Consumer protection lawsuit against Kickstarted project

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Kickstarter in the Ass

Kickstarter is a brilliant premise. Creative people can pitch an idea and get money from a variety of sponsors, thus funding a project that otherwise wouldn’t come to fruition. There are fantastic examples of its success. Unfortunately, there are also huge failures. Now, one company is being taken to court.

The State of Washington has filed a lawsuit against the company behind Asylum Playing Cards project. The project was funded on 1 November 2012 and raised $10k more than their original $15k goal.

Project backers were promised the playing cards and other rewards with an estimated delivery date of December 2012. To date, the project has not been completed and none of the backers have received any of the promised items or any refunds. Additionally, the company has not communicated with its backers since July 2013.

Kickstarting projects has risks – backers sign on knowing that they might not get exactly what they were expecting, or there may be delays, or the quality might not be up to their standards. However, non-delivery goes against the terms of use. While Kickstarter isn’t liable for these issues, the companies that crowd source the funding are. As a result, Washington State is well within their rights to file this lawsuit, and it could set an important precedent for future crowd funding initiatives.

This has been a concern of mine for a while. There are tons of really cool Kickstarter ideas out there, plenty which I have considered backing. However, I’m always worried that the end product won’t actually be the thing that I wanted and was willing to pay for. Will this make companies more hesitant to Kickstart project? Who knows. However, it might be a good thing if they are actually held to proposed delivery dates. It would be great if Kickstarter helped companies with project management – I don’t think developers always know how they will deliver on the project proposed, leading to delays and budgetary issues. Either way, the concept may be excellent, but it’s time for it to mature and get tweaked to ensure better end results.

Last Updated: May 5, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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