If you’ve ever wondered what happens to Kickstarter projects that don’t deliver, wonder no more. In a first-of-its-kind ruling in the country, Washington State has ordered a faulty campaign to refund its backers.
In a statement from Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office, “King County Superior Court Commissioner Henry Judson ordered Edward J. Polchlopek III, otherwise known as Ed Nash, and his company, Altius Management, to pay $54,851 as a result of the 2012 ‘Asylum Playing Cards’ Kickstarter campaign.”
“Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft,” said Ferguson in the statement. “If you accept money from consumers, and don’t follow through on your obligations, my office will hold you accountable.”
The court ordered a total of $668 in restitution for 31 backers, $31,000 in civil penalties for violating the state Consumer Protection Act, and just over $23,000 to cover the fees and costs in the case.
Nashville-based Altius Management launched the Kickstarter campaign for Asylum Playing Cards, a “retro-horror themed” playing card deck featuring custom artwork by a Serbian artist. Granted, the sketches of the deck on Kickstarter are really cool, which probably explains why 810 people funded the campaign to the tune of over $25,000.
Funders were promised a deck of cards with a pledge of $9 to be delivered by December 2012, but alas, those cards never came. The company quit posting updates in July 2013 for its backers as well.
This might be considered a cautionary tale for those starting crowdfunding campaigns: Washington is not messing around.