Update, September 19th: We do not trust Dough. Here are the results of our promise in a new story: “Dough doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Every time I write about Dough — the PC gaming monitor company formerly known as Eve — some people tell me to stop! They say Dough scammed them out of money or shipped their monitors too late to matter or ghosted their attempts to get customer support.
Today, I’m here to tell you about an opportunity and a promise.
Original story continues:
The opportunity: Dough now wants to fix its bad reputation. The company now claims that if you fill out this Customer Issue Resolution Form, you can get your refund or other kinds of help fast. Dough tells The Verge it’s already issued 25,000 refunds without the form, with only 2 percent outstanding, and that it’s now taking care of customers as quickly as a few hours after they ask.
The promise: If you contact Dough and do not get rapid satisfaction for your Eve or Dough Spectrum or V tablet experience, I want to hear about it for a story at The Verge. So does Lewis White, deputy editor of Stealth Optional, who deserves credit for getting Dough to start talking about widespread refunds. Here’s his email. Here’s mine. Tell us what happens.
The context: I expect you have a few burning questions about why Dough is doing this now. So did I! In early 2021, Engadget’s “All about Eve: The upstart PC brand struggling to pay back jilted customers” portrayed a troubled startup that couldn’t afford to refund early customers following some bad business deals, if not worse.
“We’d be glad to get our negative brand perception out of the way.”
But what today’s Dough can’t afford is a bad reputation as it brings its monitors to retail.
“Especially now that we are launching in retail and shipping online from our webshop in 48 hours, we really want to improve our reputation,” Eve and Dough co-founder Konstantinos Karatsevidis tells The Verge.
“[T]his is an effort we’ve been making for a while now that we’re entering retail,” adds head of marketing Javier Leal.
“Now that we’re in a better situation, we’d like to take care of the remaining reputation issues,” the company wrote on Reddit — in a reply to Stealth Optional’s post asking the community to share stories about the company. (You could say he got a rise out of Dough.)
If Dough is telling the truth, it’s in a different place than it was a couple years ago. Dough tells The Verge it’s shipped over 10,000 monitors and can now keep them in stock, putting the company in “a position where we can consistently work towards providing all the pending refunds,” says Leal.
But when I pressed on whether the company had money on hand for those refunds and whether some customers would wait longer than others, Leal admitted “they cannot all be issued immediately” and that it’d be “much harder” to help customers who purchased the company’s Eve V tablets.
“This [offer] only includes Eve and Dough customers who purchased a Spectrum monitor. As we’ve mentioned in the past, Fortress Tech was a separate entity, so we did not receive any of the money used to place the orders that were not fulfilled,” writes Leal.
Leal even claims the company’s hands are legally tied there: “As per the requirements set by our investors, we need to adhere to a certain financial governance framework. This means that, since the Fortress customers did not buy from us, we are required to refund our customers (Eve and Dough) before any goodwill actions towards the affected Fortress customers,” he writes.
If you are a “Fortress” customer, I would fill out the form and email Lewis and myself anyhow. I can’t see a way for Dough to salvage its rep by ignoring its earliest supporters — if it truly wants to fix this, it will help everyone.
For what it’s worth, Dough claims that’s exactly what it’s doing: it says there are only 170 customers left to refund from the Fortress Tech debacle and 2 percent of monitor refunds outstanding and that all of them should be made whole “very soon.”
“[W]e are still responsible for all of Dough’s and Eve’s customers and will make things right to anyone who hasn’t been made whole yet, which should be very soon as you can tell by the numbers we’ve provided,” writes Leal.
Again: if you don’t get your refund “very soon,” tell me and Lewis. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org; he’s at email@example.com.
- How does Dough explain my buggy monitor? Dough claims that after surveying 12,000 customers, “we have only gotten 126 people to respond with firmware issues that affect using their monitor as expected.” That’s a lot of qualifiers.
- What happened to those who bought the QHD 144Hz monitor that Dough never even started developing? “With the initial delays and competitors arriving on the market, all orders for the QHD@144Hz model were canceled, so we have no customers for it at this moment. Any customers with orders should have been refunded.”
If even one person is still waiting for their order, I’d like to know.
- Why are we filling out a form? Doesn’t Dough have my info already? “We have all the data in our system and are issuing refunds based on that, but the form serves as a safety measure to ensure we don’t miss anyone [...] we’ve made many changes to our internal systems throughout the company’s lifetime, and in some cases, some orders aren’t moved over correctly, meaning that we don’t notice their status until the customer reaches out and we manually look up their information.”
- What if I want a different monitor instead of a refund? “In most cases, yes, we offer the option to change their order to one of the models that is currently shipping. [...] If the price of the model they are switching to is lower, we refund the difference. If it is higher (which is rare), we may ask them to pay the difference.”
- This all sounds reasonable; any other reason I might not preorder one of Dough’s promised OLEDs? Even if we take all of Dough’s statements at face value and assume the last outstanding refunds will soon belong to their rightful owners, one thing is for sure — this company has a terrible track record of shipping products on time.
I asked Dough if there were any errors in the chart above from Reddit, and the company couldn’t find any. I also got a kick out of the Reddit post you’ll find below.