In spite of so much fanfare and millions in pre-orders, Lily Robotics of the much-hyped flying camera drone has gone out of business. The co-founders of San Francisco-based Lily Robotics, Antoine Balarasque and Henry Bradlow wrote in their blog that the company was unable to find financing for the initial drone release.
Over the past months, the owners have tried to find financing in order to start manufacturing and ship the first units of the camera drone but they were unable to do so. Refunds will be offered to customers who pre-ordered the point-and-shoot quadcopter drone that comes complete with a built-in camera. The company has promised to start shipping the $1,000 drones to their customers last February 16 but it kept postponing the release date.
According to San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascon’s office, customers demanded for refunds but have been ignored. Prosecutors have warned Lily Robotics one day before the announcement that they will be going out of business that legal action will be taken against the company after the month-long investigation.
A civil law enforcement action and temporary restraining order was filed by the prosecutors at San Francisco Supreme Court against the company to demand the payment of $34 million to customers who pre-ordered the camera drones. Furthermore, Lily Robotics was also accused of false advertising intended to mislead customers. The promotional videos that were used by the company were not actually taken by the camera drone but through a more expensive camera drone that has to be operated by two people instead of one.
According to the courts, the laws are the same for established companies and startups. Customers must be protected to ensure confidence in the commerce system. A spokesman from Lily Robotics said that they are issuing refunds in a timely manner. There were no comments regarding the legal claims filed by the office of the district attorney.
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