Asylum Playing Cards. Despite exceeding its initial goal of $15,000 by more than $10,000 in October 2012, rewards have allegedly failed to reach backers' hands. The suit seeks restitution for backers, the state's cost and attorney's fees, and $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act in civil penalties.
"This lawsuit sends a clear message to people seeking the public's money," Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a press release. "Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft. The Attorney General's Office will hold those accountable who don't play by the rules." For what it's worth, Kickstarter itself would seem to agree; its Terms of Service make a project creator legally obligated to fulfill rewards when their project is successful or to offer refunds if they cannot deliver said rewards.
Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter come with a certain amount of risk. The project you backed might be delayed. It might not be particularly good. It might get bought out by a larger company. Sometimes, as is allegedly the case here, you might not even get what you backed at all. While Kickstarter's ToS seem pretty cut-and-dry on the issue, this lawsuit may nonetheless change how the website handles crowdfunding in the future, as well as the public's perception of Kickstarter.
[Image: Altius Management]