For me, when I stated “the pledge includes hardware I meanwhile don’t even care for”, I was referring to the nodes, not to the gateway. Also, I never pledged with a use case or direct benefit for myself in mind, but I just wanted TTN to come alive.
Even more: just some shiny hardware without a coordinated community network is close to worthless, and I never figured what needed to be done for that when I pledged over two years ago. So, I appreciate that my €340 pledge for four pieces of hardware is not just profit for The Things Industries (if any), and I assume it not only contributed to developing and manufacturing the hardware but also to the software, hosting and awareness of LoRaWAN in general. I’ve long forgotten the day that I paid my pledge, and making TTN pay or compensate the VAT and customs duties now would probably not benefit the community.
So, giving it some more thought: I’m not happy we’re likely to be charged considerable extra fees, but I’m willing to make that extra investment if there are no other options.