When the Eve V made its first in-person appearance at Computex 2017, it seemed like a capable Microsoft Surface rival from a promising hardware startup. And when we reviewed it later that year, we were impressed with what Eve — a small, untested team — managed to deliver. As the industry maxim goes, hardware is hard.
But for a brand that prides itself on its crowdsourced designs, Eve has a questionable track record of delivering the products people have paid for. Three years after the first Eve-branded computers went on sale, some customers still haven’t received their machines, and attempts to reclaim their money have largely gone unanswered. Now, with a bevy of new products in the works — including a follow-up to that original V PC — Eve seemingly hopes its new customers will forget how much it still owes some of its earliest backers.
After soliciting feedback in our story discussing the company’s plans for a second-generation PC in late 2020, Engadget heard from more than a dozen customers who were in one way or another jilted by Eve. Some requested repairs or replacements under warranty, which never materialized. Others requested refunds, and were ignored outright. And more than a few people who paid full price for their Eve Vs never received anything at all. According to those people’s invoices and testimonials, the company still owes at least $25,000 to dissatisfied customers — and that’s just for the people who contacted us.
According to accounts compiled by r/EveV subreddit moderator Kirk Miller, more than 100 people have yet to receive refunds from Eve as of April 2021, but even that seems to be lowballing it. Tuukka Korhonen, managing director of Eve Distribution — a successor to the original Eve-Tech business — told Engadget in an email that “approximately 300” people have requested refunds since 2019. The most conservative estimate, which assumes those people all paid for the most basic, $800 Eve V model, would put the total balance of money owed at a minimum of $240,000. That said, our understanding is that most customers paid well in excess of $800 for their Eve V PCs, so the full balance due is much higher.
“Honestly, this whole refund has just been a nightmare for me,” said Kevin, an Eve customer who asked us not to share his last name over privacy concerns. “I live in Canada, in one of the most expensive cities with a low-paid job, and with the currency exchange my V was over $1,600 and I still haven’t paid off that amount on my Visa. It’s this large bullet of nothing to show for it except stress and anxiety with added monthly interest.”
Kevin’s story is, unfortunately, not unusual. Among the people who reached out to us were other students who bought into the hype, a person who had to borrow laptops from friends after starting a new job because their Eve V had never arrived, and a retired Microsoft employee whose V had become “a lovely Finnish doorstop” after Eve agreed to replace a faulty unit but never did.