When Altius Management managed to land full funding for its Asylum Playing Cards kickstarter campaign, raising $25,146 of its $15,000 goal to create some scary playing cards at $9/deck back in 2012, it had no idea how difficult the journey to fulfillment would be.
In fact, by spring of 2013 (after promising delivery to backers in December, 2012) the company was starting to realize how deep it was in the hole. But a look at the timeline of the project reveals just what was going wrong: The project closed on Oct 31, 2012 and the first update was on Dec 5, then approximately monthly updates through the first four months of 2013.
The last update was on July 13, 2013, when the company basically said that they couldn’t deliver the cards, probably ever.
Backers in the state of Washington organized, sued, and, as of this week, won.
In fact, the court has ordered Altius Management and its owner Ed Nash (actually Edward Polchlopek) to pay over $54,000 in restitution, penalties and legal costs. Against the $25k it earned from the Kickstarter campaign.
In an ironic twist, Ed realized this was coming and reports are surfacing that backers are starting to receive their deck of playing cards. A few years late.
The moral of this cautionary tale: Know what you’re doing before you head to a crowdfunding site, because there really is an obligation to deliver what you promise or refund the monies. And that’s good for Kickstarter and other, similar sites.