
- In response to "That's going to be a collector's item in a couple of years with a high price tag": Doubt it’ll last that long tbh.
At the end of June 2018, the ZX Vega+ Refunds Request page finishes on 462 backers requesting £52,635 worth of refunds.top
Sunday 1st July, 2018
George Cropper releases a video called THE VEGA+ - TRIPLE TROUBLE!
A video of the Vega+ from the South West Amiga Group meet is uploaded to YouTube. In the video:
- The unit appears to be a V1 prototype
- The buttons do not appear to function correctly
- There is a piece of sticky tape holding the bottom corner together
- The bottom row of buttons appear to have been hand painted
RCL release their 104th update (with 12 having been deleted) announcing yet another security breach:
C:\> ping -n 1 retro-computers.co.uk Pinging retro-computers.co.uk [188.8.131.52] with 32 bytes of data: Reply from 184.108.40.206: bytes=32 time=84ms TTL=45 C:\> ping -n 1 clivehelpus.website Pinging clivehelpus.website [220.127.116.11] with 32 bytes of data: Reply from 18.104.22.168: bytes=32 time=104ms TTL=49
The image of the Vega+ appears to have regressed from the single colour buttons of the V2 (allegedly from June 20th) to the multi-coloured buttons of the V1 (allegedly taken on June 29th).
An article showing that SMS Electronics is owed hundreds of thousands of pounds is added to the Levy Leaks section.
Chris Smith posts in the public discussion facebook group regarding the IP of the Vega:top
Monday 2nd July, 2018
Just one day before the shareholders meeting adjourns to decide whether to fire David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel, RCL announce that shipping will begin this week:
An article is added to the Levy Leaks section showing that law firm Michelmores is owed more than £300,000 by RCL.top
Tuesday 3rd July, 2018
An article is added to the Levy Leaks section showing that David Levy/RCL owe more than £17,000 to their previous law firm Teacher Stern, and 18 months on the debt still hasn't been paid.
George Cropper releases his 62nd video called THE VEGA+ - ANOTHER £300,000+ OF DEBTS LEAKED.
A second article is added to Levy Leaks showing that David Levy admitted that the leaked bank statements were real on the (now taken down) site rclaccounts.uk.
Paul Andrews posts that David Levy used a technicality to delay the vote/poll to remove the current directors:top
Wednesday 4th July, 2018
Lee Fogarty tweeted the following statement 2 days ago:
I wonder if David Levy is aware that Suzanne Martin stated several times she fully intends to sue RCL for failing to protect her for the last 2yrs? #zxvega— RealFogartyLee (@RealFogartyLee1) 2 July 2018
A new Levy Leak is added called Suzanne Martin to sue RCL. It contains various correspondence with Lee Fogarty and Suzanne Martin.
A second Levy Leak is added called HD Tooling Service shows that David Levy/RCL appears to have not paid for the production of the buttons and owes the company £11,400.
Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called ZX Spectrum reboot firm boss delays director vote date again. Highlights from the article:
- The ZX Spectrum reboot scandal will drag on for at least another month as Retro Computers Ltd’s embattled directors have again delayed a showdown that could lead to their dismissal.
- The Vega+ was originally advertised as being ready for delivery by Christmas 2016, the money being raised earlier that year to put the final design into production.
- Tuesday 3 July was supposed to be the day when the company’s shareholders voted on whether to remove all its directors, who are chairman David Levy, MD Suzanne Martin and CTO Janko Mrsic-Flogel.
- According to notes of the meeting made available by Andrews on a Facebook group for disgruntled RCL customers (Facebook registration and group membership required), Levy found a provision in the company’s articles that allowed him to delay the vote by another 30 days, something he did not deny when we asked him about it yesterday. The meeting had already been adjourned for a month prior to this.
- Levy did deny to The Register that RCL’s board had fallen out with the Sinclair Research Ltd (SRL) representative at the meeting, insisting that he had been shown a working Vega+ console. Andrews suggested otherwise in his published notes, claiming: “Mostly Levy said they would not answer the SRL questions ‘until after they had shipped’. I think it’s fair to say no questions asked were answered by RCL, and the conversation went round and round and round again between SRL and RCL.”
- RCL has declared it will be shipping some units this week, a claim it has made so many times over the past few years.
- As previously detailed, Andrews and Smith want Levy and his team off the board because of the long delay in delivery of the console. Questions have mounted over the state of RCL’s finances, especially what has happened to the allegedly ring-fenced £513,000 of customers’ money.
- Indiegogo has kept a very low profile in all this until The Register reported a successful legal action brought against RCL where the judge found that Indiegogo’s terms and conditions were meaningless, ruling that an RCL customer had formed an implied contract of sale with the game console firm. Indiegogo has since insisted it is going to hire a debt collection agency to recover customers’ monies from RCL, though it was happily transferring five-figure sums of customers’ cash to RCL as late as the middle of last year.
- Bank statements filed at Luton County Court and seen by El Reg revealed that on the same day as RCL’s accounts claimed it had £433,000 in capital and reserves, in fact it had just £1,200 in the bank. The account was overdrawn at points with cash top-ups being supplied by VAT refunds from HMRC.
- In a statement posted to its Facebook pageyesterday, RCL made various claims that Andrews has committed criminal offences and that he is under investigation by various agencies. No evidence was offered to support these claims. It also claimed that Andrews had "immediately released to the press" his meeting notes, when in fact El Reg saw them on Facebook.
- Questions remain over what RCL's board have done with the £513,000 of crowdfunded cash and when will they refund the 489 customers who have requested a total of £55,505 be returned to them. In addition, Indiegogo's promised debt collectors have yet to materialise.
Suzanne Martin posts her theory for RCL's supposed hack on their facebook page when responding to the question, "How can you keep getting hacked? Have you never heard of two factor authentication? Or perhaps you're not really getting hacked at all, and it's all just a smokescreen?"top
Thursday 5th July, 2018
The Indiegogo Trust and Safety team issue an update refuting a large number of false allegations made by RCL in their update on July 1st. RCL originally wrote:
Friday 6th July, 2018
RCL miss another delivery date as the Vega+ units were supposed to ship today. On Monday the 2nd of July, RCL posted an update stating "Good News - Shipping - THIS WEEK".
A new leaked email is released showing that David Levy and Suzanne Martin fought with Indiegogo to prevent Suzanne Martin being listed as the campaign owner for the Vega+ campaign.
RCL release update 107 on Indiegogo called Happy Friday:
Lee Staniforth asks Dermot O'Leary on twitter whether has has ever heard of Retro Computers Ltd or the ZX Vega+:
No, no idea. Huge Spectrum fan, but never had one of these..— Dermot O'Leary (@radioleary) July 7, 2018
On Thursday 20th October 2016, RCL claimed that Dermot O'Leary was getting a Vega+ with his name on:top
Saturday 7th July, 2018
A new article is added to the Levy Leaks section called Blackmail, showing how Suzanne Martin and David Levy treat backers.
Dermot O'Leary replies to @RCL_FAN_CLUB again re-iterating he never received the personalised Vega+ that RCL claimed he had.
Er. I really didn’t.— Dermot O'Leary (@radioleary) July 7, 2018
Sunday 8th July, 2018
A new article is added to the Levy Leaks section called Dr David Levy trading insolvent and includes a full email chain with David Levy giving excuses to Teacher Stern why he cannot pay their outstanding debt more than a year later.top
Tuesday 10th July, 2018
A new article is added to the Levy Leaks section called No Assets. The article says that Michelmores didn't expect to recoup money from Nick Cooper's bankruptcy, and that they wanted a 60/40 split of Vega and Vega+ profits to pay off their outstanding debt.
Lee Fogarty tweets claiming that Suzanne Martin/RCL intended to sue their previous lawyers Teacher Stern:
I wonder if Teacher Stern are aware that Suzanne/RCL intend to sue them to return payments made? #zxvega— RealFogartyLee (@RealFogartyLee1) July 10, 2018
Thursday 12th July, 2018
The ZX Vega+ Refunds Requests reaches another milestone with 500 backers requesting refunds totalling £56980!
Saturday 14th July, 2018
A new leak is added that shows David Levy and Suzanne Martin planned and executed a disability hate crime against Paul Andrews disabled wife back in 2017. Lee Fogarty was also used in a scripted conversation along with Jan Saggiori. Police officer TDC Levy was also mentioned in the leak.
Due to the disgusting nature of what was done by Dr David Levy and Suzanne Martin, the leak was not going to be mentioned on the news page of this site. However, a public facebook post from Paul Andrews himself stated that although the content made grim reading, the public deserved to know what was going on. For this reason, a news item was added to the site.
To add insult to injury, Jan Saggiori posts on the democracy group, stating that his words were taken out of context and that "ill people" are not other peoples fault - only god knows:top
Sunday 22nd July, 2018
Kieren Hawken posts on the public discussion facebook group to say that his Indiegogo account has been frozen:
Indiegogo follow up later to say that Kieren's account is too risky:
Former RCL contractor Paul Dunn confirms that David Levy had access to his yahoo account email@example.com when he contacted him on July 5th 2018 to inform people about Levy's new gmail account firstname.lastname@example.org:top
Tuesday 24th July, 2018
All Vega and Vega+ hardware on the RCL shop is now showing as sold out. After 3 months, RCL had sold 17 Vega+ units based on their initial shop stock levels of 5000 units. The remaining 4983 have apparently sold out overnight, along with all the original Vega units.top
Thursday 26th July, 2018
Gareth Corfield tweets regarding complaining about Retro Computers Ltd to the Insolvency Service:
If anyone following the #zxvega saga makes a complaint to the Insolvency Service about Retro Computers Ltd, please feel free to contact me in confidence. DMs open or email@example.com https://t.co/QauzXQ5zvu— Gareth Corfield (@GazTheJourno) July 26, 2018
RCL release their 108th update on Indiegogo claiming that they are shipping blankety-blank units to the first 400 backers starting today:
RCL post an almost identical message to facebook. For some reason, a botched copy/paste includes David Levy's new email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The email address part is deleted 40 minutes later, but you can view the original in the Edit History section of the post.
RCL tweet claiming that journalist Gareth Corfield has been lied to:top
Friday 27th July, 2018
RCL tweet that an addition 200 units are going out tonight:
A new article is added called Google Takedowns, showing how RCL are attempting to remove negative stories about themselves from Google searches.top
Saturday 28th July, 2018
Jan Saggiori (employee of RCL that was uncovering the identities of "trolls") tweets claiming to have a Vega+ (archived backup available). The 2 photos Jan posts carefully crop out the bottom and right side of the Vega+, covering up any Sinclair logo, rainbow sticker, or the buttons:
A number of backers receive the following email:
ChinnyVision tweets regarding the world first unboxing video of the Vega+, and is promptly blocked by the Retro Computers Ltd twitter account. (Original link available on pscp.tv)top
Sunday 29th July, 2018
Paul Andrews posts information about the RCL PayPal account and the bank card he never ordered to the public discussion facebook group:
Another member posts suggesting the information needs to go to Sinclair Research Limited for the upcoming shareholder meeting on August 2nd, and Paul follows up with the following:top
Monday 30th July, 2018
Jan Saggiori is caught altering the Wikipedia pages for the Vega+, spreading misinformation and lies about the project in his pigeon English style. Administrators undo several of his edits with comments such as "User is affiliated with company; there is no independent and undisputed verification that this statement is true."
The first few reviews of the Vega+ have been received, and they are unversally negative. The 3 backers that received the devices have already supplied photos and a video of the device in action, something RCL have failed to do for 2 and a half years.
Eurogamer publishes an article called Backers have finally started to receive the beleaguered ZX Spectrum Vega Plus. But early impressions aren't great.top
Tuesday 31st July, 2018
Another 4 reviews are posted by backers that have received the device. Read the detailed report of the first reviews!
The RCL Wikipedia page is deleted due to the edit war started yesterday by Jan Saggiori.
Lee Fogarty posts a link to download Ultimate games on Indiegogo:top
Wednesday 1st August, 2018
The BBC publishes an article called Vega+ to be stripped of Sinclair and ZX Spectrum brands. Highlights of the article:
- A retro games console crowdfunding campaign is to lose the right to feature the brands of the original computers it is based on.
- The revelation coincides with the delivery of some units of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ to backers, albeit without most of the games originally promised to be pre-installed.
- Rights-owner Sky told the BBC there had been repeated missed deadlines. It is pulling use of the "ZX Spectrum" and "Sinclair" trademarks as a result. The decision was taken in May. Sky has told campaign manager Retro Computers Ltd (RCL) that a licence to use the names will therefore expire on 7 August.
- "We would love to see the Vega+ consoles in the hands of fans. However, as RCL have repeatedly failed to deliver and breached the terms of their licence, we have made the decision to end our working relationship," a spokesman for the broadcaster explained. To give as many gaming fans as possible the chance to get their Vega+ console, RCL [had] three additional months from termination to deliver the products."
- RCL declined to comment on the allegations but said deliveries had begun last week. "We have managed to start shipping at last," RCL's chairman David Levy told the BBC. "But this time we did not say exactly when this would happen, so those who have thrown various spanners in the works in the past, in order to hamper our efforts, were not able this time to prevent us from shipping."
- Sky owns the intellectual property involved as a consequence of its purchase of Amstrad, which had earlier acquired Sinclair's marketing and merchandising rights. In addition to the brand names, it also owns the rights to a number of Spectrum games that it now intends to withhold.
- Sky does not, however, have a connection to the emulation software, so RCL could theoretically continue to produce the handheld console under a different name.
- The disclosure comes ahead of a crunch shareholders meeting scheduled for Thursday. Two former directors of RCL - with a combined 50% stake - are seeking to displace the current management. But to succeed they would need the support of Sinclair Research - the original ZX Spectrum inventor Sir Clive Sinclair's company - which owns 25% of RCL.
- Backers were originally told deliveries would be made in September of the same year and 1,000 licensed games would be included. After several missed delivery targets, the company sent out the first units at the end of last week.
- It has said it is in the process of shipping consoles to 400 of the more than 4,000 backers, who had agreed to receive units with only a small number of games. Nineteen titles appear to have been included.
- To date, a handful of people have confirmed receipt of the devices, via social media posts, several of whom have complained about the quality of the console.
- "The buttons are absolutely awful," wrote David Whitchurch-Bennett. "You have to press so hard and they intermittently stop working unless you apply so much pressure."
- Craig Wootton complained his console had arrived with "no protection, no bubble wrap, polystyrene et cetera. The screen cover itself is scratched," he added in a video posted to YouTube. "That's pretty poor, if I'm honest." He also said that a lack of instructions had left him at a loss as to how to add other games.
- RCL director Suzanne Martin has posted on Facebook that the machines had been deliberately "shipped in ethical packaging without any additional plastic" and that information about how to use the consoles would be made available online.
- One recipient has been more positive. Jan Saggiori has posted several messages on social media saying how much he has enjoyed playing the console. He had earlier been blocked from making edits to a Wikipedia page dedicated to the Vega+ over claims he was affiliated with the project and therefore biased.
- But he told the BBC that this was a false allegation and his involvement was limited to running an independent Facebook group dedicated to supporting the project. "I am a backer who upset the trolls [and] have no affiliation to RCL," he said. "I have been personally targeted... and attacked, threatened, blackmailed for supporting the campaign."
- Indiegogo - the crowdfunding site that hosts the project - announced in June that it had appointed a debt collection agency in an attempt to recoup backers' funds. The BBC understands the US company is still pursuing collections despite the fact some deliveries have been made.
George Cropper releases his 63rd video called THE VEGA+ - IT'S BEYOND USELESS!
Mike Davies tweets regarding Lee Fogarty uploading Ultimate Play the Game titles yesterday:
The World of Spectrum is now distributing tape images of Ultimate Play the Game titles. I didn't realise World of Spectrum had permission from Rare to host and distribute these games. #zxvega pic.twitter.com/zvQWGugZG0— isofarro (@isofarro) August 1, 2018
Lee Fogarty responds on Indiegogo:
MCV publish an article called Sinclair ZX Vega+ finally arrives with backers, after 2+ year wait.
PC Gamer releases an article called Vega+ retro game console loses Sinclair and ZX Spectrum brand licenses.top
Thursday 2nd August, 2018
Paul Andrews and Chris Smith announce they did not attend the shareholders meeting due to Sinclair Research Limited abstaining from the vote to remove directors David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel:
#zxvega— Peter Barrack (@Prbarrack) August 2, 2018
Mine has stopped working less than a day after receiving it. Leaving it charging for a few hours killed it.
The Vega+ Refunds Request site reports 523 backers have requested refunds totalling £59400.
3 Vega+ consoles have been placed for sale on EBay, with bids currently up to £170.
The BBC updates their article regarding Sky terminating their licence, confirming that David Levy is a liar:
George Cropper releases his 64th video relating to the Vega+ debacle called THE VEGA+ - SKY NEWS AND BAD REVIEWS !
EuroGamer releases an article called Maker of the troubled Vega Plus told it can no longer use Sinclair and ZX Spectrum trademarks.
Darren also explains the white powdery residue on the close up of the edge:
Saturday 4th August, 2018
Lee Fogarty posts the contents of an email David Levy sent to testers on April 26th 2017:
According to Lee, Janko Mrsic-Flogel's company Private Planet had quit the previous October and had no intention of finishing the Vega+ project:
A second report of a Vega+ failing to charge is posted by Barel Barelon to the Vega+ Shareholders Petition facebook group:
No reply is made by the RCL twitter account when asked:top
Sunday 5th August, 2018
Lee Fogarty posts another 2 messages on Indiegogo claiming that Suzanne Martin has been contacting his friends on facebook.
Lee also posts a reply to Gary's question on Indiegogo about which SD cards can be used and that lots of games on the card will slow the unit down significantly:
Lee Fogarty also claims to have emailed David Levy and posts in the World of Spectrum facebook group:
Lee Fogarty also posts on the World of Spectrum facebook group claiming that he has been marked refunded to silence him on Indiegogo:top
Monday 6th August, 2018
Gareth Corfield publishes an article on TheRegister called ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball. Highlights from the article:
- Sir Clive Sinclair's company has accused flailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd of trading while insolvent. Meanwhile, the firm has delivered some consoles – and been stripped of the brand rights to its flagship product.
- Last week some customers of Retro Computers Ltd reported on social media that they had received samples of the infamous ZX Spectrum Vega+ console, the firm's flagship product.
- Initial reviews were not positive, with many commenting on the lack of packaging and absence of items such as an instruction manual or a charging cable, as well as the need for users to manually map keys by themselves before being able to play games.
- Although the company claimed it was posting out 400 consoles, one irritated customer spun up a probability distribution based on an analysis of serial numbers seen in social media pictures of the device that estimates a figure that is closer to 50.
- The ZX Spectrum Vega+ scandal has become synonymous in the public eye with the pitfalls of crowdfunding. RCL's raising of £513,000 from more than 4,000 members of the public and subsequent failure to deliver the promised product for two years threw into stark relief the fact that crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo are wide open for abuse.
- Though some lucky customers secured county court judgments against RCL to get their money back, the vast majority have been left out of pocket while RCL's management pumped out unkept promises of production and delivery.
- In light of last week's developments, The Register is concerned that the first batch of consoles may be the last of the Vega+ ever to see the light of day.
- The BBC reported that RCL has been stripped of its right to use the ZX Spectrum brand by Sky, which owns the trademark, having bought out Amstrad which in turn acquired the brand from Sir Clive Sinclair himself. Sky also owns the rights to a number of games that were supposed to be bundled with the console, which cannot now lawfully be done.
- "In a statement provided to the BBC, we confirmed our decision – made in February – to terminate the licence as of 8 May 2018," the company told the Beeb. "To allow as many fans as possible to receive the console, we provided an additional 90 days grace period, which runs until 7 August 2018. This decision has also been communicated directly to David Levy of RCL."
- Levy, RCL's chairman, had tried to suggest to the BBC that Sky withdrawing the licence was "completely untrue" – ironically.
- The Register has spoken to irate RCL customers who say they have reported the company to the Insolvency Service. The service has the power to investigate alleged irregularities within registered UK businesses, can apply to have companies wound up and can have individuals disqualified from being company directors.
- The Register has seen proof that the company bank account was all but empty in early 2017, while around 530 customers have requested refunds totalling £60,135 at the time of writing.
- The Insolvency Service's involvement could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, forcibly winding up RCL and holding its management to personal account would satisfy a great number of people. On the other, such moves would also hammer a stake into the corpse of the Vega+.
- Last week also saw a crunch shareholder vote to dismiss RCL's current board, consisting of Levy, managing director Suzanne Martin and CTO Janko Mrsic-Flogel. They would have been replaced by someone appointed by SRL and the other shareholders: former MD Paul Andrews and former CTO Chris Smith, who designed the firmware for the Vega+ before the directors split in April 2016.
- The Register understands that the intention was to examine RCL's management accounts and figure out if production of the Vega+ was possible from whatever resources were left in the firm's control.
- At the twice-delayed shareholders' meeting, SRL abstained from voting on the motion to dismiss the directors. With Andrews, Smith and Levy each owning 25 per cent of RCL, and a 75 per cent threshold being needed to sack the directors, the motion failed.
- Although SRL failed to take any action, a statement from SRL seen by The Register openly questions whether RCL is trading while insolvent.
- It should be noted for the record that SRL have serious concerns regarding the solvency of the company and the ability to continue to trade and fulfil all of its obligations. The directors should consider the position and seek the appropriate advice as there is a real concern that the company is trading whilst insolvent.
- Trading while insolvent is defined as a company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due and its assets being of less value than the total of its liabilities (debts). In plain English, if the cash in RCL's bank account plus whatever can be earned from flogging off company property is less than the total of its debts, the firm is insolvent.
- The Register has asked RCL to comment on this allegation from SRL. We have also asked an SRL director why, if the company truly believes RCL may be trading while insolvent – which is against the law – it abstained from voting against the people who ostensibly got it into that position.
- In summary: a handful of RCL customers have received a device that looks something like the originally advertised Vega+. It appears to have been completely redesigned in a great hurry and pushed out of the door to coincide with the shareholders' meeting, presumably to deter SRL from voting to sack the directors – a strategy that paid off.
- However, for the other 4,250 customers awaiting consoles, they may well be left out of pocket. As RCL can no longer lawfully use the Sinclair branding or more than half of the original 1,000 games that were supposed to be bundled with the Vega+, hope of further deliveries has all but disappeared.
- What happens next is in the hands of SRL and the Insolvency Service.
- Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, which RCL used to raise its initial funding from the public, appears to have changed its systems so money pledged by "backers" (as it calls customers) is recorded as a "pledge" and not an "order".
- This appears to be a direct result of the January 2018 court case against RCL where the use of the word "order" was what convinced the judge to sweep aside Indiegogo's terms and conditions and rule that a contract of sale had been created.
Jason Brooks responds to a question about an EBay auction for a Vega+ that was removed, and admits he removed it as his Vega+ has also died. This is the 3rd known Vega+ to have died within days of them being released.
Tuesday 7th August, 2018
Today is the final day that Retro Computers Ltd are allowed to use the names Sinclair, ZX, and Spectrum.
Carry on Gaming release a YouTube video review called Vega+ or Vegargh+?
The ZX Vega+ Refunds Request page shows 530 backers have requested refunds totalling £60,135.top
Wednesday 8th August, 2018
Retro Computers Ltd violate the Sky licence by showing products available for sale on their website using the Sinclair, ZX and Spectrum names.top
Thursday 9th August, 2018
Reporter Gaz Corfield publishes a review of the Vega+ in an article called ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator: Uncomfortable to hold, crap buttons – oh dear. Highlights from the article:
- With public interest at an all-time high in what the company has actually produced during the ongoing scandal, El Reg acquired one from an RCL customer for review purposes.
- No instructions were supplied with the console. In time-honoured retro gaming fashion, The Register’s crack review team resorted to button-mashing to figure out what did what.
- Supplied with 18 games, our review console (lent to us by an RCL customer who wishes to remain anonymous) was finished in black plastic with a very bright screen, on which we will say more later.
- The plastic screen cover looks cheapish in our opinion, with the Spectrum rainbow branding being a small triangle of coloured paper that looks for all the world like it was run off on a home inkjet printer.
- There are two buttons set almost flush into the case above the D-pad and the coloured buttons. The left-hand one of these is the power button and also brings up the main menu while the device is running, with the D-pad being used to navigate around it. There are also three buttons below the main right-hand set. These appeared to have been painted to give them splodges of colour.
- The right-hand side buttons are moulded in coloured plastic with the lettering painted or printed on. Games are loaded and played through use of the D-pad buttons and the red F button, which doubles as the enter key for most things.
- Every game bundled with the device appears to have been written by one Jonathan Cauldwell. Given that Sky and a host of other rights-holders to ZX Spectrum games have withdrawn permission for RCL to use their games, it could be these are the only games that RCL could legally use.
- The D-pad buttons are atrocious. El Reg suspects they were set too deep into the case so not enough protrudes above it to make gameplay comfortable. We found it necessary to use a prodding device to access the two buttons, which appear to operate on release rather than depression.
- Using the D-pad is uncomfortable, with the low-set buttons being extraordinarily stiff to press; it really takes a toll on the left thumb. Resistance from the buttons is enough to make you stop playing it after quarter of an hour.
- Start-up time from cold was around six or seven seconds – not unreasonable. The screen goes from a Retro Computers splash screen to the home screen, a blank white page displaying “© 1982 Sinclair Research Ltd”. From here you need to press the top left button to bring up the menu.
- We didn’t want to risk leaving our review unit on charge for extended periods of time, bearing in mind some customers’ reports of bricking, so we don’t have an estimate of battery life. Our review unit was able to display the battery voltage but could not measure the life remaining or the charge on it.
- The unit appears to power off at random intervals if you leave it alone for long enough, which may or may not be a power saving function; ours powered on again afterwards with no apparent problems. While charging, the screen maintains maximum brightness. We could not tell if it charged while the unit was powered off.
- The first thing we noticed was that some of the games have not had their keys mapped to the Vega+’s controls. While the main menu has an option to “remap game keys”, this is not the state a finished product should be delivered in. That it was delivered in this state at all suggests that it was rushed out of the door to buy RCL’s management some breathing space in their ongoing corporate woes rather than with any regard for consumer experience.
- The top right button (with a splodge of red paint on it) brings up the Game Info menu. There is a field labelled “hint” where the game designer can insert tips, tricks or explanations of gameplay. On our review console only a couple of games had this filled in.
- Using the red F button, we found more than once that it tends to input through several menu levels with a single button push, so trying to open the game list resulted in instantly re-opening the last selected game several times. That aside, the menu worked OK. With better buttons this could have been a much better experience.
- Some of the games we tried seemed to work well. "Byte Me", while fully functional, was particularly hard to play because of the lack of tactile feedback from depressed buttons. Opening "Egghead 5" produced an edge-of-hearing high pitched buzz which prompted us to close it again immediately. Some other games, such as "Izzy Wizzy Versus The Mutants", were unplayable out of the box unless the keys were remapped.
- The key mapping option in the menu would only bring up a virtual on-screen keyboard, appearing to only allow the mapping of keys to a keyboard that doesn’t exist on the Vega+. You'd need to have an external keyboard that functions through a Micro USB port, something Vulture Central is sadly lacking, even assuming the console can handle external inputs through the charging port.
- The Vega+ is uncomfortable to hold because of its rough edges. As is inevitable with injection moulding, the two clamshell halves of the case are not flush, leaving a sharp-to-the-palms edge that digs in. Some more bezelling work or a dust channel would have helped. One thing is plain; this is not a Rick Dickinson design. Rather, it’s what happens when you look at a picture of a Rick Dickinson case design and trace round it with crayons.
- On the bright(ness) side, the unit is very light – while we did not weigh it, it comes in lighter than most modern smartphones – and is only slightly larger than a smartphone in a case, so the Vega+ will fit into your pocket for on-the-go retro gaming.
- We also discovered that the screen on this unit has an unpleasant high frequency flicker if used at anything other than maximum brightness and contrast. In addition, the console occasionally freezes – a pleasant relief from the flicker.
- The micro SD card slot in the back of the Vega+ is unsprung. This means getting a card out of the unit needs a tool such as a pin. The headphone jack didn’t work on our review unit, either when plugged in during gameplay or when plugging them in with the unit off and then powering it on.
- Much was made, at the outset of the Vega+ project, of it running custom firmware – something RCL, the console’s makers, had to abandon after a dispute over payment with Chris Smith, author of the original firmware intended for the Vega+. Since then rumour and speculation has abounded as to what it is running.
- The Register can confirm that the Vega+ is in fact running the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator (FUSE), version 1.3.0, as released on 3 October 2016. By saving a game to a micro SD card and then opening the .s03 file generated by the Vega+ in a text editor on a PC, we found plain text that confirmed the presence of FUSE.
- FUSE author Philip Kendall also examined the savegame file and he confirmed our findings. RCL itself had said it was using software that "incorporates" FUSE, in a post from late July on its Facebook page.
- FUSE is licensed under the GNU General Public Licence version 2, which tells those distributing software under that licence: "You must make sure that [customers], too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights."
- Neither the GPL nor the FUSE source code were referenced on RCL's website at the time of publication.
- The Reg verdict: Not worth the £105
- The Vega+ is, in our view, not worth the £105 that RCL customers each paid for it. The buttons are borderline unusable, the case is uncomfortable to hold and the screen is either far too bright at a usable setting or flickers.
- Most pertinently, it does not include 1,000 games and it is not the console that RCL’s customers originally paid for in the first £513,000 crowdfunding exercise through Indiegogo.
- Rating out of 10? We'd give it a solid 4. It powers up, which is a positive point. But out of the box some of the games aren't playable, the case is poorly designed and joined, and the entire feel is plasticky and inconsequential. The screen is far too bright and unusable when dimmed. And, despite everything, it's just a GPL'd emulator in lightly customised hardware.
- Why Sir Clive Sinclair’s corporate shareholder in RCL, Sinclair Research Ltd, has not intervened is a source of ongoing confusion. Robert Freestone, an SRL director, failed to respond to The Register’s previous enquiries about SRL’s decision not to dismiss the RCL management last week.
The RCL facebook page has disappeared for the second time in recent weeks.
Lee Fogarty posts a message he apparently received from David Levy on the World of Spectrum facebook group:
Lee Fogarty posts various comments in the same facebook thread:top
Monday 13th August, 2018
YouTube channel Mark Fixes Stuff reviews the Vega+, scoring it 2 out of 10 in a video called Sinclair Vega Plus Handheld - One Week Review - Vega + - RCL - Retro Computers Ltd.
Latest Funky Spectrum RCL Videos
More terrible press for the much maligned console and to make matters worse, Sky have now insisted that the company no longer use the Sinclair name and its related trademarks.
A tiny amount of the promised 400 have been spotted in the wild and there's not a single positive review.
RCL really do seem to be trying to "go for broke" here, with their lawyers now contacting them to chase over a quarter of a million pounds in unpaid fees...
"Our Indiegogo campaign is to raise funds to manufacture the first 2,500 or more units of the Vega+ in the UK, and to prepare us for the second production run."
— RCL (15/02/2016)
- All refunds processed: ✘
- Roll of honour email: ✘
- Address confirmation: ✘
- Battery specification: ✘
- PEGI certification: ✘
- Final specs released: ✘
- Games list released: ✘
- Finished box design: ✘
- Manual released: ✘
- Working website: ✘
- Final devices made: 0 ✘
- Small claims victories: 0 ✘
- Prototypes made: ~100-200 ✔