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Butterfly Labs Customers Appeal to FTC for $1 Million in Missing Orders

(@joonian) | Published on May 14, 2014 at 20:41 BST

A new report reveals that ButterflyLabs customers have submitted 283 complaints against the company – worth more than $1m in combined refunds and late orders – to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since 2012.

According to documents revealed by Ars Technica, the complaints against the Kansas-based ASIC miner manufacturer are for orders totalling $1,016,243 across a period of about 17 months (see the report data here).

The first complaint was filed in September 2012, with the most recent complaint having been submitted on 15th April of this year.

Notably, one entry made a claim for $30m with no date attached. This entry has been omitted from our tally of orders claimed from ButterflyLabs.

Complaints over delays

The FTC complaints range from outstanding orders to refunds that have not been received.

One customer in Hawaii, who paid $30,247 to ButterflyLabs last March, but is still awaiting their shipment, wrote:

“Please! Somebody help us, I’m not the only one trying to get a refund from these crooks. I beg you, please someone look into this!”

According to Ars Technica, ButterflyLabs lost a civil case last November, with the plaintiff receiving an award of $13,000. The company is also facing a class-action lawsuit filed last month to recover an alleged $25m in customer pre-payments.

Noah Wood, one of the lawyers representing the customers, wrote in a post announcing the suit:

“Stopping the bad actors and staying vigilant against consumer fraud is absolutely necessary for the successful development of the bitcoin ecosystem.”

Federal penalties possible

The FTC complaints are only the first step in a process that may see Butterfly Labs investigated by law enforcement agencies.

The firm could also face civll penalties imposed by the FTC, which is charged with enforcing a variety of antitrust and consumer protection laws, including fraud.

However, there is no guarantee these customer complaints will result in any form of restitution, according to a FTC spokesperson, who told Ars Techina:

“Complaints are used by FTC and partner law enforcement agencies to detect patterns of fraud and abuse, which may lead to investigations and eliminate unfair business practices.”

Featured image: jbtaylor/Flickr

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