Shapeways scammed me. Alternative 3D Printing Vendors?

I created the model below for a very nice scientist who works at a nearby college. He hired me to create this model of a virus which he would then use for demonstration purposes. I created it 100% in Blender and its dimensions in centimers was: 10.556 w x 12.91 d x 12.112 h. I exported it in .WRL format and it has vertex colors rather than UV-wrapped image textures.

The scientist was thrilled with my sample renders and was very excited for the product. He paid me $100.

I placed the order with Shapeways, even though they have repeatedly accepted payment from me and then, weeks later, told me that they couldn’t produce the item. But in this case, the model seemed relatively simple, and it whizzed through their automated inspection. I placed the order on August 6 and this was what the order page read:

So, they took the $127 and said the item would be shipped on August 14. I relayed this to my customer, the scientist. He expressed sincere excitement.

However, on August 16th (two days after the deadline), they still hadn’t shipped the item or contacted me. So, I had to contact them (the customer has to go begging to the business). They eventually responded saying basically, “Just a few more days.”

Finally, on August 18, they contacted me and said they can’t print it. They said they would give me store credit (even though they’d just, once again, proved themselves incapable of delivering products they say they can deliver).

I requested a cash refund roughly one week ago (I don’t know the exact date because I sent the request via their internal messaging system). I didn’t hear back. I sent them a regular e-mail asking for cash, not store credit, this past Monday, August 25. They responded with a stock e-mail saying they’d have it to me in 3-5 days. This was very bizarre because, of course, most companies give automatic refunds, instantly. (For instance, I just returned something to Meijer, a local general goods store, last week and, of course, they deposited the funds instantly. This is how everybody does it, but Shapeways said they’d need 3 to 5 days.)

I sent them another e-mail firmly stating that I would like the refund for the $127 as soon as possible. (The customer wants his product, and I am going to give iMaterialize a shot, as this is at least the third frustrating incident I’ve had with Shapeways.) It is now five days after they said, “3 to 5 days”. I still have not received any refund. This morning, I sent Shapeways an e-mail asking where the money is. (And mind you, even after they make the deposit it will still take a further three days for the bank to process it.)

They haven’t responded in several e-mails.

I’m sure that, sometime next week, after I write another dozen e-mails, I’ll get another phony, condescending, “We’re sorry to hear that you had a bad experience! We’ll issue a refund in just 3 to 5 days!” letter. (Shapeways loves putting patronizing exclamation marks at the end of all their e-mails: Shapeways thinks it’s cool to treat their customers like they’re struggling Kindergarten students.)

I’m done with Shapeways. They said they would ship this on the 14th. They didn’t. I contacted them, so they said it would be a few days late. Then they said they couldn’t ship it, thus embarrassing me in front of my customer. Then, they said a refund would take over a week to give. Then, they still didn’t give me a refund. All the while, their e-mail correspondences have been sparse and, when they arrive, patronizing and unhelpful.

Shapeways has stolen $127 from me which they refuse to refund (this is now past their own retarded five day deadline).

I’m done with them. I’m going to move on to iMaterialize. They cannot possibly be worse than Shapeways, which is a scam company that has robbed me of $127. If anybody has any suggestions for any other 3D printing vendors - especially ones with color machines, particularly ZCorp printers, that would be helpful.

It’s also worth noting that I’ve had previous frustrating incidents with Shapeways (items shipping weeks later than the due date, not printing items months after I paid for them, etc., etc.)

TL;DR: Please let me know of any other good 3D printing vendors, and stay away from Shapeways. They steal your money.

If you believe some one is scamming you, you should report them to the better business bureau. They may be able to resolve your issue.

It is good that you share this knowledge. We have to be humble enough to accept that we do know everything about the internet. After all, if you do not pass on your experiences, we are just orphans.

Did you pay with a credit card? You don’t ask for cash back, almost all business refuse to give physical money back unless you paid with it. You should have asked for your charge to be revoked. If not contact Mastercard or whoever.

If Shapeways can’t do it what makes you think iMaterialize will be able to do it? This looks printable but I can see why they are having major difficulties.

I’m coming off as critical but there are two sides to every story.

Your post made up look up “Jet Ski Scam” - something I picked up from the news a while ago. And then further on, as I went to the youtubes website, it brought up scams that was related to drivers backing up on your car and getting you to pay for the damages by claiming that you backed up onto them. It seems the world does contain a fair few dodgy characters, and no doubt some of them have access to the 'net.
While not directly accusing no one, some one sure have their fenders in a bender, with blender being affected. That’s all.

Sad to hear that. Looking your objects geometry, it is very very fragile and the most fragile material, sandstone. I recommend you plastic called strong & flexible and paint it yourself.
And some part thickness was under 5mm, I dont even touch that object if its sanstone material and some area thickness is 5mm.

If anything, the least Shapeways could do is at least tell you why it couldn’t be printed (the material chosen is too fragile or some areas are too thin ect…, I know Blender has a 3D printing addon that can give you some of this data)

If you sincerely believe they scam people, then yes report them to the Better Business Bureau and let them decide if any charges need to be filed.

As far as I can see they do

Well it’s good to know at least someone knows the other side of the story.

Right. They did this four days after the date the item was supposed to be delivered, and two weeks after they took the money…and then the refused to give a refund, and their refund policy bizarrely takes roughly eight days (and they didn’t give one AT ALL in this case).

Those were the problems, not that they can’t produce things they claim they can. Can you read?

As an alternative to doing that, I created this post and then sent this to Shapeways and, magically, they instantly found it in their hearts to finally respond, and to finally issue the refund. So just pointing out their sliminess - taking payments, not delivering products, and then refusing refunds - was enough. Now I get to give iMaterialize a shot.

Yes, when I say “cash back”, I meant a credit card refund, not paper currency. They only offered store credit.

It’s okay that they couldn’t create the model…but they shouldn’t be taking your money (and refusing to give it back) under the pretense that they can create the model.

It’s worth noting that Shapeways just changed their policy, because apparently a ton of other people were catching onto their schtick. Here’s a form e-mail they just sent out:

Great news! We’ve made updates to the way we process payments and refunds that should make it easier to buy products and test new designs at Shapeways.

                                  Based on feedback that we've  received from our community, the updates will more closely support the  needs of our shoppers and designers - trying new ideas, cycling through  creative product iterations, and learning with us as we go.
                                  <b>So what does this mean for you? The next time you place an order on, here's what will happen:</b>
  • If you use a Credit Card or PayPal, we will now authorize and hold your payment rather than charge it immediately*

  • You will be charged after we finish manually reviewing your items, or after 7 calendar days (whichever is sooner)

  • If at any point we determine that we can’t manufacture an item in your order, you won’t have to pay for it. You either won’t be charged for it, or you’ll receive a refund if we’ve already processed your payment.

                  If you have questions or concerns and don't see them addressed in the FAQs below, please feel free to reach out to us at [EMAIL="[email protected]"][email protected][/EMAIL].
                                    Keep creating!

The Shapeways Team

I don’t know how it works where you are from, but in my country (Finland) if something like that happens and you have paid by credit card you can contact the company that manages credit card transactions and such and they will give you the amount you paid without too much hassle. The people of that company will then use their lawyers to get the money back from the company that took your money in the first place.

Yes, that is true here, too. I forgot about that.

As soon as I e-mailed Shapeways this post, they magically discovered that they could issue a cash refund, instantly, and they did, so I don’t have to do that in this case. But I’ll remember that in the future.

see below…or don’t bother - No answer.

Hey, I understand the technical processes of 3D printing. That wasn’t the point at all. The point was them taking the money, not producing it, not telling me about this, and then not issuing a cash refund.

same, still same

Sorry you got so angry. The first post speaks for itself, and I don’t want to further your rage with more responses.

edited to save space while reading :slight_smile: enjoy

Addressed previously. Please read above.