Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts The Almighty Buck Games

Washington Files First Consumer Protection Lawsuit Over Kickstarter Fraud 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the reckoning-comes-due dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In 2012, a card game called Asylum was successfully funded on Kickstarter. Two months later, its expected delivery date came and passed without a product. In July 2013, the company behind the game stopped communicating with backers. Now, the Washington state Attorney General has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the makers. This is the first time a project from a crowdfunding site has been the target of such a lawsuit. The AG said, 'Consumers need to be aware that crowdfunding is not without risk. This lawsuit sends a clear message to people seeking the public's money: Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft. The Attorney General's Office will hold those accountable who don't play by the rules.' Here's the legal document (PDF)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Washington Files First Consumer Protection Lawsuit Over Kickstarter Fraud

Comments Filter:
  • So.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcadeNut (85398) on Friday May 02, 2014 @04:37PM (#46903311) Homepage

    The system is working the way it should?

    Good.

    • by Noishkel (3464121)
      Well the fact you don't have scammers bilking people right left should be an indicator that it is working fine as is. Although on the outside this also looks like a legit case for a lawsuit too.
  • So is this a case of too much government involvement in "open source" things or is this a case of the government is a bit late and should have prevented this situation from happening in the first place?

    • by dnavid (2842431) on Friday May 02, 2014 @04:49PM (#46903397)

      So is this a case of too much government involvement in "open source" things or is this a case of the government is a bit late and should have prevented this situation from happening in the first place?

      In my opinion neither. The government has no specific interest in deciding how people choose to invest their money, provided those investments are not explicitly fraudulent. But they do have an obligation to police illegal fraud. Kickstarter projects can fail: that is the risk investors take as investors. But if the people running the project do not make a good-faith effort to produce what they have asserted they can produce for their investors, that's a crime. I would say going dark on your investors for almost a year strongly suggests no good faith effort is being made to complete the project.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The amount of content on the project page is a bit much for a basic scam.

        My gut is that the project failed catastrophically somehow and rather than own up to it, this Nash guy just decided to let it sit there and maybe go away on its own.

        Personally I think this lawsuit is a good thing. A reminder to backers that these projects don't always turn out, and a reminder to posters that they are getting real money from real people and even though it's an "investment" they do still have obligations.

        • by sjames (1099)

          The sad part is that it looks like there is enough there that he could have actually completed the deck, even if the quality wasn't really up to the hype it should have been good enough to stay out of legal trouble.

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            He has $25000 you could pay a graphic designer 3 months wages, and get a company to print a first shipment with that.

            Plus apparently the person running the kickstart campaign IS the designer. The fact he can't deliver something so simple with that much cash just reeks of fraud. That combined with the fact that kickstarter is supposed to kick-start a project. It doesn't need to be profitable before the campaign has finished.

            Either the person running the campaign doesn't get it, or actually gets it very well

    • Neither?

      This has nothing to with open source, not even when put into quotes.

      Kickstarter has made it abundantly clear that you are not investing, and while it likes to still suggest that you're just throwing money at people and any perks offered are just that, perks, their own guidelines make very clear that if the project is successful, the creators have a contractual obligation to deliver. Of course, Kickstarter itself doesn't get involved - they just offer the platform and take their percentage of the cu

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The argument of whether there's too much or too little government in anything does occur in other cultures outside America. But I find that in America, it too often becomes the main focus whenever there's a political discussion, distracting from what needs to be done. Also see 'socialism,' 'liberal agenda,' 'democracy,' 'freedom fries' and other such nonsense.

      How about we focus on actual policies and not ideology?

    • by Meeni (1815694)

      What about a case of the government coming at the right time, after the fact so as not to stifle innovation, but before the problem has grown like a monstrous chancre ?

  • Glad to hear it. Too many Kickstarter projects have screwed over their backers. Sure, you can play the "investment" card, but there are still several projects where the creators shipped a few units and then just disappeared. It's one thing to fail to create, but yet another just to keep the goods for yourself.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If there's anyone who needs a lawsuit for defrauding customers, it's John Campbell and the downright hostile conclusion of his Sad Pictures for Children Kickstarter promises. The man's an outright con artist with narcissistic personality disorder.

    Judge for yourselves selves: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/73258510/sad-pictures-for-children/posts/759318

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That whole thing was just sad.

      I don't know what the truth is, maybe it is all a con. Personally I got the impression that it started legit, he screwed up the financials on an epic level, then went into his weak anti-money diatribe (or whatever the hell that is) to avoid admitting it (probably even to himself). He wouldn't be the first person to suddenly develop a "capitalism is a lie and you are all idiots for following it" mindset after failing epically at it.

      It's definitely clear that he suffers from some

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        I don't know what the truth is, maybe it is all a con. Personally I got the impression that it started legit, he screwed up the financials on an epic level.

        I don't know...the fact that he got 2 people to basically pay $300 each so he could go to the doctor and dentist seems more like a con than anything else to me. That, and the tier of $500 for a stick-figure portrait.

      • by Boronx (228853)

        This is the thing that gets me about Kickstarter. Some guy who once design a great game goes on Kickstarter to fund a sequel. He ends up with $2 million dollars. Who the hell knows if he can manage the money? Nobody knows. He could have the best of intentions, but simply spend the money foolishly and end up broke with a half-finished product.

        • On the up-side a half-finished product still meets the minimum requirements if he puts it on a server for download.

          Judging the economy of a large scale (or even small scale) operation is hard. Tons of projects go over budget. In the case of kickstarter if you go over budget you're kind of screwed since you can't later raise the price. It's extremely easy to underestimate expenses when you haven't done it before.

          Then again the honorable thing to do is to go back to your supporters and go "look I fucked

          • by Anrego (830717) *

            The thing about crowd funding as an alternative to traditional funding is that banks and investors are very good at recognizing that a product is going to fail. The crowd funding community is very early in developing that same sense, but I think it will come.

            The interesting thing is that one of the big appeals to crowd funding is it allows ideas to become a reality that would never have passed through the risk-averse traditional funding routes.

            Eventually I hope a middle ground will form, comprised of a more

            • by Dutch Gun (899105)

              The thing about crowd funding as an alternative to traditional funding is that banks and investors are very good at recognizing that a product is going to fail. The crowd funding community is very early in developing that same sense, but I think it will come.

              The interesting thing is that one of the big appeals to crowd funding is it allows ideas to become a reality that would never have passed through the risk-averse traditional funding routes.

              Eventually I hope a middle ground will form, comprised of a more savvy average backer, a little more diligence on the part of kickstarter (maybe via some kind of rating/analysis done on projects over a certain size?), but still with some of the same spirit of throwing money at stuff because it sounds cool and you really want it to happen vice because you've got some pretty charts and a pile of math showing it'll be profitable.

              Yeah, banks don't offer small business loans until you've been in business for several years and have an income (gross, I think) of several hundred thousand dollars, which shouldn't be too surprising, but that's a pretty high bar for most small projects.

              Make no mistake, crowdfunded projects are absolutely high-risk ventures, or they'd be getting funding from more traditional sources. Financing a project from start to finish with only crowd funding is especially risky, especially if the developers don't hav

              • Which is somewhat my point. Even experience developers will estimate wrong. Without a financial backstop a developer might think it will cost $100k, but actually costs $170k. Normally a publisher either eats their losses and cancels the project if it's $75k in and needs another $75k or else they up their investment in the project.

                Kickstarter is great because you can get funding. It's fundamentally flawed because you are legally obligated to meet a deadline that even experienced developers miss a signi

  • Man, that looks like a pretty cool game! How can I contribute?

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Send a cheque, along with your bank account into to:

      Sirus lyscrwme
      123 Maple Street
      Anytown USA.

  • Nerds who knowingly paid for game that did not exist upset that game does not exist and go running to big government instead of wising up.

    • by Anguirel (58085)

      I don't think anyone went running. This looks more like the Ass't Attorney General went fishing for a case (something about asking around for anyone that had a KickStarter fail to deliver) and happened to find one that he could prosecute. Probably just testing the waters for cases of this nature, and looking to establish himself with a high-profile case at the same time.

  • And what of Oculus now that they sold out to Facebook? If I actually contributed to it, I would be royally pissed by now!

  • ...big financial criminals roam free! Way to go state attorney!

  • I'm still waiting for the prez to make good on his net-neutrality pledge, not to mention closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay...

The typical page layout program is nothing more than an electronic light table for cutting and pasting documents.

Working...