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HTC on Vive shipments: 'We should have been clearer'

HTC Vive has been one of the most anticipated virtual reality headsets, but has endured launch problems.

Company representatives have offered some response to complaints of delayed shipments and error-prone payment processing, but now HTC has responded to WIRED on matters ranging from late shipments to payment problems.

First, some potentially good news for customers still waiting on their orders, as "all pre-orders confirmed for April will be delivered by the end of April, as per our original commitment," an HTC spokesperson told WIRED. "We are not in a position to provide specific shipment and delivery dates," the spokesperson continued. Customers will receive shipping notification directly from "distribution partners".

HTC also says that it will not be offering any facility for customers to collect their Vive themselves "unless a customer is out when the unit is delivered and at the discretion of our individual country distribution partners" – in other words, if you're out for delivery and you then go to the courier's depot, as you might for any missed parcel.

European customers have been particularly frustrated, with some seeing no sign of their Vive units even after pre-ordering on day one. HTC admitted to poor communication on this front, saying "while we previously committed to issuing orders sequentially, we should have been clearer at the beginning that this would be done on a country-by-country basis."

"We are shipping Vives from different regional depots, not from one single global location," the spokesperson added. "This means that customers will be sent units based on when they ordered them in their respective markets, not based on their global timestamp."

HTC also addressed complaints of orders being processed out of order, saying "due to an initial logistics error, some units were processed and shipped in the wrong order. Since then we have been working to rectify the situation."

The problems with order sequencing has notably taken the form of people paying via PayPal having orders dispatched before those who paid via credit card, even if PayPal orders were placed later. While the above "logistics" statement in part explains the disparity, some payment issues also contributed.

HTC said "a small number" of card payments were declined by customers' banks, rather than HTC itself, mostly under automatic fraud prevention measures. Affected customers would have had to reorder their Vive, and would have been "placed back in their original shipment batch, as opposed to placed at their original order time."

"Part of this process involved some customers switching payment method from credit cards to PayPal, which, in a handful of cases, resulted in their order being processed slightly before credit card orders," HTC explained.

Hopefully, matters should improve for customers soon though. HTC said it was "shipping units globally each week", and that "volumes will increase each week", although there "may be differences between markets."

"This does not mean that we are out of stock and this will not impact our commitment to delivering all pre-orders confirmed for April delivery by the end of April."

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