One of the very real risks of donating to a Kickstarter campaign is the danger that a company could take your money and never deliver on the project. We’ve seen this happen several times, whether it be a shady fly-by-night company or a project that gets in over its head and runs out of funds. In any case, donors have had little recourse to obtain refunds for unfulfilled projects — at least, until now.
The Washington State attorney general filed and won a lawsuit this past summer against Kickstarter campaigner Altius Management. Altius, which promised to create asylum-themed playing cards, raised over $25,000 in 2012 but never delivered the product to backers. Altius Management was ordered to pay over $54,000 in court fines and restitution to the 31 backers from Washington State.
This marks the first time that legal action has been successfully brought to bear against a Kickstarter campaign that didn’t fulfill its promises. Considering how many funded Kickstarter MMOs and games such as The Stomping Land have tanked over the past few years, it makes for an interesting precedent for the future.