The Washington State Office of the Attorney General announced
yesterday that it has filed what it believes to be America's first consumer protection lawsuit involving crowdfunding -- specifically, a Kickstarter campaign for a game.
The suit alleges that Edward J. Polchlepek III (aka Ed Nash) and his company, Altius Management, failed to make good on a successful Kickstarter campaign for Asylum Playing Cards
The project beat its original $15,000 goal to raise $25,146 by the time it ended in October 2012. The Attorney General's office alleges Polchlepek and Altius collected the money and neglected to deliver either the cards or the various backer rewards. Some of those backers live in the state of Washington, which allows the state's legal team to get involved.
"Consumers need to be aware that crowdfunding is not without risk,” stated Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a press release announcing the lawsuit. “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."
If you're curious, you can read the full text of the complaint
The outcome of this case could have significant ramifications for Kickstarter's popularity as a funding platform for game development. When contacted for comment by a Geekwire
reporter, a Kickstarter representative issued the following statement:
"Tens of thousands of incredible projects have been brought to life through Kickstarter. We want every backer to have an amazing experience, and we’re frustrated when they don’t. We hope this process brings resolution and clarity to the backers of this project."