The marketplace for the consumer drone is skyrocketing. Now there are more than 770,000 drones registered with the US Federal Aviation Administration. That’s up from 670,000 in January alone.
The number might be even higher if an Indiegogo crowdfunded campaign delivered its Onagofly F115 drone as promised, according to a would-be class-action federal lawsuit. The suit, (PDF) filed Monday in a Los Angeles federal court, also accuses drone-makers Shenzen Sunshine Technology of China and Acumen Robot Intelligence of Brea, California, of delivering “a worthless product” when it does follow through on orders for its hand-sized, camera-equipped drones. The suit says the delivered drones are “nothing more than a spruced-up paperweight” and that the companies have “perpetrated a scam upon the fast-growing drone-buying community.”
The suit also claims that their “customer service department is nonexistent, such that it is completely unresponsive to the hundreds if not thousands of customer complaints” regarding the Onagofly F115 drone, which costs up to $280. The company had raised some $3.5 million in crowdfunding on Indiegogo. Crowdfund Insider claims that the drone was one of “the most funded Indiegogo campaigns of all time” and that the drone has been riddled with complaints of it either being shoddy or not being delivered at all.
This isn’t the first time a drone company has been in the crosshairs. The British drone startup, Torquing Group, which set a record for the most-funded European Kickstarter project, folded in 2015. It shipped about 600 of the more than 15,000 drones ordered as part of a $3.4 million Kickstarter campaign.