OLPC: Give One Maybe, Don't Get One For Sure

The One Laptop Per Child charitable organization hoped to develop a durable and useful laptop for under $100 and distribute them to children in poor nations. Their $100 laptop turned into a $200 laptop pretty quick, and for many people who participated in their "Give One, Get One" program, they've turned into $200 vaporware.

The Give One, Get One program, launched last November, allowed let U.S. and Canadian residents to donate $400 to pay for two XO laptops. One laptop would go to a deserving child in a developing nation, and the other would go to the donor. The program was originally intended to last two weeks but was later extended for six. The offer ended on Dec. 31.

Complaints over delivery noshows, hour-long hold times on the phone trying to get in touch with the OLPC "Donor Services," and bungled customer service calls are common on OLPC message boards and at the independent OLPCNews.com site where XO customers linger online to commiserate over shipping woes.

Those who paid for their laptop using a PayPal account seem to be disproportionately affected. Many complain they've had to verify their address because--for reasons that are unclear-- their address information was incomplete. To add insult to injury, those same people claim that, despite calling OLPC reps to update their shipping address, they've later discovered the OLPC still has the incomplete address on file, which they are told is the reason that their shipment is delayed.

Perhaps an example of the old expression: No good deed goes unpunished. I hope some needy kids got theirs, at least. How would we know? With the OLPC's recordkeeping, they could have sent them all to Antarctica by mistake.
Tags:  PC, OLPC, Ive, One