SpaceX Starlink customers who paid a $100 deposit 7 months ago are frustrated at being unable to contact customer service to see when their kits will arrive

Elon Musk phone
Elon Musk created Starlink to provide high-speed internet access. Joe Skipper/Reuters
  • Starlink customers have no way of talking to customer service after paying a deposit months ago.
  • Four people told Insider there’s no phone number or email available to contact Starlink.
  • Starlink said they’d get the kits in mid or late 2021, but customers want more specific updates.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Starlink customers are frustrated with Elon Musk’s internet company.

After forking out $US100 ($AU134) for the high-speed satellite broadband service, the customers say there’s no way of contacting Starlink to find out when it will be available in their area and if the kit is on its way.

Insider spoke to four people who paid a $US100 ($AU134) refundable deposit up to seven months ago to secure Starlink’s Better Than Nothing Beta, which has 1,639 working satellites in orbit.

They sent Insider email confirmations of their Starlink purchases, made between February and May.

Starlink said in the confirmation email that they should expect the service to begin operating in their area in mid to late 2021.

At some point, those who secured deposits will receive another email from Starlink, asking them to place an order for the $US499 ($AU669) kit, consisting of a tripod, WiFi router, and terminal, and $US100 ($AU134) for the monthly subscription.

As the end of the third quarter approaches, the customers still don’t know when they’ll be connected to the network.

Keith Bosse ordered Starlink on February 25 but hasn’t received any updates and can’t find a customer service contact.

“If they can send a rocket to space, why can’t they figure out how to provide customer service?” he said. A deployment map would be useful to check when to expect Starlink, he added.

The Starlink app doesn’t have a customer service option for people with deposits, said Corey Gordon, who is based in Alberta, Canada, and paid 129 Canadian dollars ($US103 ($AU138)) for the deposit in May.

“I have left a couple of detailed voicemails on an answering service at SpaceX over a month ago and still have heard nothing,” he told Insider.

Gordon said that working online and streaming videos during the pandemic are “next to impossible” with his current internet.

For those who have already received the kit, contacting Starlink’s customer service doesn’t seem to be an issue.

One Starlink customer in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, who asked to remain anonymous, told Insider that once he got the kit, he was able to email Starlink about a problem. They fixed it within days, he said.

The long waits that Starlink customers are experiencing isn’t surprising, Rich Leshner, vice president for consulting at analytics and engineering firm BryceTech, told Insider.

“We have heard from several, varied players in the space sector that supply chain challenges are hurting them, in terms of delivery schedules, product quality, or just generally in terms of the dependability of their supply network,” Leshner said.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said during a Space Symposium panel that the worldwide chip shortage has delayed new Starlink user terminals, while a lack of liquid oxygen has impacted rocket launches.

SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Brad Stuart, in east Texas, told Insider he secured a $US100 ($AU134) deposit for Starlink in February.

“Starlink is MIA and we don’t have a clue when it will turn up,” Stuart said. “This is treating their paid clients and supporters very badly.”

Daniel Martin, from Santa Cruz, California, also paid for Starlink at the start of February and has no idea when the service will go live in his area. “My objection at this point is a total lack of communication from Starlink,” he said.

These four customers aren’t alone. Reddit users have also complained about poor customer service in the Starlink community group.

In the meantime, Starlink’s website said the service is available to a “limited number of users” in an area where it’s operating, and that “orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.”