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HTC Vive, Oculus Rift run into trouble getting orders out on time (update)

Billing problems cancel Vive preorders; component shortage delays Rift

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Pre-order customers for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are complaining of widespread problems either in receiving their units on time or having their orders canceled.

This morning, Rift pre-order customers received emails apologizing for "an unexpected component shortage," that has held up their orders, with no estimated shipping date given. By April 12 they can expect to see their "updated order status," the email said.

Oculus Rift's CEO, Brendan Iribe, also took to to Twitter to acknowledge orders "are going out slower than we orig[inally] estimated," and that Oculus was covering shipping costs for any order placed through today, including pre-orders and international orders.

A request for comment sent to an Oculus Rift representative this morning was not immediately returned.

Palmer Luckey, the Oculus VR co-founder, commented on the Oculus subreddit yesterday to acknowledge customers' demands for comment but was unable to provide a concrete reply on when orders would be fulfilled.

"I won't give in-depth updates on any situation without knowing it is sold, true and finalized," Luckey wrote. "Until I can do so, the best I can do is remind people that I will get them information as quickly as I can."

For the HTC Vive, which launches on Tuesday, several users say initial attempts to bill their credit cards on April 1 were declined. The reason for the decline, whether a mistake on the part of Digital River (handling the payment processing for HTC Vive) or the user (an expired or no longer valid credit card number) or something else is not entirely clear.

In the aftermath, however either rebills were not attempted (contrary to assurances of the Vive's customer care), or notices that customer action was necessary to complete the payment processing were not received on time.

This has led to cancellations of HTC Vive orders, followed by long and anxious phone calls to customer support trying to complete their order. In this thread on Vive's subreddit, one user describes an hours-long process, requiring a call back from a swamped customer service operation, to restore his order and place in line for a unit shipping next week. Others have not been so successful.

Update: A representative of HTC Vive responded with this statement:

While fulfilling this week's orders for HTC Vive, a limited number of individuals were affected by auto cancellations due to processing issues with financial institutions. We're actively working to resolve this, and have already reinstated orders for some customers. We want to assure our customers that we'll work with them to process their payment so they can receive their Vive when they were expecting it. If you pre-ordered a Vive, we encourage you to contact your financial institution to notify them of upcoming charges.

HTC Vive, which costs $799, is set for an April 5 launch date. Oculus Rift, at $599, began shipping on Monday. Both are virtual reality systems for PC. The PlayStation VR, which operates on the PlayStation 4, will launch in October and costs $399. These prices are for the base configurations of each unit; the Rift and PS VR have additional components that are or will be available separately.

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